Our visit to Longpré 2009.

(More photos at the bottom of the page)

The waiting was over and we were on our way. The bank holiday weekend didn't make booking the crossing very easy but we were lucky to get a ferry at a reasonable time. Leaving Eastry at 17:00 we wouldn't get to Longpré until ~23:00 local time because of the 1 hour difference; luckily we were at the docks in plenty of time and we were put on a slightly earlier crossing. There were 30 of us including the coach driver, which is something of a record for recent years, so maybe the word is slowly getting out that it is well worth being involved!

A welcoming committee was waiting for us in the town hall at Longpré and we were warmly received, guests and hosts were introduced to each other and veterans of the twinning caught up with one another. After a welcome speech from the  chairman of the Longpré jumelage committee Jean-Marc, and reply from the Eastry chairman Terry, gifts were exchanged. Eastry was presented with a hand made and decorated porcelain jig-saw showing a swan on one of the local lakes (or les étangs as the French call them) from Longpré and our gift to the people of Longpré was a framed cross stitch showing The Five Bells in Eastry together with the original pen and ink sketch on which the cross stitch was based. Also, to maintain the cross stitch theme, a hassock with the Eastry logo for the church. Formalities over we were refreshed with glasses of local 'cidre' and slices of 'Gateau Battu'  a regional speciality somewhere between a sponge cake and brioche.

Saturday morning started bright and sunny and we set off in a fleet of cars for the town of Eu which is just over the border into Normandy from Picardy, across the Bresle river. (The town of Eu is quite difficult to find on the internet as it is swamped by millions of references to the European Union amongst other things, but here is a start for those of you who wish to find out more about it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eu,_Seine-Maritime). We were given a tour of a glass making museum with an English speaking guide who certainly knew his subject, taking us through the reasons for the original glass factories being set up along the river Bresle, to the history and modernisation of the glass industry (if you want to know more ask Phil). The tour was followed by a demonstration of the glassblowers art and finally a short video presentation of the process of kiln building. There were many fascinating glass related artefacts on display along with some of the finished articles, especially the collection of iconic perfume bottles made at the factory and recently bought back to stock the museum.

After the tour we all went to the woods! A convoy of cars drove the few kilometres into some of the forest that had been the reason for the glass factories being sited in the area (for fuel!). Once we arrived and the cars parked, a transformation happened in one of the clearings. Tables, chairs,  hampers and wine bottles were unpacked and we were all treated to a fantastic picnic, in usual fashion tasty morsels from one group were shared with those on neighbouring tables and the same for aperitifs and wine, making it very convivial. A few spots of rain threatened to dampen the enthusiasm but it realised it couldn't and gave up.

The picnic over and everything packed away we returned to Eu for the afternoon entertainment, starting with a 'land train' trip to the seaside towns of Mers Les Bains and Le Tréport. The round trip lasted approximately one hour and was an ideal way to see the towns.  After the trip people had time to walk around Eu, visit the large church, walk the gardens of the chateau or just while away a little time in one of the bars or cafes. We did all of the above, others only some but Eu isn't a big town and we would often bump into other members of our party and join them for a while before peeling off and doing something new.

Returning to Le Tréport in the early evening we took the funicular railway from the cliff top car park into the town and walked the short distance to the restaurant 'L'Hippocampe' which had been booked exclusively for the jumelage where we were treated to aperitifs, a delicious 3 course meal (which we'd chosen earlier from menus supplied and which Patricia and Jean-Marc had painstakingly collated to enable the restaurant to cope with over 60 covers) and coffee. Our hosts then drove us the ~50km back to Longpré for a much needed sleep before the traditional Sunday morning petanque match.

Sunday morning came around all too quickly and after croissants, pain-au-chocolate and strong coffee we set off for a game of petanque. For those not playing or supporting, their hosts had made other arrangements for entertainment.

It was a beautiful morning, sunny and hot - which was obviously the reason the French players had the upper hand during the game, the Eastry team being used to a more northerly climate (well that is one explanation, the other could be that they are better). We did at least manage to avoid a whitewash, clawing back one game to end the morning with a 4:1 win for Longpré. The captains exchanged gifts,  Eastry breaking from tradition by presenting two apple trees (to provide some shade for future games?) as, hopefully, a long lasting memento of our visit.

Again, due to the limitations on available crossings we had to leave Longpré by 4pm which we all agreed afterwards was far too early. It meant that for many, there wasn't really enough time between the end of the petanque match and the coach departure to do justice to the lovingly prepared meals that had been provided by their hosts. Ideally the meal would have been enjoyed over a leisurely couple of hours and not rushed, so this is something we will endeavour to rectify next time. That said, the meal we had was excellent and we send our grateful thanks to our hosts Patricia and Jean-Marc for a fantastic weekend.




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Reception at the Hotel de Ville

Rob and Christine meet their hosts

Terry presents Jean-Marc with the hassock

The ceramic jigsaw from Longpre

The tour of the glass museum, Eu

The glass museum, Eu

Some of the exibits in the museum

Our English speaking tour guide

The perfume makers bench, Eu

Some examples of the glass makers work

The two Amigos

At the end of the museum tour

Unpacking for the picnic

Picnic in Eu forest

Picnic in the woods

Even Oliver the dog enjoyed the picnic

The land train in Eu

Graham and Jean-Marc check the engine.

The 'train' in Le Treport

A little house in Eu

The church in Eu

The "funiculaire" Le Treport

In L'Hippocampe, Le Treport


Pat, Cheryl, Francoise and Patrick

Rob and Christine at breakfast

A second game of petanque gets under way

Manon, Yvette, Keith and Debbie

Terry (throwing) and Alain

In the restaurant L'Hippocampe

Graham presents the two apple trees to Jean-Marc

Thierry receives the ashes from Jean-Marc

Rob, Christine, Phil and Wendy

Preparing to leave "L'annee prochaine"