Wednesday's visit is presented as a "personal" moment between the two leaders and their spouses, Brigitte Macron and Joachim Sauer, before Merkel leaves politics after the formation of a new German government expected in December.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has returned his Legion d'honneur award, France's highest recognition of civil merit which was given to him in 2001, in retaliation for French participation in airborne strikes against the Damascus regime earlier this month and just days after Paris announced it intended stripping him of the decoration.
The French presidency confirmed on Monday that a procedure has begun to strip Bashar al-Assad of his Légion d'honneur award, France's highest honour for actions of civil merit, given to him in 2001 by France's then-president Jacques Chirac.
The French presidency has said it is in discussions with the administration that governs the awarding of France's highest civil merit over whether the Legion of Honour given to US film producer Harvey Weinstein should be annulled over claims that he sexually assaulted and harassed a number of women, accusations which he has denied.
French foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault presented the US Secretary of State with the insignia of Grand Officer of the Legion of Honour, France's highest civil award, at a ceremony in Paris in which he recalled Kerry's family connections with France and praised his diplomatic endeavours.