The two leaders met at the Baroque palace in Ludwigsburg, south-western Germany, where De Gaulle made a speech to German youth that is credited with marking a turning point in post-war reconciliation.
Before the meeting started both tried to rally European spirits in the face of economic crisis and wrapped with a few words in the other’s language.
"The only response to the crisis is Europe, it is Europe that will beat the crisis," he said finishing with a stirring declaration in German: "Long live the Franco-German friendship!"
Merkel finished her speech with a line in French: "Long live Franco-German youth, long live European youth!"
No decisions were to be made at the meeting, according to officials.
But they confirmed that the BAE/EADS merger would be addressed, although both sides have said that they would wait for more details to be revealed before passing judgement.
France and Germany both hold major stakes in EADS, while the British government has a golden share, which gives it power of veto, in BAE.
The two groups have until 10 October to finalise the project or drop it.
On the euro crisis, Paris and Berlin differ over proposals for EU banking supervision.
France wants the European Central Bank to have the power to supervise all 6,000 banks in the eurozone as from January, while Germany wants it to look only into big banks and is in nor rush to introduce the measure.