An Armenian consulate general opened in Lyon, France, on Monday, bringing together high-ranking officials, public, political and cultural figures, representatives of the local Armenian community and media.
Famous French-Armenian singer and musician Charles Aznavour also attended the event. He was joined by Lyon Mayor Gérard Collomb, Rhône-Alpes Prefect Jean-François Carencoand Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian. Together they cut the ribbon marking the opening of the Armenian consulate.
In his speech, Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian highly stressed the importance of the initiative, noting that both Lyon and the Rhône-Alpes region have a unique significance in the development of Armenian-French relations.
“The first records on the Armenians’ presence in Lyon date back from the Middle Ages. Merchants and later silk-manufacturing Armenians settled and worked in the region,” he said.
Having fled from the Genocide, thousands of Armenians, who found themselves in Marseilles, went up the riverbed of Rhone to find a second homeland in Lyon, Valence, Grenoble, Vienne and elsewhere. They were integrated into the French society to contribute to the development of Rhône-Alpes and its cities and towns. And they still continue their contribution in these cities. With its Armenian churches, monuments, schools, cultural and sports center, Lyon and the Rhône-Alpes region demonstrate the high level of the Armenians’ integration and at the same time the connections with Armenia,” he said.
Minister Nalbandian also thanked the authorities of Lyon and the Rhône-Alpes region, representatives of local Armenian organizations and Armenian community for their ongoing support and continuous efforts towards strengthening the bilateral relations.
The Armenian FM also expressed hope that the Armenian consulate general led by Nikolay Sarkisov would further deepen the relations between the two countries.