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Front view of the France pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: With Expo 2020 Dubai just a few months away from opening its doors to the public, a sneak peek into French Pavilion’s visitors’ journey was unveiled on Monday.

Jean-Yves le Drian, French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs; Erik Linquier, Commissioner General for France at the Dubai World Expo and chairman of Cofrex (Compagnie Française des Expositions); and Justine Weulersse, Content and Programming Director and Exhibition Commissioner General, gave a virtual tour of the permanent and transient exhibitions at the France Pavilion.

They said “the ambition of the France Pavilion is to unleash its visitors’ inspiration — to bring out ideas, desires, and emotions as well as to generate involvement and to embody innovations. The visitor experience revolves around light, manifested in both the pavilion’s architecture and in its exhibitions. (This will) also be the opportunity to highlight French innovations, and to showcase our companies internationally.”

Jean-Yves le Drian

Le Drian explained: “We will focus on putting scientific and technical innovation in the service of human progress. Our Pavilion will enable highlighting the richness of our touristic, gastronomic and cultural assets through a diverse event programming which, throughout a span of six months, will offer the public an overview of our country’s heritage and top-level know-how.”

Emmanuelle Wargon, French Minister Delegate for Housing, added: “Expo 2020 is a unique opportunity to exhibit our country as a pioneer in ecological ways of living. We will show, through effective example, that France is playing a leadership role at the global level to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and ecological transition.”

Events at the pavilion

Highlight of the French Pavilion is France Day on October 2, a day after Expo Dubai opens to the public. The French Pavilion will host 12 themed fortnights, based on the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The objective is to raise public awareness of the major causes and challenges of tomorrow and to highlight French initiatives in terms of biodiversity, climate, peace, space, consumption, and environmental protection.

Relaxed visitor experience

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The French Pavilion will host 12 themed fortnights, based on the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Image Credit: Supplied

Organisers said the French Pavilion promenade, designed by architectural firms Atelier du Prado Architects and Celnikier & Grabli Architects, “will be a place for strolling in a relaxed way”. Franco-Iranian artist Sepand Danesh has created a journey going between games and relaxation. There will also be a playground for children that resembles a treasure hunt.

The 1,600-sqm promenade is protected by a canopy and surrounded by endemic tree species. It will also host an exhibition dedicated to innovative textiles developed by lille3000 featuring diverse themes such as mobility, health, seas and oceans, wind, aroma, space, and light. There will also be 13 photography exhibitions placed along the Concourse Road.

French heritage

The French Pavilion will present a wealth of French heritage, captured by The Explorers and in partnership with the regions of France, Atout France and Unesco (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation). Visitors will be greeted by a panorama of images, draw inspiration from natural and cultural treasures.

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'Planet Arts' at the French pavilion. Image Credit: Supplied

Not to be missed is the Encyclopédie, edited by Jean le Rond d’Alembert and Denis Diderot. The Encyclopédie was published in 17 volumes of articles, issued from 1751 to 1765, and 11 volumes of illustrations, issued from 1762 to 1772. An original edition of the Encyclopédie will be loaned by the National Archives of France and exhibited at the pavilion.

Journey into space

In line with the Expo’s theme on Mobility, the pavilion will have dedicated spaces showcasing French innovation. CNES (Centre National D’études Spatiales or the National Centre for Space Studies) will get visitors to embark on a virtual journey into the universe. During this trip, they will closely pass by the International Space Station (ISS) and its astronauts. They will also learn how space missions are conducted and how scientists explore and study our solar system.

Renault Group will exhibit smart and green vehicles while Flying Whales will present its innovative vision of air cargo transport. Looking similar to a zeppelin or air balloon, Flying Whales has been endorsed as one of the most pre-eminent projects in the future of French industry as a cargo transport airship.

Planetary studies

The French Pavilion will also have an exhibition titles Planet Science that will be hosted by the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS or Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique), Interdisciplinary Research Centre (CRI, Centre de Recherche Interdisciplinaire) and Planet Art by the Art Explora Foundation.

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'Planet Education' at the French pavilion. Image Credit: Supplied

Virtual exhibitions

There will be five temporary exhibitions, including a virtual immersion into the history of the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris and an immersion into the French way of life via tableware.

The visitor route of the France Pavilion will be accessible free of charge in French and English from October 1, as a guided or independent virtual tour.

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When is Expo Dubai 2020 starting

Expo 2020 Dubai will run from October 1, 2021, to March 31, 2022. It is the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, and the first to be hosted by an Arab nation.