Kronstadt–Toulon naval visits

The Kronstadt–Toulon naval visits were reciprocal diplomatic visits carried out by the French and Russian navies in the lead up to the Franco-Russian Alliance (1894–1917). The visits served as cover to exchange letters between the countries' foreign offices making key defensive agreements. The French Navy visited Kronstadt on the Gulf of Finland on 23 July 1891 and the Russian Navy visited Toulon on 13 October 1893. Both visits were received by crowds of people, speeches from dignitaries and the singing of anthems. During the Toulon visit the Russians attempted to secure naval bases on the French Mediterranean coast but were unsuccessful. The Franco-Russian Alliance later, with the addition of Britain, developed into the Triple Entente that opposed Austria and Germany during the First World War.

The French fleet at Kronstadt
An 1896 banner commemorating the 1891 Kronstadt visit