Parisian district honours ex-Lord Provost for building links

Eric with, from left, Valerie Lovat Antoine Mention and James Thomson
Eric with, from left, Valerie Lovat Antoine Mention and James Thomson
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IT is the picturesque Parisian district popular with artists and blockbuster filmmakers.

Now Montmartre has added another illustrious name to its roll of honour in the form of veteran city councillor Eric Milligan.

He has worked for decades building links between Edinburgh and the French capital, and a delegation from the area awarded him the French Order of the Republic of Montmartre – an accolade similar to being given the freedom of a city – ahead of tomorrow’s rugby meeting at Murrayfield between the two countries.

The presentation took place during the week at Prestonfield House Hotel, with owner James Thomson also handed the elaborate robes as a gesture of thanks.

Councillor Milligan said: “It’s a great honour to be given this. In all my time I’ve always worked to make sure there are strong links between Edinburgh and the major cities of the world like New York, Rome and Paris.

“We’ve managed to cultivate strong relations between Edinburgh and Montmartre. This is recognising that and now we want to make those links even stronger.”

The organisation recognising the two men stages the Ecosse-Montmartre festival each year, where the area is festooned in saltire flags and bagpipers in the streets.

The district is associated with the nearby Moulin Rouge music hall and is well known as home of the Basilica of the Sacré-Coeur.

Michel Cadin, president of the Ecosse-Montmartre organisation, said: “The festival we have is fantastic, but we think we can make it even better, with food and art from Scotland as well.

“We have been doing this for more than 20 years and got to know Eric because he was the Lord Provost.

“We come over every two years for the rugby match and the friendship between the two places becomes stronger and stronger.

“The commitment from Eric and James is very real, and no-one is paid or takes any money for this work.”

He also praised the Edinburgh duo for their role in supporting a small vineyard in the area.

On the subject of wine, Cllr Milligan said: “It’s important that James is recognised for his commitment to having a world-class hotel in Edinburgh.

“Some of the French wine they have there is the nicest some of the delegation have ever tasted.”