HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud, Chairman of Kingdom Holding Company (KHC), received at his office, HE Mr. Bertrand Besancenot, French Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and an accompanying delegation that included Mr. Pierre Vincent, Attaché De Cooperation, French Embassy, Ms. Mona Khazindar, Director General, Institute Du Monde Arabe and Mr. Julien Chenivesse, Diplomatic Counsellor. The meeting was also attended by Ms. Heba Fatani, Senior Executive Manager, Corporate Communications Department and Dr. Nahla Nasser Alanbar, Private Executive Assistant to HRH the Chairman.
The meeting began as the Ambassador thanked Prince Alwaleed for giving him the opportunity to meet him. Moreover the two discussed various general issues, and the current status of the global economy. They also discussed Prince Alwaleed’s investments in France, and the economic bi-lateral relations between their respective countries
In 2012, Prince Alwaleed met HE French President François Hollande, in Paris they discussed economic issues and Prince Alwaleed’s investments in France through KHC. Also in the same year, HE French President François Hollande and Prince Alwaleed, Chairman of Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundation–Global (Registered in Lebanon) inaugurated the new Department of Islamic Art at the Musée du Louvre in Paris in the presence of Mr. Henrie Loyrette, Director of the Louvre Museum and Ms. Aurélie Filippetti, Minister of Culture and Communications. Alwaleed Foundation donated US$20 million in 2005
In 2011, in response to an invitation from the former President Nicolas Sarkozy of France who presided the G8 Summit for 2011, Prince Alwaleed attended the e-G8 forum that was held on the eve of the G8 Summit.
Prince Alwaleed’s presence in France is also via His Highness’s investments through KHC; topping the list of HRH’s investments in France are the George V Hotel, and Euro Disney Paris. Furthermore, the Le Royal Monceau one of the top luxury hotels in Paris, owned by Qatar and was refurbished and opened in 2010 is managed by Raffles. Moreover, KHC is a partner with Qatar in Fairmont Raffles.
The Four Seasons Hotel George V was ranked Best City Hotel Worldwide in the 2012 Gallivanter’s Guide for 10 consecutive years. Prince Alwaleed acquired the George V in 1996 for $178 million. A two-year $125 million comprehensive renovation was started in December 1997. The total cost of acquiring the hotel and renovation amounted to $303 million, reflecting the Prince’s dedication to restore the glory of this landmark.
In 2006, Prince Alwaleed was bestowed the medal of “Legion of Honor,” with the rank of Commander by the former French President, Jacques Chirac during an official ceremony held at the Élysée Palace. The medal is the country’s highest civilian honor, and it was bestowed to the Prince in recognition of his role in strengthening Saudi-French cultural, business and economic relations. In 2007, HRH was awarded the “Golden” medal by the French Minister of Culture and Communication.