PARIS (NEWSnet/AP) — Joe Biden on Saturday said France was a “first friend” for the United States at its founding and remains one of its closest allies, as he was honored with a state visit by President Emmanuel Macron.

The visit began with a ceremony at Arc de Triomphe, including a wreath-laying at France's tomb of the unknown soldier, and a military parade along Champs-Élysées leading to Élysée Palace. There, the two held official meetings and delivered public statements. Later, there is a state dinner for Biden and his wife, Jill.

On Thursday, Biden and Macron attended ceremonies marking the 80th anniversary of D-Day, and met separately the following day with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Paris.

Biden and Macron put the war in Ukraine at the top of Saturday’s agenda, but the centerpiece was the strength of the nations’ lengthy alliance, fortified at Normandy in 1944.

Biden, calling himself a student of France history, said the visit is a “great honor” and he noted U.S. ties to France date to The Revolutionary War.

Macron praised Biden as the leader of a world power and for bringing the "clarity and loyalty of a partner that loves and respects the Europeans.”

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