San Francisco is hosting a French warship over the holiday weekend. The visit is entirely friendly, of course. From the San Francisco Chronicle:
A small French warship from exotic places dropped by San Francisco on Thursday for a week's visit on its way to military maneuvers off South America.
The ship is the frigate Prairial, a trim gray vessel displacing 2,950 tons, carrying an imposing 100mm gun in a turret forward, two Exocet missiles, a helicopter and 92 sailors.
In some ways, the Prairial is a throwback to another era: The ship's mission is to patrol the vast southern Pacific Ocean around the islands of French Polynesia. It is an area larger than Europe, said Captaine de Fregate Frederic de Rupilly, 39, the ship's commanding officer.
The ship's mission is to maintain a French presence there, to show the flag, and to watch out for smugglers and drug traffickers and to protect the fisheries. "We are a patrol boat,'' said de Rupilly.
We all too often forget that France retains vestiges of its empire, and in fact that a small group of islands off of Canada remains a part of metropolitan France, along with territories in the South Pacific and Carribbean.
If I get a chance, I may pay a visit the Prairial, as she is open for visitors.