A group from the Rotary Club of Canterbury spent a superb few days over the weekend of 2nd -4th October as guests of the Rotary Club of St Quentin, in Northern France. St Quentin is the Canterbury club’s oldest ‘Contact Club’, sharing a relationship which stretches back to 1947. So, the welcome wasn’t only warm, it was also personal.
The weekend got underway early Friday evening in the bar at the Villa d’Isle, the meeting venue for the RC of St Quentin, where aperitifs were taken prior to the visitors being taken to the homes of their allotted French hosts. For everybody, it was then a short walk to dinner in the home of another Rotarian plus the usual selection of excellent wines.
|La Louvre Lens Museum - click or tap all images to enlarge||"A unique Journey through the History of Time"|
Saturday was a case of being up early to meet at the Basilica before being driven to Lens to visit the outpost of the famous Louvre Museum of Paris – La Louvre Lens. Built on the site of an old coal mine – atop a 650mtr mine shaft – the museum receives, on a temporary basis, treasures from the Paris mother-ship. At the heart of the present exhibition is: ‘A unique journey though the history of time’, an exhibition which demonstrates civilisations and working techniques from the birth of writing around 3500 BC until the middle of the 19th century. Lunch at a local restaurant gave way to a sunny afternoon ahead of the trip back to St Quentin with the opportunity to explore more of this historic town.
|Australia defeats England by 33 to 13||Rugby: Watching the defeat|
There was a choice of evening activity, either watching the England v Australia rugby match – or a recital in the nearby Basilica. Patronage was evenly spread and both started off in the Restaurant Champs Elysees, owned and run by the wife of a St Quentin Rotarian. Both the meal and the recital were considerably more palatable and harmonious than the rugby result, but a good time was had by all. And so to bed before a relaxed Sunday morning either visiting the flower festival in the Basilica, attending Mass, or simply spending time with our hosts.
Champagne in the sunshine
|Sadly it was soon time to start the long departure. First it was off to the home of Antoine and Catherine Carette, for a glass of champagne in the sunshine. This ‘courte pause’ provided an opportunity for Canterbury President-Elect, Martin Ward, to thank the hosts for their kind hospitality, and to reflect on the importance of fellowship and friendship that is at the heart of Rotary.|
Martin Ward thanks the Hosts
It was then off to Restaurant le 31 for lunch before heading for the motorway which would take the visitors back to Calais.
As the dust settled on the weekend, everybody who went was in agreement that it was one of those special events which only happen between close friends: people who share the same values and have the same desire to enjoy each other’s’ company.
And the next get together between the two club’s? Oh, that’ll be a celebration in 2017 marking the 70th anniversary of the partnership between Canterbury and St Quentin.