Exchange Visit 2019

The Beaumont-le-Roger Society
An Account of Exchange Visit to Beaumont, 24-27 May 2019

24th May
It was a lovely, sunny afternoon when we arrived at our host’s home just outside Beaumont-le-Roger on 24th May.
We had driven from just outside Paris, where we had been staying for a few days prior to the exchange weekend. There was no coach from Wotton this time, mostly because, like us, many wanted to enjoy an extended holiday. So everybody was already in France, and some already staying with their exchange hosts when the weekend officially started at the Reception at Fabrique de la Risle craft centre at 18:00.
The Reception was the perfect opportunity for old friends to reunite over a glass of champagne – and for the new exchangees to be introduced to their hosts and make new friends.
The mayor of Beaumont gave us a warm welcome and after the formalities, everybody mingled and took advantage of the venue to admire the local crafts on display.
Then it was back to our host’s home for an evening meal and lots of catching-up since the previous meeting.

25th May
A full day was planned for Saturday, starting at 08:30 at Impasse la Risle, where we all met to take our coaches for the outing.
First stop was the famous Château de Gaillon, where an excellent guide gave us the tour and a very interesting narrative (in English) of the Château’s from its 16th century origin, through various repurposings to the present day renovations.
After a picnic in a nearby garden on a very warm day, we took our coaches to Monet’s house and gardens (complete with lily pond) at Giverny. It was very busy with tourists from all around the world enjoying the story of Monet’s time at Giverny, the artwork and the fabulous gardens.
Then it was back on board the coaches for the return journey to Beaumont and ‘home’ to get ready for a celebration dinner at the Hostellerie du Lion d’Or in Beaumont.
We convened at 20:00 for champagne and amuse-bouches before settling down for a delicious dinner with our Beaumont friends. During the meal we were entertained by a magician performing close-up tricks as he moved from group to group, so that everyone could enjoy the magic and his very funny patter (in French and English).
There were short speeches from both Societies – including a written message from Wotton’s new Mayor, Roger Claydon – expressing mutual delight in the exchange visit and the ongoing strength of the twinning organisations.
After dinner, as the adults finished the wine and chatted with one another, the youngsters ‘escaped’ to the secure garden adjacent to the dining hall to play and also chat to one another.
Then it was back to our hosts for a nightcap and a good night’s sleep.

26th May
Sunday was a free day for visits to local attractions, the seaside or just chilling locally.
For the members of the two committees there was the customary joint meeting in the morning to discuss, amongst other things, the proposed dates for the 2020 visit to Wotton.
Afterwards, we visited nearby Bernay, with its historic timber-framed buildings. On the way home, our hosts had organised a visit to a local boulangerie to see how baguettes, croissants and other breads and pastries are made – we took away sever samples for breakfast the following morning.

 

27th May
All too soon the twinning weekend was over.
We all met back at Impasse la Risle, where the Beaumont committee laid on coffee and pastries, and we all said our sad goodbyes before setting off for trains, ports or the tunnel for our return trip home – except, of course, for those continuing their holiday in France.
And that was the end of the very successful and enjoyable 2019 exchange weekend in Beaumont-le-Roger.

John Mugridge
Exchange Secretary
The Beaumont-le-Roger Society
Wotton-under-Edge

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