France and Uruguay are linked by deep political, cultural and linguistic affinities. France played an important role in Uruguay’s history, providing invaluable assistance at the time of its independence. The Uruguayan State is partly built on the French model (secularism, Napoleonic code, education system), carried there by the many French immigrants of the day: at the end of the 19th century, the French community accounted for almost a third of Uruguay’s population. Relations were nevertheless put on hold for the duration of the military dictatorship (1973-1985), during which France offered asylum to large numbers of refugees.