2018 : Keynsham-Libourne

Eighteen people from Keynsham visited Libourne for a week in September. Our party included four people who had not been involved in an exchange before and they all thoroughly enjoyed the experience. As usual our hosts were very welcoming, and all organised things to do for their guests on the days when there was no official event.

The week started with a welcome buffet meal (with plenty of local wine of course) in LIbourne, which all enjoyed, and then after a free day with hosts (who took guests to places like St Emilion and Arcachon) we all gathered for a day at the newly-opened “Cité du Vin” in Bordeaux – a vast wine museum which shows and explains with state-of-the art technology everything you could possibly wish to know about wine all over the world – all housed in a building of interesting design on the waterfront. We had a great meal at lunchtime in a local restaurant part-way through the visit, and finished with wine tasting on the top floor with a panoramic view of the city.

The following afternoon and evening consisted of an official gathering in the Town Hall, hosted by the Mayor of Libourne – the town were celebrating the 40 years of twinning as we had done last year. There was a market afterwards in the town square (we had a stall selling English produce, gifts and Pimms) and later there was music and dancing – at the end we were all on the dance floor waving bunting made from the flags of UK, France and Italy (the Italians were also part of the event) – the wine obviously kicking in!

The events organised by the Mayor continued the next day, with a visit to a chateau and vineyard called Chateau de la Rivière. This was an interesting tour in a spectacular setting, and was followed by another excellent lunch in a local restaurant.

After another free day with our hosts, the final visit was to two interesting historical locations – a walk around a medieval town (Saint Macaire) and a tour of a spectacular castle (Roquetaillade), either side of - you’ve guessed it, another meal with more wine.

Libourne is a lovely town in a great part of France, with so much to do and see. The people are all friendly and fun to be with, and make huge efforts to ensure that we have a great time. Long may twinning continue!

2015 Keynsham » Libourne

Our visit was timed to coincide with a weekend of celebrations & festivities: Libourne’s music festival and the 50th anniversary of their twinning with Schwandorf in Germany. We were accompanied by:

15 representatives of our corporate members Somerset Morris generously hosted by one family, sleeping in the house, tents and a caravan!

2 members of Keynsham Youth Council.

These special events saw us at a formal reception at Château de la Rivière CD4.jpg for representatives of Libourne’s 3 twin towns.

Another reception in the Town Hall, providing a market stall with samples of typically British produce.

Attending musical events, watching our dancers perform and visit to a local lake, where we were treated to a splendid BBQ.

Visits to Libourne Primary Schools

Bringing our communities closer together involves all ages, and one of the highlights for a number of the visitors from Keynsham was our visits to some Libourne Primary Schools, organised by the Libourne Twinning Committee.

Together with our hosts, we spent a few hours at the schools. The school Anne and I attended was the one which Josie, one of our hosts, had attended as a child over 50 years ago! The children, with an age range of 6 to 10, were hugely excited to have some English people to chat to in their playground – they gathered round us in large groups, jumping up and down, and many of them wanted to try out the English words they had learnt in school. They even wanted us to join in singing some Beatles songs which they had been practising in class. We stayed for lunch – they had decorated the tables with Union Jacks and the walls with English words – “hello”, “welcome”, “how are you”. We ate fish and chips, chatted some more, and then it was time to go, the children all waving as we left. One amusingly said “J’aime les anglais pour le moment” (I like the English, for the time being!). Hopefully though, the friendships between our two communities will continue and grow as they grow up, and will not just be “pour le moment”! [Pete and Anne May]

There were days out at:

Beynac, where we toured the chateau

And had a trip on a gabarre.

Teich bird sanctuary in Bay of Arcachon with binoculars at the ready!

In ‘free time’, hosts took their guests to nearby towns, jazz clubs, walks, gardens, swimming parties. A memorable trip!

2012 Keynsham » Libourne

Our latest exchange was in September 2012, when 23 members visited Libourne, all at their own expense. More details in November Newsletter but some highlights were:

  • Socialising together – welcome meal provided by hosts families, wine tasting and meals in restaurants
  • Trip to Carcans on the Atlantic, stopping en route at Lake Carcans-Hourtin and returning past impressive châteaux of the Médoc region.
  • Visits to mediaeval towns of Issigeac, Monflanquin and Château de Monbazillac home of one of France’s best known dessert wines.
  • Last night reception & meal provided by Libourne Council, with speeches, music from members of Somerset Morris dancing and a sing song.

2008 Keynsham » Libourne Exchange

In September 2008, a group of 17 members visited Libourne. Some of the highlights were:

  • A trip to Talmont-sur-Gironde and Royan on the coast, some members even braving the chilly seas!
  • A picnic, as only the French can do. This was held in a barn owing to the inclement weather with contributions from all the French hosts. The food just kept coming!
  • A day in the Dordogne area. We visited the Village Le Bournat which brings back to life the buildings and crafts of the 1900s in a graphic way and caves at Proumeyssac.
  • Visit to a barrel making factory and a wine tasting at Pomerol.
  • Visits to Bordeaux.
  • Farewell meal, hosted by Libourne’s mayor Gilbert Mitterrand.

Photos of Libourne and Surrounding Towns