France has turned the Eiffel Tower red as part of lavish Chinese New Year celebrations before a visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao Monday that highlights the countries' rapidly improving ties.
Red lights lit up the tower Saturday after a New Year's parade featuring jugglers, dancers and acrobats on the Champs Elysees ahead of a three-day visit which is dominated by ceremonial events but which both sides hope will spur trade.
Hu is due to address parliament and meet President Jacques Chirac, Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin and French businessmen.
"The visit marks an important stage in relations between our two countries," a French Foreign Ministry spokesman said.
"While relations are particularly close in the political and cultural spheres, a greater effort needs to be made in the economic and industrial domains," he added.
The visit marks the 40th anniversary of France's establishment of diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China, and coincides with France's "Year of China."
As part of the celebrations, the red lights will illuminate the Eiffel Tower every evening during Hu's visit.
Both countries want to build on the success of a deal on a joint venture between French consumer electronics firm Thomson SA and China's TCL International Holdings, which makes mobile phones and televisions, creating the world's largest TV producer.
Raffarin visited China last April and Hu attended a summit in France last June of the Group of Eight, a body largely created for the big, established free-market economies.
Economic growth in China has recently been much stronger than in the world's traditional economic powerhouses. It offers France a huge potential market, and Beijing says it wants to import more French technology.