Waiting to greet the pontiff at Paris' Orly airport was President Nicolas Sarkozy and his beautiful wife, Carla Bruni, typically elegant in a fitted grey skirt suit.
After the Pope had greeted followers, the party made their way to the Elysee Palace for talks. The Roman Catholic leader is fluent in French and was clearly happy to be in the country, telling reporters: "I love France".
He received a triumphant welcome from the country's faithful. Tens of thousands took part in a night-time procession from Notre Dame cathedral to the Esplanade des Invalides, where the pontiff held an open-air mass in front of 200,000 followers on Saturday morning.
The 81-year-old Pope then flew from the capital to visit the historic shrine of Lourdes on the next stage of his four-day visit.