Kolkata: The Consul General of France in Kolkata, Virginie Corteval, made a day-long visit to Chandannagar, a former French colony, as part of an effort to shape the people-to-people contact between France and Bengal.

As a tourist, she had visited the town, 35 km from here, about 20 years ago.

In a statement issued Sunday, Corteval said she took great pride in announcing that "we are formalising our relationship and institutionalising our partnership, working as collaborators between the government, private sector and civil society." 

During the day-long trip to the place on Saturday, the diplomat also dropped in at some Jagaddhatri Puja pandals and learnt about their themes.

The Jagaddhatri Puja is a major festival of the heritage town that attracts crowds from all over West Bengal.

She thanked Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for her commitment to develop "river tourism along the river


The diplomat referred to the 'Bonjour India' initiative of France and said the restoration and reuse of the Registry office building in Chandernagore has given impetus to a proposal to revitalise and redevelop the entire Strand area of the town.

Chandannagar, formerly spelt as Chandernagore, situated on the banks of the Hooghly, became a French colony in 1673 when France wanted to set up a trading post.

The French lost the town to the British in 1757 and regained control of it in 1816. It remained a French territory in India till 1950.

"We are very grateful to the Government of West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the Minister of Tourism Goutam Deb, Minister of State for information and Culture Indranil Sen..." for their endeavour to widen this initiative to not just restoring buildings but creating livelihood opportunities and economic development for the people of this town, the consul general said in the statement.

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