Éric Lebédel (b. 1957), France's ambassador to Bulgaria, is not a newcomer to either the former Soviet bloc nor the Balkans. He has worked in Moscow in the 1980s and in Istanbul in the 1990s. This is not his first visit to Bulgaria either. He had been to this country several times on various short missions before he took up his post as ambassador in October 2016. This is less than a year in total, in a country notorious for being at least challenging to understand by people not well versed in either the language or the culture.