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The Embassy of the French Republic is located at 11 Pariska Street, across from Kalemegdan Park. It is close to the Belgrade Cathedral, the Patriarchate, and the Austrian Embassy.


After gaining the autonomy of Serbia within the Ottoman Empire, France founded its first consulate in Belgrade in 1839. The first consul was François Duclos. The buildings of the French diplomatic mission changed, because the needs of the embassy exceeded the capacities of those buildings.

For many years, the building on the corner of Dositejeva and Braće Jugovića Streets served as an embassy and residence for French envoys. The George Eastman Museum in Rochester has a collection in its collection that is from 1900-1920. was photographed by Charles Chusseau Flaviens, and was given to our project team for use.

Digital positive from the original gelatin silver negative in the George Eastman Museum’s collection


Although plans to buy the embassy building were made in the early 20th century, the land across from Kalemgdan was not purchased until 1923. The embassy was officially opened on December 21, 1935.

During the Second World War, the building of the French embassy was occupied by the German authorities in 1943, but in 1945 the building was returned to France. For a short period in 1999, when diplomatic relations were severed due to the NATO bombing of Serbia, the building did not serve as the French embassy.


The building of the French embassy was designed by the architect Roger-Henri Expert in the Art Deco style. After numerous delays, the cornerstone was finally laid in 1929, and the building was opened in 1935. Architect Expert skillfully adapted the magnificent art deco palace with sloping, uneven terrain oriented towards Kalemgdan Park. The external façade of the building is parallel to Pariska Street, and the two wings protrude at an angle of 45 degrees to the west and north. Using uneven terrain, Expert directed the building towards the height, so the main part of the building has 5 floors. The side wings are gradually lowered and are adapted for terraces that provide a beautiful view in different directions. In that way, a ruined building was obtained, made of white limestone, dominated by a central semicircular part, decorated with sculptural relief decoration and rhythmically placed window openings. The garden on the south and west sides additionally contributed to the overall elegant appearance of the exterior.
Together with Expert, the Belgrade architect Josif Najman also worked on the construction of the embassy, ​​and the sculptor Carlo Sarrabezolles had special merits for the harmonious appearance of the building. His composition consisting of three female figures stands at the very top of the building and represents the allegories of Freedom with an olive branch, Equality in the middle, and Brotherhood on the right. The statues were cast in bronze, and due to complaints about the nudity of the central figure, a tunic was added to it. The marble relief decoration in the central semicircular part was made by sculptors led by Giuseppe Grassi, a sculptor of Swiss origin, who continued his professional career in Belgrade, where he lived and worked until his death.
The rectangular fields on the two wings of the building, above the window, symbolically depict key historical figures of France: Vercingetorix, Joan of Arc on the left, and Louis XIV on the right, and Marianne as a representation of the Republic. Above the side entrance from Gračanička Street is a bronze shield representing the figure of Mariana.
The façade on the inside towards the garden was decorated with relief compositions by Petar Palavičini, a famous Yugoslav sculptor. Relief compositions, placed symmetrically above the windows in two levels, are allegorical representations of hunting, youth and dance.
The large garden that covers the southeast side and the part towards Sime Markovića Street with a swimming pool and carefully nurtured vegetation also contributes to the beautiful appearance of the building.


The interior of the embassy exudes elegance in the Art Deco style. Numerous windows and a wealth of sculptural ornaments have created an open and bright space complemented by furniture of reduced lines. The monumental entrance hall from Gračanička Street leads to the main and largest room, which is connected to the circular hall, which is dominated by high rectangular and round windows. A large fireplace with a mirror was made on the semicircular wall, around which the wall was richly decorated with relief compositions. The height of the vaulted ceiling of 10 meters is accentuated by a particularly luxurious chandelier made in the Bagues workshop.The large space is divided by high double marble pillars that emphasize the height and monumentality of the space. The part that is open to the garden was decorated by the sculptor Sarrabezolles with relief medallions representing great French rivers. The furniture in this and other rooms of the embassy was ordered in the workshop of the Leleu family, which is famous for making expensive furniture. The entire furniture and relief decoration was made according to the designs of the architect Expert. The central part of the room is occupied by a large concert piano.From the big hall you enter a series of smaller salons, equipped with expensive furniture and tapestries. The tapestries that hung on the walls from the Gobelins manufactory, made according to the templates of the famous Baroque painter Rubens, were withdrawn from the embassy due to their great museum value. They have been replaced by tapestries by modern French artists. From the ceremonial salon, one enters the Small Salon, which was previously intended for women's receptions. The room has a more intimate character with a fireplace and Art Deco furniture from the workshop of Andrea Deves.In the right protruding wing there is a large long dining room that can accommodate 36 people. The marble cladding of the walls is made of simple geometric decoration, during the Second World War it was covered with a new layer of lime, so only the reconstruction at the end of the 20th century restored the dining room to its original appearance.Of special value is the office of the Ambassador of France, a room lined with oak paneling, with expensive furniture and original Expert designs of embassies and furniture. Art Deco furniture was made in the workshop of Gilles Lele.The floor is reserved for private rooms, which are equipped with equally carefully selected furniture and works of art. The small dining room was personally equipped by Ambassador Robert de Dampier with Art Deco furniture and an Empire-style dining table (Biedermeier).



The establishment of diplomatic relations between France and Serbia began soon after the formation of the Principality of Serbia with the arrival of the first French consul in Belgrade in 1839. Since then, until today, Serbia and France, with short interruptions during the Second World War and during 1999, have maintained stable and friendly diplomatic ties. Relations between the two countries were especially close during the First World War, when France, its ally in the war - Serbia, provided significant financial and material assistance. Numerous Serbian soldiers and civilians stayed from 1915 until the end of the war at the French base Bizerte in North Africa (present-day Tunisia).

Improvised school for Serbian students in Bizerte, on the board you can see the inscription Vive le Serbie and Živila Francuska, private archive

In Bizerte, France provided protection and support to Serbian soldiers and civilians. The then governor of Bizerte, Admiral Emile Guepratte, stood out in that. During Admiral Guepratte visit to Belgrade in 1930, the citizens of Belgrade carried him in their arms from the railway station to Slavija, so the street they passed through was named Admiral Guepratte Street in his part, as it is still called today.

Bizerte, Admiral Geprat visits Serbian volunteers, private archive

Support continued at the end of the Great War, when France received 3,000 young Serbs by providing scholarships for their education at French schools and universities.

As a sign of gratitude for the support of Serbia, in 1930 a monument made by the sculptor Ivan Meštrović was erected in Kalemegdan Park. The monument depicts a female figure holding a sword, as an allegory of France, which provides assistance to Serbia in the assault.

Ivan Meštrović, Monument of Gratitude to France, 1930. Kalemgdan, Belgrade 

In the interwar period, the French school of Saint Joseph was founded in Belgrade, founded by the nuns of the Order of the Assumption of Mary in 1926, at 4 Rankeova Street (today the Faculty of Dentistry). Due to the beginning of the Second World War, the institution ceased to operate in 1941. Classes were held in Serbian and French, and all lecturers were French. The French school still operates in Belgrade today.

After the turbulent events during the Second World War, when diplomatic relations were terminated, cooperation continued within Yugoslavia, and after the democratic changes in Serbia, relations between the two countries are strengthening and enabling cooperation at all levels.

Participants of the BELGRADE ADVENTURE project had the opportunity to visit the Embassy of the Republic of France on June 15, 2021. On that occasion, they toured the embassy building with the expert guidance of embassy officials and had the opportunity to paint all the rooms and artistic values ​​in them. The participants of the project were warmly greeted and hosted by the French Ambassador Jean-Louis Falconi.

Written by  Sofija Jovanović, Ognjen Nerandžić, Darija Njego i Jovana Dimitrijević