French President François Hollande speaks during a joint n
French President François Hollande speaks during a joint n
French President Francois Hollande is heading to the center of American technology development to try to lure more U.S. investment to France.

Hollande flew to the so-called Silicon Valley in the western state of California, the day after being hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama at a White House state dinner.

The French president is set to meet with the San Francisco mayor and have lunch with American business leaders, including key officials from the Facebook social media company and Internet search engine Google.

At a White House press conference Tuesday, Hollande deflected a suggestion from a French journalist that his country's high tax rates inhibiedt new investment in France.

"France is one of the world's countries that receives the largest amount of foreign investments, one of the world's countries that is most open to foreign capital. And I want to strengthen and enhance this attractiveness of France," he said.

The French leader said that 2,000 U.S. companies have operations in France and employ 500,000 workers.

Guests at Tuesday's state dinner included business leaders, political donors, and Hollywood celebrities.

Hollande, who recently announced his split with longtime partner Valerie Trierweiler, was seated between Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, in a heated outdoor tent that accommodated a crowd of 350.

Earlier in the day, Obama praised the "enduring alliance" between France and the United States. Obama said the two countries' alliance "has never been stronger." Hollande added that the two countries "now trust each other in an unprecedented manner."

Talks between the two leaders covered Iran nuclear negotiations, Syria, counter-terrorism efforts in Africa, trade, economic issues and climate change.