SCOTTISH Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop brushed up on her French as she read from Asterix to pupils at a school near Paris.

She joined children from Ecole Marbeau, in le Plessis-Trevise, to read from Asterix Chez les Pictes, the cartoon hero's latest adventure set in Scotland.

She also sat in on language, information and communications technology, science, maths and technology lessons at the school, which is twinned with St Kenneth's Primary in Lochgelly, Fife.

The visit came as the Scottish and French governments are seeking to renew the Auld Alliance with a commitment to collaborate on arts and culture.

A "statement of intent," signed in October by First Minister Alex Salmond and His Excellency Bernard Emie, the French ambassador to the UK, will see existing cultural links expanded and new initiatives developed.

Ms Hyslop said: "Visiting Ecole Marbeau and meeting the students and teachers gave me a chance to see the statement of intent being put into practice.

"I was able to see the benefits of the school's partnership with St Kenneth's and the lessons the children in Fife and Paris have learnt from working with each other.

"The Auld Alliance between Scotland and France is an enduring relationship reflecting a shared history of co-operation and friendship."