France recognized and established diplomatic relations with Mexico on 26 November 1826. During the early years of their diplomatic relations, Mexico and France were not always on friendly terms, particularly with the beginning of the Pastry War (November 1838 - March 1839), known also as the 'first French intervention' in Mexico; where France invaded Mexico in order to collect re-compensation for property damaged and or looted by Mexican forces. During the war, France (with the assistance of the United States) blockaded Mexican ports thus crippling the economy. Three months later, Mexico agreed to pay France 600,000 pesos in compensation.
In December 1861, Emperor Louis-Napoléon invaded Mexico on a pretext that Mexico had refused to pay its foreign debt, though in retrospect, Louis-Napoléon wanted to expand his empire in Latin-America and this became known as the Second French Intervention in Mexico. After a successful French invasion of Mexico, Louis-Napoléon installed his Austrian cousin, Maximilian of the House of Habsburg, as emperor of Mexico in 1864.
For several years, Mexican rebels under President Benito Juárez fought against French and royalist troops. In 1866, Louis-Napoléon decided to withdraw French troops from Mexico due to American pressure and the fact that the rebel troops were successfully advancing on Mexico City. In 1867, Emperor Maximilian I was captured and executed in Querétaro thus ending the Second Mexican Empire.
In December 2005, a French citizen called Florence Cassez was arrested in Mexico and charged with kidnapping, organized crime and possession of firearms. She was found guilty by a Mexican court and sentenced to 60 years imprisonment. Cassez always maintained her innocence which began a diplomatic dispute between Mexico and France. At the time, President Nicolas Sarkozy asked the Mexican government to allow Cassez to serve her sentence in France, however the requests were denied.
In 2009, Mexico cancelled its participation of 2011 "The Year of Mexico in France" (350 events, films, and symposium planned) as the French president Sarkozy declared that this year-long event was going to be dedicated to Cassez, and each individual event would have some sort of remembrance of the Frenchwoman. In January 2013, the Mexican Supreme Court ordered her release and Cassez was flown immediately back to France. Since her release, France pledged to assist Mexico in creating a Gendarmerie in Mexico at the request of President Enrique Peña Nieto.
Both nations are members of the G-20 major economies, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the United Nations.
In 1997, Mexico signed a Free Trade Agreement with the European Union (which includes France). In 2012, two-way trade between France and Mexico amounted to $4,74 billion USD. Between 1999-2008, French companies invested over $1,750 billion USD in Mexico. France is Mexico's 16th biggest trading partner while Mexico is France's 53rd biggest trading partner globally.
Resident diplomatic missions
- France has an embassy in Mexico City.
- Mexico has an embassy in Paris and a liaison office in Strasbourg.
- Bilateral relations between Mexico and France (in Spanish)
- The Pastry War (Mexico vs. France, 1838-1839)
- French Intervention in Mexico and the American Civil War, 1862–1867
- Emperor Maximilian of Mexico
- Florence Cassez released in Mexico
- France's dispute with Mexico over Florence Cassez moves from diplomatic arena to cultural stage
- Peña formaliza apoyo de Francia para crear Gendarmería Nacional (in Spanish)
- French president on state visit to Mexico (in Spanish)
- Estrechan Relaciones México y Francia (in Spanish)
- Relaciones Económicas entre México y Francia (in Spanish)
- Embassy of France in Mexico City (in French and Spanish)
- Embassy of Mexico in Paris (in French and Spanish)
- Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs on historical bilateral relations between Mexico and France (Spanish)
- French Ministry of Foreign Affairs on relations with Mexico