The France Pavilion

Highlighting France by promoting its innovations, talents and assets

The France Pavilion at the World Expo serves as a stunning showcase of French excellence and savoir-faire.

Highlighting France at Dubai World Expo

The ambition of the Pavilion during the Dubai World Expo is to highlight France’s commitment to building our shared future via political, economic, cultural and social initiatives and actions.

This commitment is clearly expressed through the programme of events taking place at the France Pavilion, which is centred around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) as defined by the United Nations.

These talents are setting out France’s commitment to building a sustainable society. The Dubai 2020 Expo therefore gives France a platform to champion its new vision for responsible development.

The France Pavilion projects France’s image to the world. Thus, the Dubai World Expo is an incredible opportunity and a unique forum for showcasing French values and enhancing France’s status in the economic, cultural and tourism sectors.

The World Expo is the largest global gathering in 2021. This international event is therefore a unique chance for companies to rebound economically, by creating new development opportunities and by entering into new markets more quickly.

" We are keen to project an image of an optimistic, bold and innovative France, where assets, ideas and talents all play a role in innovation and human advances. "

Erik Linquier
Commissioner General for France at Expo 2020 Dubai and Chairman of Cofrex

Following the Expo’s postponement and in light of the ongoing health crisis, France is rising to its responsibility to act as an international leader for change. The France Pavilion echoes this statement of commitment to building a new economic, social and cultural model around 3 core values: 


Our ambassadors Jessica Préalpato and Thomas Pesquet: a dynamic duo to embody the nation of France!

Jessica Préalpato, 2019 World Best Pastry Chef, and Thomas Pesquet, French ESA astronaut, are the two ambassadors of the France Pavilion. This dynamic duo fully embodies French audacity and art de vivre: the very values the Pavilion is designed to showcase.

Find out more

Our ambassadors Jessica Préalpato and Thomas Pesquet: a dynamic duo to embody the nation of France

The two ambassadors for the France Pavilion fully embody the vision that the France Pavilion is bringing to the Dubai World Expo. Their involvement helps boosting France’s image on the international stage.

Jessica Préalpato, named World’s Best Pastry Chef in 2019 by the World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards, and Thomas Pesquet, French ESA astronaut, both stand out for their humanitarian commitments. 

Jessica Préalpato: a Chef committed to better living and environmental protection

Jessica Préalpato was the Pastry Chef at the Alain Ducasse restaurant in the Plaza Athénée from 2015 to mid-2021. Under the stewardship of Alain Ducasse and alongside the chef Romain Meder, she has been redefining the whole concept of pâtisserie at the restaurant. Her approach – known as desseralité – is nature-oriented and based entirely on producers’ seasonal offerings.

This led to her being voted “World’s Best Pastry Chef” at the World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards in 2019. Through her innovative approach to pastry, she promotes short food supply chains and the circular economy, which benefit small producers and showcase the wealth of local produce.

" Being a part of the France Pavilion adventure is an opportunity for me to represent the culinary daring that has become an important part of our cultural heritage. As I’m committed to healthier and more environmentally friendly food, I am proud to promote the French ‘art de vivre’ on the international stage.  "

Jessica Préalpato
Jessica Préalpato, Ambassador for the France Pavilion and Pastry Chef at the Alain Ducasse restaurant in the Plaza Athénée

Thomas Pesquet: an astronaut committed to science and innovation

As part of the Proxima mission, Thomas Pesquet lived and worked on board the International Space Station from November 2016 to June 2017. Spurred on by the belief that our future on Earth depends on a better knowledge of space, he sought to illustrate this vision and raise awareness for all generations by sharing the photographs he took of the Earth. He is currently in his second mission Alpha and will be back to Earth by the end 2021. 

He is also promoting careers in science among the young and very youngest generations, who can be sources of innovation and bring new breakthrough ideas.


"  The France Pavilion and this World Expo project are a great match for the social and environmental challenges our generation is facing, and these issues have always been close to my heart. They are the same values that I would like to convey through my involvement with the France Pavilion.  "

Thomas Pesquet
Ambassador of the France Pavilion and French ESA astronaut


France Pavilion's architecture: "Light, Enlightenment"

The France Pavilion was designed by the Atelier Perez Prado and Celnikier & Grabli architectural firms, which are both engaged in innovation and sustainability. 

Light is the architectural theme for the France Pavilion and this underlying theme is expressed in various forms throughout the visitors’ journey, offering a truly unique and unforgettable experience.

At the heart of the project lies a key idea: starting the visitor experience right at the France Pavilion esplanade so that the entrance queue becomes an experience in its own right, thereby ensuring a fully immersive experience from the moment each visitor sets foot in the France Pavilion. 

The France Pavilion’s architects have also designed the official postal stamp of the France Pavilion that was issued in June 2021 by the French national postal service.   

Find out more

Meet the France Pavilion's architects

Atelier Perez Prado Architectes

The Atelier Perez Prado, whose work covers all architecture-related fields, positions itself as a modern business that does not consider change as a constraint but as an opportunity to innovate.

Examples of projects conducted by the Atelier du Prado: Gare Maritime de Croisières (Marseille), Nouvel Hôpital d’Ajaccio.

Celnikier & Grabli Architectes

Celnikier & Grabli Architectes positions itself as a firm with a strong sense of rigor aiming to give meaning to its projects and to implement them in their environment with harmony.

Examples of projects conducted by Celnikier & Grabli Architectes: Campus AgroParisTech-INRA (Paris-Saclay), Institut de Recherche en Santé, Environnement et Travail (Rennes).  

Learn more on the Atelier Perez Prado's website (French only)Learn more on Celnikier & Grabli Architectes' website (French only)

The France Pavilion’s design is accentuated by light shows designed by BOA Light Studio.

Light guides us and helps us move forward: therefore, as a nod to the Enlightenment, the France Pavilion showcases the Encyclopedia of Diderot and d'Alembert for the first time outside France. This forward-looking masterpiece with a universal scope lays the foundations for modern democracy and for ideas-sharing and knowledge-sharing.

21 metres

In height: the Pavilion is the 8th highest Pavilion at the Expo and will provide a panoramic view of the Expo’s site


Of photovoltaic solar tiles on the France Pavilion’s façade and roof


Of gardens on the France Pavilion's promenade

The luminous signature of the France Pavilion

The esplanade of the France Pavilion is sublimated by the lighting designer BOA Light Studio. Day and night, the facade comes alive and is colored with rippling lights.

This poetic highlighting offers visitors a dreamlike immersion that is conducive to daydreaming. The waiting time in line, turns into a moment of emotion and the extraordinary architecture offers a prelude to the visitors' journey. This immersive experience makes it possible to sublimate the pavilion around its architectural theme:  “Lumière, Lumières”.

The France Pavillon's photovoltaic solar tiles

Remaining loyal to its commitments regarding Sustainable Development Goals, the France Pavilion has decided to take advantage of the UAE’s sun, mobilizing its Excellence sponsor Akuo Energy to install 2,500m² of Sunstyle® solar tiles on the building. These tiles greatly participate in the achievement of the Pavillion’s goal to produce 60% of the energy that it consumes.

Find out more

The France Pavilion's photovoltaic solar tiles

The Sunstyle® technology in a nutshell

Sunstlye International produce, commercialize, and distribute the Sunstyle® solar roof that combines production of green electricity, weather protection, and aesthetics while generating long-term savings for the building.

The Sunstyle® solar roofs address the needs of future cities by allowing buildings to be more sustainable and energetically autonomous while remaining fully integrated in the urban landscape. In addition to ensuring the traditional role of a roof, the Sunstyle® tiles generate clean electricity, thus contributing to the energetic and ecological transition, adapting to the needs of cities and their inhabitants.

A noble Pavilion

The pavilion’s design upholds the four key principles of bioclimatic architecture, all while successfully overcoming the challenge of completing the build in the middle of a desert: local integration, construction materials, energy savings and efficiency, and comfort and health.

Find out more

Four key principles of bioclimatic architecture

The pavilion’s design upholds the four key principles of bioclimatic architecture, all while successfully overcoming the challenge of completing the build in the middle of a desert: local integration, construction materials, energy savings and efficiency, and comfort and health.

#1 Local Integration

The Pavilion was designed in accordance with Dubaian norms and regulations, and is therefore perfectly adapted to the local climate (elevated temperatures, wind, termites), with its design taking into account local climate and meteorological limitations.

To mitigate the extreme heat, the entrance to the Pavilion faces due north in order to reduce exposure to the sun. In addition, the Pavilion creates its own shade in order to enable visitors to enjoy the outdoor space under a canopy, which will be home to a garden populated with local plant species.

#2 Construction Materials

The materials used will help limit the Pavilion’s carbon footprint, and were selected with the goal of enabling disassembly and re-use of the building. The building’s primary and secondary structures are made from steel. This material is easy to set up through factory pre-construction, and also allows for efficient disassembly and reconstruction. 

#3 Energy Savings and Efficiency

The lighting and projection materials used will all be energy-efficient. In addition, the solar panels installed on the facade and roof of the Pavilion will ensure virtual energy self-sufficiency throughout the six months of the World Expo.

#4 Comfort and Health 

The forecourt and waiting area are protected from the sun’s rays by a suspended canopy.

The France Pavilion's construction

The France Pavilion has reached its completion on April 8th, 2021. 

Since the first stone was laid in May 2019 (with Elisabeth Borne in attendance), construction has been carried out in full adherence with health and safety measures in order to guarantee the wellbeing of the site’s workers. On April 8th, 2021, Franck Riester, French Minister for Foreign trade and Economic attractiveness, was in Dubai to celebrate the Pavilion's completion.

On July 1, the CNES Board of Directors authorized CNES President and CEO Philippe Baptiste to negotiate the purchase of the Pavilion for relocation to the Toulouse campus as a venue for foreign delegations and campus-specific activities. 

Find out more

The France Pavilion's construction

© Dany Eid

© Dany Eid

The health and safety of the workers building the France Pavilion is a major priority for the Cofrex.

The Cofrex has taken steps to ensure its contractor adheres with the safety measures applied on the site: 

  • Reducing the numbers of people in worker transports
  • Procedures in place for every workstation in order to maintain social distancing and uphold protective measures
  • Reducing the number of workers present on site 

The design and construction teams behind the France Pavilion:

Atelier du Prado: Architects | Celnikier & Grabli: Architects | Besix: Construction and Development | BOA: Lighting | OTE: Engineering & Design Office | OTELIO: HSE Engineering | ALTIA: Acoustics and audiovisual  

The France Pavilion in pictures

Share on :