Having faced a bruising encounter with Conservative MPs in the House of Commons, during which she accepted full responsibility for the disastrous snap election she called, hoping to increase her majority in parliament, but which ended in her losing it, May is seeking to use the UK's special relationship with France to help her win back a sense of authority.
The Entente Cordiale refers to a series of agreements between London and Paris, signed in 1904, ending a hundred years of intermittent conflict between the two countries, including the Napoleonic Wars. It led to a warming of relations between Britain and France, eventually leading to Charles de Gaulle fleeing to London in the Second World War to lead the Free French from London.
Although de Gaulle later went on to veto Britain's first request to join the European Economic Union — as it then was — relations between the two nations have become close, with the UK and France now cooperating on military matters much more closely.
May is seeking to build on the Entente Cordiale in an attempt to regain something of her stature having suffered a humiliating defeat in the general election, June 8. She has asked Britain to give her a mandate for a "strong and stable" government — with an increased majority — that she could use to go into the upcoming negotiations on Britain's exit from the European Union — known as Brexit.
However, having led a limp and wooden campaign that she centered on herself and losing what little majority she already had in the House of Commons, May's political worth has fallen through the floor and she has lost credibility both at home and abroad.
Macron, on the other hand, is flying high, having formed a new political party in 2016, gone on to win the first round of the French presidential elections — knocking out for the first time in decades the two main parties, the Republicans and the Socialists — before going on to beat Front National leader Marine Le Pen in the second round.
Macron has close ties with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and both are strong supporters of the EU — although Macron has expressed a desire for fundamental reforms within the bloc. In making her first trip abroad since losing the election and choosing France, May is hoping to build on the Angle-Franco alliance in an effort to restore some of her credibility in Brussels.