Twinned towns celebrate a decade of entente cordiale

Reporter:

Matt Jones

FEW may know the origins of Rue St Grégoire – a little corner of France in Flintshire.

But the French-named street symbolises an ever growing friendship between Holywell and its twin town of St Grégoire in Brittany, northern France.

The towns have been twinned for 10 years and this May representatives from Holywell will attend a special celebration in France to mark the anniversary.

Paulene Ellis, a member of Holywell and District Twinning Association, has visited St Grégoire and hosted guests from the town on numerous occasions.

The hotelier from Carmel said: “Many friendships have been forged with families returning every year to meet their French hosts, attending weddings and watching children grow.

“Twinning makes us all realise that we are the same. There are a lot of similarities between the Welsh and Breton cultures not least sharing the same tune for our national anthems.”

So far more than 300 visitors from St Grégoire have come to Holywell and the French town has even named a roundabout after Holywell.

Paulene said: “It boosts tourism. There are people who take holidays to twinned towns. From here we have taken visitors on days out to Snowdon, Portmeirion, Chester and Liverpool as well as seeing local spots like Greenfield Valley and St Winefride’s Well.

“We have had a lot of youngsters come over and stay with us. They come to learnabout the language and what it is like to live in Wales.

“They enjoy their visits every time and there are always tears when they leave and when we leave.”

Over the last 10 years ‘twinners’ from Holywell have visited chateauxs and castles and have taken part in wine tasting and seen how cider is made.

The next trip to St Grégoire is on May 12 for six days and there are still seats available on the coach. For more information contact 01352 733499.

See full story in the Leader

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