French-Thailand relations have never been easy, going through the highs of peace times and lows of conflicts throughout the centuries. However, historically speaking, it is said that Thailand is one of France’s oldest partner in Southeast Asia. King Louis XIV received two diplomatic delegations from Siam in 1684 and 1686. The arrival of the delegation in Brest, France astonished the inhabitants so much that a main street was renamed rue de Siam in honor of the visit.
The relationship between the nations was bilaterally diverse from the start and continues to be so present times. France invests in Thailand in many ways, notably in culture through the Embassy of France’s Cooperation and Cultural Action Service and an Alliance française in Bangkok. The Embassy hosts event like Galleries Night often. Even the Embassy’s unique architecture exposes locals to something different. Designed by ADPI, “its monolithic, prismatic appearance, offers a very contemporary interpretation of the local architecture by adapting a similar framework to the traditional Thai houses typically with large roofs, steep slopes and generous overhangs”.
That act of naming a street after Siam was never forgotten. In 2013, to commemorate 300 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries, the street Charoenkrung Soi 36 where the Embassy is located was renamed rue de Brest. Today, one can wander historic Bangrak and the Creative District, locate the sign, and know that it leads to strong French presence in Thailand.