French President Macron tweets pictures in Paris with Mohammed bin Salman

The Crown Prince arrives in France on an official visit

"The discussions were friendly, which allowed the two men to establish a personal relationship", Macron's office said.

The dinner, which had not been listed on the president's official agenda, was held shortly after the prince arrived in Paris on the latest stage of his weeks-long charm offensive that has so far taken him to the United States, Britain and Egypt.

"It has been made a decision to keep working on defining Franco-Saudi entrepreneurial projects before envisaging a high-level visit", the Matignon source said.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has visited tech giant Apple as part of a series of visits to U.S. tech companies.

Station F is headed by an Iranian-American, Roxanne Varza, who previously worked at TechCrunch France and Microsoft Ventures.

It was held shortly after the prince arrived in Paris on the latest leg of an worldwide charm offensive taking the Saudi royal to the US, UK, Egypt and now France.

In recent years, France had nurtured new links with the Sunni-ruled Gulf Arab states due to its tough stance on Iran in nuclear negotiations, and the broad similarity of their policies on conflicts across the Middle East.

France is among the targeted countries to attract specific investments in energy industry, food industry, IT, health, transportation and developing infrastructure.

"Prince Mohammed is strengthening ties with traditional allies US, UK and France as he is set to be the next king of Saudi Arabia", Najah al-Otaibi, a senior analyst at pro-Saudi think-tank Arabia Foundation, told AFP.

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Among the deals made in France was a Franco-Saudi deal to develop Al Ula, a Saudi city richly endowed with archeological remnants, which was a central highlight of the visit. "He is marketing Saudi Arabia as a strategic and business partner to the West and a force of stability in the region, as compared to rival Iran which he presents as a destabilising force", he added.

"Today an agreement was signed with the Paris Opera to help Saudi Arabia set up a national orchestra and an opera", French Culture Minister Francoise Nyssen said after talks with her Saudi counterpart, Awwad Alawwad.

Saudi officials project strong relations between Prince Mohammed and Mr Macron, both of whom are undertaking reforms to transform their countries.

Saudi and French aides stressed before the trip that cultural ties, as well as new business opportunities, would be at the heart of two days of talks between government and private-sector figures from both countries. Prince Mohammed, 32, and President Emmanuel Macron, 40, both paint themselves as champions of their nations' plugged-in younger generation.

But the visit follows a period of underlying tensions.

Three out of four French people believe it is "unacceptable" to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia, according to a poll last month by independent research group YouGov.

Mr. Macron waded into a regional crisis last November when Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri tendered his resignation on live television from Riyadh, apparently under pressure from the crown prince.

Demonstrators will greet the prince with protests over the Saudi-led coalition's airstrikes in Yemen to fight Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

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