Battle is reunited with its twin town, St Valery sur Somme, after more than two years with recent visit

A group of Battle residents renewed the town's French twinning link with St Valery sur Somme on a trip from July 8 to 11.

They were welcomed by friends back into the beautiful old town surrounded by its mediaeval walls. Daniel Chareyron, the new Mayor and his Councillors hosted a Vin d’Honneur in the newly restored courtyard of the Town Hall.

Speeches by the Mayor and the Chairman of the Twinning Associations, Marie-Agnès Landié Mireaux and Stephen Bradshaw expressed their delight that we were at last together after two and a half years of separation.

Battle Twinning Association members on their recent visit to St Valery-sur-Somme

After, Battle visitors dispersed amongst the hosts to pass the evening together in their homes. On Saturday all were invited to visit the new community hub. This is within the walls of an ancient salt warehouse that had been in ruins since the early twentieth century. The modern complex inside the original walls contains a huge theatre, conference rooms, with reception areas overlooking the marina and a large tourist office.

We had a lecture by a noted archaeologist Gilles Prilaux on the importance of salt production from prehistory to the latest finds in nearby excavations made during the construction for the A16 motorway.

An exhibition of photos of Battle’s historic buildings and pictures of Battle’s festive occasions was presented by Suzanne Williams in the foyer of the centre.

In the new Tourist Office, the Mayor unveiled an embroidery project worked by Twinning members depicting a scene from the Bayeux Tapestry of William departing St Valery for the conquest of England.

A gala dinner followed in the reception room highlighted by a spectacular buffet of desserts illuminated by table fireworks.

Visiting Dieppe on the following day we wandered through its old town streets down to the harbour. There were many displays of the Canadian Maple Leaf, this year being the eightieth anniversary of the failed Dieppe raid in WWII. In the afternoon we went to the exquisite Château de Miromesnil birthplace of Guy de Maupassant. Hidden in the beech woods of Normandy, the walled gardens were a colourful mix of flowers and vegetables.

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