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French Twinning Association Trip
4th – 6th August 2017

Wow! The French Twinning Association is strong and alive! Very early Friday morning, 27 adults, 3 children and one baby set off on the Barfleur ferry for Cherbourg to be met by our French hosts. Mooted by some as one of the best trips ever, the weather was kind to us and was perhaps a sign of the good things to come over the ensuing weekend.

No time was lost as we met in the afternoon for friendly games of boules, palets and even tennis. With our hosts, there must have been over 50 people present, playing and chatting in various degrees of French and English: it was the amount of laughter and camaraderie that cemented the already strong feeling of friendship between us. Once finished, it was off to the nearby Mairie where other French neighbours and friends joined us, so much so, that the hall became rather cramped! We were offered a welcoming drink of ‘kir royal’ (champagne and blackcurrant liqueur), soft drinks and ‘les amuse-gueules’ (nibbles), where further chats with old friends continued, the drink helping to improve one’s ability to discuss all sorts of things in French!

Then, home with our hosts to savour the delights of sumptuous French food, and, well, perhaps a little wine.

Saturday morning saw almost all of us meeting at the local market at some point: the English invasion! French markets are such a feast to the eyes, with amazing and plentiful choices of cheeses, breads, cakes, fresh mussels and oysters caught that morning… the list is endless.

After lunch at home, we met again for a most informative and interesting guided tour of the château de Pirou, with its most intriguing legend of the geese.

Saturday evening, trying to match the French ‘savoir faire’ and their natural chic flair in dress sense, we took over a most pleasant restaurant in Saint-Symphorien-le-Valois, where formal speeches and toasts were made, whilst, yes, yet another superb 4-course meal was served, with wine à volonté.

Sunday morning, as is often the case, starts with fresh croissants from the bakery, tasting like no other croissant you can buy, with a little brioche, a soft sweet bread seen as a delicacy for special occasions such as Sunday breakfast. French families, together with their guests, then did their own thing. Knowing I was keen on gardens, we were taken to a château in Gratot, where they had the most amazing exhibition of plants for sale in a beautiful setting of a well-preserved castle! I wanted to buy so much…

Finally, and sadly, the weekend was over and our French friends took us back to Cherbourg to catch the evening ferry home.

A lot of planning and hard work on both sides takes place before such an event, but the rewards are immeasurable. Language proficiency can be improved and cultural differences are appreciated, but possibly more keenly felt is the warmth and friendship of French friends.

If you are considering, or would like to join the association, which is open to the residents of Bradford Peverell and surrounding villages, please contact Jenny Hills, secretary, on 01305 267641. You would be most welcome!.