September Trip to Montesson 

The flourishing relationship between Thame and its twin town in France was strengthened when a group from Thame spent a most convivial weekend as guests of their friends in Montesson. 

The weekend was a very special onfor Montesson’s relationship with its German twin, Baesweiler, with whom they were celebrating 15 years of twinning. During a special reception on the Friday evening, the Mayor of Montesson, Jean-Françoise Bel, referred to the twinning between the French and German towns as: “..the child of all of us.” Liking the relationship to the end of adolescence and the beginning of adulthood, he added: “We are very pleased to see it grow up, even if it is sometimes a little turbulent. “The road we have already travelled together for the last 15 years has a record of friendly exchanges and unforgettable memories. The years to come are those of maturity and a friendship even more enduring.” The evening included a wonderful rendition of two songs from a Montesson singing ensemble, and a solo song from a gifted 15 year-old singing student from the town; what a lift to the spirits of the flagging travellers!

On Saturday, many of the Thame visitors enjoyed a three-hourboat trip on the river Seine, the best way to see some of Paris’s greatest landmarks, including the predominantly glass, Grand Palais, recently re-opened after a major roof collapse. 

In bright sunshine, the cruiser sailed beneath many of Paris’s famous bridges, including the beautiful bridge in the famous painting by Monet, Le Pont d’ Argenteuil, and then floated beneath all 7,000 tonnes of the Eiffel tower, which loomed high above on the south bank. Back on dry land near the converted, Beaux-Arts style railway station, the Musée d’Orsay, our coach took us back along the elegance of the Champs- Elysée, past more famous landmarks like the breath-taking, futuristic Grande Arche de la Défence, and back to Montesson for the eating of the traditional paté de Carmen, a small, meat-filled pastry eaten every year at this time. This was followed in the evening by dinner with our host families and finally, a magnificent firework display in the local sports stadium, depicting the life of JulesVerne.

Sunday’s special lunch in a giant marquee, was the culmination of the weekend’s celebrations and included the presentation by Nigel Champken-Woods, chairman of Thame & District Twinning Committee, to Didier Breuzet, Chairman of Montesson’s Twinning committee, of a book on the Oxford colleges and a DVD about the Red Kites.

After the speeches and presentations of gifts, and the rekindling of old friendships as well as the forming of new acquaintances, the Thame visitors kissed and waved their French hosts and German friends, ‘au revoir’ and ‘auf wiedersehen’.

Abridged & reproduced with kind permission of