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Visits to Saint-Chéron

Group visits take place every two years. Members tend to travel by car, either sharing with others or going alone because they intend to stay on in France and go further afield after the group visit. Coaches are used if there are sufficient people traveling to make it economic. The visits are usually from Friday to Monday, arriving late afternoon on the Friday and leaving on Monday morning. Members stay in homes in Saint-Chéron, matched as far as possible with their French hosts so that they can communicate. Sometimes it is possible to match for interests as well. The host family looks after their guests for the weekend. There is usually a group visit to a town or site of special interest on one day. Examples of these include the Château of Chantilly, the cathedral at Reims, the garden show at Courson. On one evening there is usually a dinner for the whole group in a hall or restaurant. Joint activities enable people to mix with both.

Members also visit their Saint-Chéron link families independently and many lasting friendships have been formed.

May 2016 Visit

On the 30th anniversary of the founding of the RPTA, our French friends in Saint-Chéron decided that the occasion merited a visit to the classic sights of Paris. Having been plied with drinks on arrival and welcomed into the homes of our hosts on the Friday night, we set off by bus the following morning for that hard-to-miss landmark, the Eiffel Tower.

The first floor of the Eiffel Tower is "only" 58 metres above street level, and on stumbling out of the crowded lift, it was somewhat disconcerting to discover the recent renovations incorporated transparent floors with views directly down to the hundreds of tourists below. Those joining the queues to come up and dodging the omnipresent souvenir sellers appeared as scurrying ants below our feet from that height.  We were gratefully shepherded into the comfortable '58' Restaurant where we were treated to a three course lunch with wine while admiring the view across the Seine towards  the Palais de Chaillot, Gardens of the Trocadero and many other landmarks.

Duly fortified, we were then then free to walk around the glass-walled perimeter affording unobstructed views to all points of the compass. There were also exhibits about the history of the Tower, built by Gustave Eiffel as the entrance to the World's Fair of 1889 and to mark 100 years since the Revolution.  It remains a unique engineering masterpiece.

Notre DameOur next treat was a relaxing boat ride along the River Seine under its variety of bridges and  past many renowned buildings such as the Grand Palais, Les Tuileries, the Louvre and the crowning glory of  Notre Dame cathedral on the Île de la Cite.  A polyglot guide gave us a running commentary mixing history with romance, (reminiscent of, but not quite matching,  Eartha Kitt’s 1955 version of  Sous Les Ponts de Paris!). Our hosts had kindly gifted us each of us with an illustrated coffee table book on the Monuments of Paris as a useful aide memoire to these wonderful sights.Pont Neuf

On the Sunday our hosts took us to places of interest closer to Saint-Chéron, while the evening was devoted to celebrating the 30 years of Rotherfield and Saint-Chéron Twinning.

 

Read more details...

M. Jean Pierre Delaunay, who had been deputy Mayor at the time of the setting up of their  Association, outlined the origins of the agreement.  The widow of another of those instrumental in setting up the agreement, M. Georges Decarpignies, was also present.  The current  Mayor - Mme Jocelyne Guidez - said she was honoured to be present at this important reunion of the two groups, who meet twice a year under such friendly terms, and to present an engraved plaque in commemoration (see image to right)..  In a similar vein, Lucette Bauer retiring President of the ASCAE,  thanked those who had travelled from UK for the occasion, and the various friends and families who were hosting us.  A slideshow of twinning events over the thirty years brought many smiles and exclamations of recognition from the “older” members.

Marcia Foley replied on behalf of the visitors from Rotherfield. She recalled that she and her husband had been members of the Twinning from the start, had many good memories of friends made, places of interest visited and the enjoyment which other members on both sides of the twinning had expressed about their personal experiences of the links.

On the Monday we all then went our separate ways, straight home or to visit other places in France,  including the out of town branch of the Louvre Art gallery at Lens, only 60 miles from Calais and well worth a visit for its exhibition art through the ages which you can see in two hours.  All returned to UK safely, some bearing souvenirs and duty free,  home-made quince jam and someone with a beautiful watercolour done by her host.   It was a great shame one or two of our Rotherfield number had to drop out from the exchange visit at the last minute through illness or injury: they were much missed. 

We will meet our Saint-Chéron friends again for a walking holiday around the River Dart in September;  and  will be hosting them here in Rotherfield next May 2017.    We spoke to several couples who would love to do an exchange and offer their spare room in Saint-Chéron,  so,  if you are at all interested, do have a chat with Marcia on 852141.

2014 Visit

The previous visit to Saint-Chéron was from 23rd - 26th May 2014. This included the official unveiling of the Allée de Rotherfield opposite the Mairie, a reception and dinner on the Friday evening, and a visit to Monet's house and garden at Giverny on the Saturday. The programme and photos posted by André Dupont can be viewed here. [Link to André's blog - may not function on mobile devices].

Allée de Rotherfield

Read full report of May 2014 visit (submitted to Rotherfield Parish Magazine), and programme of events. (pdf files - opens in new window)

Earlier Visits

Group on parade

The group "on parade" participating in a village festival in 2006
(we are not usually dressed like this!)

Other photos taken in Saint-Chéron and environs (2006)

      Dourdan   

Photos taken around Saint-Chéron in 2012