Last weekend (1st to 5th May) 20 people from Newbury, including the Mayor of Newbury Councillor Nigel Foot and his wife Councillor Sarah Slack, the Mayoress, visited the South of France to celebrate 50 years of twinning with the town of Bagnols sur Cèze.

On the Friday the group were treated to a visit to the Cocalière Caves – more than a kilometre of stunning limestone stalactites and stalagmites reflected in underwater lakes, and a fascinating museum at a disused coal mine. Lunch was a thirteen-course banquet of regional cooking and unlimited wine.

Saturday morning saw the official celebration of twinning at the Town Hall in Bagnols, followed by visit to the well-stocked art gallery on the second floor, which includes works of art by Matisse, Rodin and Picasso. Guests were taken by their host families to a variety of local tourist destinations in the afternoon, but everyone came together for a dinner dance in the evening, including guests from six other European towns; Eeklo in Belgium, Braunfels in Germany, Carcaixent in Spain and Feltre in Italy (all twinned with Newbury), as well as Kiskunfélegyháza in Hungary and Zamosc in Poland.

The weather was at its best on Sunday, for a picnic in a meadow under a shaded arbour.  The hosts brought delicious dishes for all to share, including a basket full of freshly picked cherries.

As ever, there were heartfelt goodbyes on Sunday evening, prior to the early departure for a flight back to England. Newbury Twin Town Association will be hosting over 40 guests from their twin and associate towns in July, for the celebration of 60 years of twinning with