French president Emmanuel Macron was pictured wincing as he tucked into a fish sandwich during a visit to Hamburg for talks with German chancellor Olaf Scholz.
The two leaders also enjoyed a glass of beer and a stroll along the river Elbe as they aimed to repair strained ties in two days of Franco-German meetings in the city.
Britta Ernst, Mr Scholz’s wife, and Brigitte Macron, France’s first lady, also ate the snack at a fish stall in Germany’s second-largest city.
Mr Scholz said: “France and Germany are a very important couple for Europe.
“As is common for many couples, there are sometimes different perspectives on one issue or another but it is possible to develop a common point of view.”
Mr Macron echoed the sentiment, saying the two European Union heavyweights “have a historic, moral, political duty… to build common paths to move forward for our two countries and for our Europe”.
“A stronger and more united Europe is essential, and a necessary condition for this is for Germany and France to be closer,” he told reporters.
The closely-watched Hamburg gathering, also attended by government ministers from both countries, was billed as a chance to revive the Franco-German friendship after a series of spats over issues including energy policy and defence projects.