Four Blue Badge Tourist Guides, who regularly guide visitors around Cheltenham and the Cotswolds, were recently hosted by the Annecy Tourist guides. Jane Handoll, Mary Moxham, Kay Thorpe and Mary Badger were met by the President of the Annecy Tourist Guides Association, Anne Pellas and other members, who accompanied them on a full programme of visits and excursions, exploring the history and culture of Annecy and its environs in Haut-Savoie. A reception at the Town Hall included a meeting with the deputy mayor Valerie Gonzo-Massol and colleague Laurent Terrier.
The focus of discussion was the possibility of collaboration around the events of Heritage Open Days in early September. This festival is European wide, and it was suggested that Cheltenham’s festival could include exhibitions about the history and culture of Annecy, whilst a reciprocal exhibition would be mounted in Annecy focusing on Cheltenham.
The guides also visited the restored Old Prison in the very centre of Annecy, and enjoyed a cruise on the lake, a guided walking tour of Annecy Old Town, a dinner offering traditional food of the region in a mountain restaurant, a visit to a cheese making farm at Les Aillons, a visit to the restored monastery at Chartreuse d’Aillons which included a fascinating guided tour, a lunch in a country restaurant, again offering traditional local produce, a short hike on the plateau of le Semnoz to enjoy the panoramic views, a visit to the Convent Basilica of the Visitation to view extraordinary stained glass windows. The day concluded with a very sociable fondue evening at the home of Odile Dauchez, one of the guides, where we were able to enjoy a slide show presentation of the groups’ visit to Cheltenham last October 2017.
On our final morning, our host Anne Pellas took us back to the Old Prison, to view an exhibition on architecture and urbanism next to water. This gave us the opportunity to learn how the town has developed over the centuries, but also to focus on 20th and 21st century urban development of the town of Annecy and its environment. The long drought of recent months is clearly a source of concern for urban planners.
Finally, a small group of guides came to the station to bid us farewell, after our action packed and thoroughly enjoyable stay in beautiful Annecy.
From 3-6 August 2018 a small delegation of 3 people accompanied the mayor to Annecy, when Annecy invited representatives from all of their twin towns for their annual Fete du Lac spectacle. Interesting talks, networking and forging new links were all hot on the agenda as the future of Europe and the importance of maintaining and further developing links with our European friends were all passionately discussed between Annecy, Bayreuth Germany, Vicenza Italy and Cheltenham.
Two students from Annecy have been experiencing English working life and culture, whilst improving their language skills and being immersed in family life. For four weeks, Alexandra Carrez helped out in the Gardens Gallery in Montpellier Gardens, carried out a survey for the gallery and visited other galleries in and around Cheltenham; Lea Grondin was with the Community Investment team of Cheltenham Borough Homes and assisted with many community events and activities for local families. The girls also visited the Mayor’s Parlour for tea with the Mayor.
Every summer Cheltenham sees an influx of students from its twin towns. In July this year the Mayor welcomed 48 students from Annecyand 20 from Weihai.
The students were all attending the international summer school run by Gloucestershire College, where they take part in language lessons, sporting and sightseeing activities and all stay with local host families.
A group of 10 young people from Gottingen were also in Cheltenham from 26 July to 6 August on a sport and language visit. These visits give the young people a brilliant opportunity to experience family life with a British family and to gain confidence in speaking English.
26 under-graduate students from the University of Gloucestershire’s animated film degree course visited Annecy from 11-15 June to coincide with the International Animated Film Festival held in Annecy every year. This is an invaluable learning opportunity for the students and 3 of the students were judges for a special prize awarded by the town of Annecy to young film directors from emerging countries. Very proud of our local young people being involved in this internationally acclaimed film festival.
A group of 26 farmers and their partners from the Gloucestershire Farmers Diners association visited Annecy from 12-17 May. This community group were assisted in their organisation by the Twinning
Officers of both Cheltenham and Annecy and enjoyed a reception, boat tour on the lake and a tour of the town, courtesy of Annecy. They also visited Mont Blanc, Aix-les-Bains and the pretty little town of Chanaz, as well as seeing the resistance museum. The group were thoroughly impressed with Annecy and the welcome received and had a fab trip.