The French embassy residence has been a fixture of the Washington diplomatic and social scene for generation-upon-generation of ambassador. It’s newest occupant, Pierre Vimont, comes with a mandate to steer Franco-American relations through the new dawn of a burgeoning yet delicate liaison.
Pierre Vimont had scarcely been named Ambassador to Washington when word came in that France’s newly elected President, Nicolas Sarkozy, was heading to the unlikely location of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire for an August holiday. Rekindling relations with the White House in the wake of the Iraq war was high on Sarkozy’s agenda when he met with President Bush at nearby Kennebunkport over hamburgers and blueberry pie. That informal visit and Mr. Vimont’s assignment to Washington are harbingers of a new era in transatlantic cooperation.
“I am arriving at a moment when Franco-American relations are particularly interesting,” says Vimont – the elegant, soft-spoken and seasoned Parisian diplomat, who moved into the lavish residence on Kalorama Road in early September. “President Sarkozy’s recent declarations call for relaxing the relationship; my role is to translate this will into action.”