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Macron piles on the praise during Merkel's farewell visit to France

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By Euronews
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, left, receive flowers and a bottle of wine as gifts as they are greeted by residents in Beaune, Burgundy,
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, left, receive flowers and a bottle of wine as gifts as they are greeted by residents in Beaune, Burgundy,   -   Copyright  Philippe Desmazes, Pool Photo via AP

German Chancellor Angela Merkel paid a farewell visit to neighbouring France, where she was greeted by a singing and cheering public in Beaune.

French President Emmanuel Macron awarded Merkel the country's highest distinction, the insignia of the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour.

PHILIPPE DESMAZES / POOL / AFP
France's President Emmanuel Macron (C) congratulates German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R), flanked by her husband Joachim Sauer (L) during the ceremony of the Grand Cross.PHILIPPE DESMAZES / POOL / AFP

Merkel is leaving office after nearly 16 years as German chancellor and the visit to Beaune was her last trip to France in the role.

The three German political parties forming a coalition have said they aim to have a new chancellor in early December.

"France has learned to know you and then to love you," Macron said, listing Merkel's achievements and work with the French presidents that she has known over the years.

"You have contributed to keeping Europe united despite all the obstacles," Macron added, thanking the German leader for "teaching me so much".

He also showed Merkel's name in a list of delegations to travel to Paris in 1990.

Merkel's last visit was to the city of Beaune in the wine-growing region of Burgundy where they visited the Hospices of Beaune, a 15th-century former hospital.

Philippe Desmazes, Pool Photo via AP
French President Emmanuel Macron, this left, and his wife Brigitte Macron, second left, walk with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, centre, waving to residents, in Beaune.Philippe Desmazes, Pool Photo via AP

French President François Mitterand and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl formerly held a Franco-German summit there in 1993.

The two European leaders dined at the Château du Clos de Vougeot, a monument dating back to the 12th century when it was built by monks from the Cîteaux abbey in the middle of Burgundy's vineyards.

Michael Sohn/AP Photo
Emmanuel Macron, right, and Angela Merkel, left, in Berlin, 15 May 2017, during Macron's first foreign trip after his inauguration the day before.Michael Sohn/AP Photo

Emmanuel Macron's first foreign visit after his inauguration was one day later when he travelled to Germany to speak with Angela Merkel as his predecessor François Hollande did.