Visits to La Ferté St. Aubin

Our visits to France, originally lasting four days, but now six, usually take place around Easter, are open to anybody, of any age in Wells or the surrounding area.

La Ferté St. Aubin is a town of about 5000 people, just south of Orleans, on the edge of the Sologne region of forests and lakes, and within easy reach of the Loire valley.

The journey by luxury coach takes up to fourteen hours, but is surprisingly enjoyable.

The channel is crossed either by ferry or the shuttle.

Aboard the ferry
 

In 2017 our friends from La Ferte visited Wells; thanks to the French presidential election the visit was a day shorter than usual but we managed to fit in visits to Holkham, Ware Hall House, Peter Beales Roses and the mid-Norfolk railway. As usual, a wonderful banquet was held at the Alderman Peel High School on the Friday evening with a few speeches and much hilarity.

 

In 2016 we visited La Ferte and amongst other places visited were the Castle which is being built from scratch at Guedelon using mediaeval methods (we have visited this several times in the past and have seen it grow from a few low walls to what is now recognisably a castle); the Chateau and river Loire at Beaugency and who can forget the little electric boats in the rain at Bonneval.  The food and drink were superb (as always) and no one left France hungry or thirsty.

The trip to La Ferte will be from 4th to 7th April; if you would like to come with us please get in touch the cost is usually in the region of £200 which covers the coach fare, all costs in France are met by the hosts.

the gardens in La Ferté

 
The Palace of Versailles
The official reception
 

A time for good byes

At the end of the visit there is a time for good byes and thanks between the English President of the Twinning Committee and the Secretary of the French Committee.

 

 

A time for good byes.
 

Returning home

After each visit to France we have a get together of all those who went on the trip - as well as the partners if they were left behind - and have a bring and share french Supper.

Again a delightful social event.

 

There are now permanent reminders of Wells-next-the-Sea in La Ferté St. Aubin. Their Twinning Committee have placed a brass plaque (on which our town's name is inscribed) in the pavement outside the tourist office and we have given each member of the Committee a Queen Elizabeth Rose.  At the Alderman Peel High School three trees have been planted which were donated by La Ferte.

Lasting friendships

Many of us have formed lasting friendships with the folk from La Ferté. Reciprocal visits are made outside the organised events and each year new people are involved on either side.

It is not necessary to repay hospitality,or even to go to La Ferté after giving hospitality, although, of course, many people wish to do so.

It is certainly not necessary to be able to speak French, or to have any knowledge of France - merely to be willing to enjoy a new experience. It is an easy way of seeing a little of everyday life in another country, and showing some of our way of life and our region in return.

 

Alternate Years 

On alternate years, we receive a group from La Ferté St. Aubin, on the same basis.

In the two years between receiving our french visitors, we concentrate on fund-raising, because entrance fees, lunches and an evening party cost at least £5,500, for a group of about 50 people for the six days.  In the past we have received about £1,000 a year from the car parking on the playing field but we will not get this money after 2015 so we will be more reliant on meals and other social events to raise money.  Details of things happening are on the events page of the website and we do hope that you will be able to join us for some or all of these.

 

Fund-raising

In the past we have had grants from the Town council and North Norfolk District Council. We always receive funding from the Wells Carnival Committee.

A great deal of work is involved organising participation, accommodation, events, transport and so on.

Help with the relentless fund -raising is much appreciated.

These events result in most enjoyable social occasions, keep the twinning in view throughout the year, involve lots of local people and make use of different venues for different types of occasion.

 
Lasting friendships