2018 Visit to Longpré 22nd - 24th June

Friday 22nd June

Our bags were packed and we were ready to go, the biennial twinning weekend to Longpré-les-Corps-Saints was upon us at last. We'd decided that the earlier start we'd made 2 years ago worked out well so we did the same this year. Departing Eastry at 15:30 meant that we'd arrive in Longpré by about 21:30 - a much more reasonable time than in some previous years. It isn't a 6 hour journey, but with the requirement to be at the docks an hour early and the 1 hour time difference - it gets late early!

A new tradition is developing, with a visit to the Brasserie on the ferry during our outward journey, the peaceful surroundings together with the food and wine make the crossing most pleasurable!

From here I will use the text from Terry James our Chairman, written for the Eastry Village News - with additions from me!

We've arrived! [photo Yvette B]

We were warmly met by our hosts at l’hôtel de ville and then we proceeded to a function room for the usual reception. After some refreshments and the welcome speeches, we presented our French friends with some souvenirs. Given the appalling destruction that took place in and around Longpré during WWI, ETA presented our friends with an engraved French brass shell case from that era. On behalf of the Eastry Branch of The Royal British Legion, we also presented an evocative and celebratory fin de guerre cartoon by Dave Chisholm. Our gift from Longpré was a dish, delightfully decorated with a Gallic Rooster* by Monique. It will join our other prized gifts in the village hall twinning display cabinet.

* [The Gallic Rooster - or le coq gaulois in French is the symbol of the French people rather than Marianne, representing France as a State. It is derived from the Latin word “gallus” meaning both "rooster" and "inhabitant of Gaul"]. [Nick]

Monique, Terry and Patricia.

Terry with Patricia and the decorated shell

Patricia &Terry with the gift from the Royal British Legion

On the Saturday morning we visited l’Abbaye de Valloires and its gardens. We had an informative guided tour of this 12th century Cistercian abbey with an excellent impromptu translation by Jeannette Smith. In 1922 the abbey was bought by Therese Papillon and her brother, Jean, a priest, and turned into a home for over 300 children suffering from TB. Since 1974 the abbey has been a home for under-privileged children and those with social difficulties. After a splendid lunch we were free to wander in the delightful abbey gardens. Originally kitchen and medical gardens, they were turned into ornamental gardens as recently as 1987.

Visiting the Abbaye de Valloires, the gardens and church

Jean-Marie, Manon, Clément, Rob and Jenny

Some of the group at the Abbaye de Valloires Lunch Dessert
On the Saturday night we attended a special mass at the church in the village of Long, Longpré’s near neighbour. The mass celebrated la Fete de la Saint-Jean-Baptiste. At the end of the mass a procession led by the statue of St John the Baptist paraded to the centre of the village where a mammoth bonfire had been erected. Many in the parade were carrying flaming torches, including yours truly [Terry James]. When the parade reached the bonfire the torch bearers circled it and thrust their flaming torches into its base. Soon all was ablaze and the surrounding buildings were diligently sprayed with water from the hoses of the local pompiers. The bonfire was accompanied by a firework display with music provided by the local brass band. A totally unique experience.
Inside the church at Long for a service to celebrate la Fete de la Saint-Jean-Baptiste.

The fire is lit and after a few minutes is fully ablaze. Firemen spray water onto nearby trees and buildings to cool them down.

The Sunday morning is traditionally given over to the annual petanque match for The Ashes/Les Cendres – no need to dwell on that, petanque is not coming home!

Photos -Yvette B

 

 

A selection of photos from the game on Sunday morning.

Although Eastry lost all 5 games they were hard fought and some brave resistance was put up, but the accuracy of the Longpré 'bombers'  (players with the ability to knock their opponents ball out of the game) was too much for us. We'll be practising that shot ourselves for next year!

This year was the first year of competing for the new shield, shown left - the first name on the trophy will Longpré, lets see whose name goes on in 2019.

 

 

 

Reported in the Courrier Picard, Mardi 26 Jun 2018.

Following the match, hosts and guests met once more in nearby Long. Our French friends had arranged for us to have a picnic in the landscaped gardens of le Château de Long. The setting was superbe, the food was déliceuse and the company was charmant. After lunch we were free to explore the enchanting gardens which were bounded by the River Somme. And then it was time to gather again at l’hôtel de ville and say our fond farewells. What a weekend – probably one of the best out of many great weekends.

Terry & Nick

[Photos -Yvette B]

 

 

Picnic in the gardens of le Château de Long.