Town Twinning Association

2019 Visit to Pithiviers

A group of 20 travellers set off from Robert's depot in Hugglescote at 6.30 am, with five additional members travelling independently to Pithiviers. 

 Our driver Andy made good time to Dover to board the ferry. After a calm crossing we went on to the Campanile Hotel in Beauvais for our overnight stay and a very good evening meal in their conference room.

Thursday dawned fine. After buffet breakfast we made our way to Giverny, a pleasant journey through the countryside. We sought refreshment places just as the first shower began but it didn’t spoil the Tarte Normande with Calvados. We entered and enjoyed the Water Garden in another way - water, water everywhere thanks to a heavy shower, some of our group taking shelter under water lily umbrellas purchased earlier! However the sun reappeared and we enjoyed the many flowers, the house, a couple of museums, galleries and the Church where Monet is buried. Soon it was time to leave for Pithiviers to meet our friends at the Fraizy depot.

Friday saw an early departure to Chateaux Guedelon, a castle built using only medieval techniques. This site was visited some years ago when it had not long been established, so those on the previous visit could see the progress. Our very knowledgeable Dutch guide gave an excellent lesson in the measuring techniques used. During our tour it got cooler and darker. As we went to lunch the heavens opened but luckily, although outside, we were under cover and lunch was a hot meal. The second chateaux visit was to St. Fargeau, still a family home. After the guided tour we walked round in the roof space which was a great experience - so much timber! (I don't think Health and Safety would allow it here)

Saturday morning was the Civic Reception with the usual canapés and champagne. The Mayor of Pithiviers and the Ashby Mayor, Cllr. Graham Allman and his wife, Charmaigne were in attendance. Good wishes were exchanged, Cllr. Allman gave a heartfelt speech which was well received by all. The press were there to photograph the occasion with a  report, as it was sixty years since the formation of the Pithiviers Twinning Committee.  All attendees received a souvenir hardback book on Pithiviers. Our Mayor and Mayoress were kindly invited to lunch by Jean-Claude Bregeat.

On Saturday evening the group went to the cabaret venue, La Diamante Bleu. As it was an open venue it wasn't possible to make the formal speeches. Following an evening meal, the hosts invited Jean-Claude on stage to tell the audience the reason for the celebration and then he was presented with a large celebration cake which we all shared. And so to the cabaret - the acts, male and female dancers, circus-type acts à la cirque du soleil, a very interesting magician! etc. were of a high technical standard, slick presentation and high quality technical wizardry accompanied by an enjoyable soundtrack with lots of costume changes. Not so easy to follow was the dialogue between the two main characters a gay transvestite couple. I shall never know if I would have appreciated it more or less had my French been better! Where did the clown fit in? While it may not have been to everyone's taste, it was a case of "when in Rome

 Sunday was family day with lots of different things happening, visits to local rose gardens, historic places such as Troyes, Sunday lunch en famille,  a trip on the Seine were some of the activities members enjoyed.

Monday we stayed nearer our base to visit a Printing Museum in Malesherbes. This is the work of a local business man with a passion for printing. It only opened in 2018. It follows the development of printing from one of the earliest European presses to printing today in the digital era. Outside caterers provided an excellent buffet lunch. Margaret thanked our hosts for a wonderful visit and said although she hadn't forgotten the present this year she would let them have it on Tuesday as the gift of a bird bath for the garden of the Mairie was too heavy to carry!! Jean-Claude thanked everyone for helping to celebrate 60 years since the formation of the Twinning Committee in Pithiviers. After lunch we were able to return to the museum to look at anything else or take part in some workshop activities such as paper-making, marbling or calligraphy.

 Tuesday came all too quickly. Jean-Claude transferred the gift to his car and after lots of goodbyes we were on our way back to the coast, calling in at La Belle Etoile at Arras for  lunch  and a welcome breather. We made good time to Calais and caught the appointed ferry. Our journey back to Hugglescote was straight forward and Andy had ten minutes left on his allotted time.

 Many thanks to all travellers who helped make it a thoroughly enjoyable visit. Also to committee members and those involved in the planning, delivery and support during our time in Pithiviers


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