Embassy of France in Ottawa
Logo de l
Logo of the French embassy
LocationNew Edinburgh, Ottawa
Address42 Sussex Drive
CoordinatesCoordinates: 45°26′36″N 75°41′40″W / 45.443356°N 75.694481°W / 45.443356; -75.694481
AmbassadorKareen Rispal

The Embassy of France in Ottawa is the diplomatic mission of France to Canada, located at 42 Sussex Drive in the New Edinburgh neighbourhood of Ottawa.


The French diplomatic mission in Canada was founded in 1928 and was originally based in the Victoria Building with the first representative being Jean Knight.[1] Knight began looking for a suitable location to house the mission and settled on the area bordering the Ottawa River near Rockcliffe Park. Unfortunately there were no buildings in the area for sale. In 1930, Knight proposed the purchase of the Blackburn property, located at 62 Sussex Drive. The property was a prized piece of land overlooking the Rideau Falls that was not far from the residence of the Governor General and, at the time, connected to the city centre by a tram. After lengthy negotiations with the owner, the property was purchased from Arthur Blackburn on 31 December 1931. The legation was then based in the Blackburn mansion.[1]

Construction on the new mission building began on the property in 1936 with the first stone being laid by Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King on Bastille Day.[2] In January 1938, while construction was in process, France purchased the next door Lemay property, sensibly enlarging the property.[1] At the same time, France acquired, for one symbolic dollar, a narrow strip of land along the Ottawa River, belonging to the Ontario provincial government.[1] The Ottawa River thus became the limits of the property. Both the Blackburn and Lemay houses were demolished during construction.[1] On 4 January 1939, the mission was opened in the presence of seven hundred people, including the Governor General of Canada Lord Tweedsmuir and Prime Minister Mackenzie King.[2]

The French envoy René Ristelhueber, appointed in early 1940, acknowledged the Vichy regime as did the Canadian government. In 1942, Canada switched and expelled the Vichy diplomats and the facilities were turned over to the Free French Forces and Colonel Philippe Pierrené was recognized as the French envoy. The French upgraded the mission to a full embassy following World War II.


The French Embassy serves as both chancery and ambassadorial residence
The French Embassy serves as both chancery and ambassadorial residence

Inaugurated in 1939, this diplomatic mission was designed by French architect Eugène Beaudouin in the Art Deco style. Housing both the residence of the ambassador and embassy services, the building of grey granite is three stories and is organized around the Great Hall. The main room features furniture and decorations also in an Art Deco style, including Marcel Gromaire tapestries representing the four seasons: the Canadian winter, the Parisian spring, summer in Saint-Malo and fall in Quebec. A massive pink marble staircase provides access to the second story and leads to the gallery overlooking the Great Hall and reception rooms.

The rooms display decorations that highlight the ties of friendship which exists between the France and Canada, like the bas-relief of the gallery that represents the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in honour of Canadian soldiers during the First World War and the office walls ambassadors engraved by Charles-Émile Pinson on the subject of the discovery of Canada by the Vikings. The materials that were used to build the embassy come from both Canada (wooden doors and door frames, and the grey granite from Quebec for exterior walls) and France (Saint-Quentin travertine for walls of the hall, and the pink marble from Burgundy for the staircase).

The dining room is decorated with a 120 square metre mural named La France, by painter Alfred Courmes. The decoration of the bronze doors of the living room was done by Robert Cami. The embassy is also decorated with sculptures by Leygue Louis and Jean Prouvé.

French Ambassador to Canada

From To Ambassador
Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary
1928 1930 Jean Knight
1930 1932 Charles-Arsène Henry
1934 1937 Raymond Brugère
1937 1940 Robert de Dampierre
1940 1942 René Ristelhueber
Delegate of Free French Forces
1942 1943 Colonel Philippe Pierrenne
1943 1945 Gabriel Bonneau
Ambassador of France to Canada
1945 1948 Jean de Hauteclocque
1948 1949 Francisque Gay
1949 1955 Hubert Guérin
1955 1962 Francis Lacoste
1962 1965 Raymond Bousquet
1965 1968 François Leduc
1968 1972 Pierre Siraud
1972 1977 Jacques Viot
1977 1979 Xavier Daufresne de la Chevalerie
1979 1981 Pierre Maillard
1981 1984 Jean Beliard
1984 1987 Jean-Pierre Cabouat
1987 1989 Philippe Husson
1989 1991 François Bujon de l'Estang
1992 1997 Alfred Siefer-Gaillardin
1997 1998 Loïc Hennekinne
1998 2001 Denis Bauchard
2001 2004 Philippe Guelluy
2004 2008 Daniel Jouanneau
2008 2011 François Delattre
2011 2015 Philippe Zeller
2015 2017 Nicolas Chapuis[3]
2017 present Kareen Rispal

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e "Choosing a piece of land". Archived from the original on 2012-01-30. Retrieved 2013-02-06.
  2. ^ a b "A construction very well received by the Canadians". Archived from the original on 2012-01-30. Retrieved 2013-02-06.
  3. ^ "Appointment of new Ambassador of France to Canada".