French President Francois Hollande has arrived in Egypt on a visit his hosts say will deepen the "distinct and strong" ties the two nations share, but which is also taking place while Egypt's image in Europe is being battered over the case of an Italian graduate student kidnapped and tortured to death in Cairo.

In Egypt Sunday as part of a three-nation Middle East tour, the French leader was accompanied by a large business delegation. The two sides are expected to sign accords in the fields of energy, infrastructure and culture, according to an Egyptian presidential statement.

Egyptian and French flags as well as poster portraits of Hollande and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi now adorn major roads and thoroughfares in Cairo, a practice that is reserved for key visiting leaders.