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Visit to Rouen-Rouvray

This was the second part of the process of Seaford and Rouen-Rouvray Rotary Clubs “getting to know each other” after the Rouen Club’s visit to us in June. We had no idea of the arrangements that awaited us, but need not have been concerned. We could not have had a better experience.
Saturday dawned with clear skies and mild temperatures as we boarded the 09.30 ferry. The sun shone, the sea was calm and we arrived in Dieppe at 14.30 local time to be welcomed by our hosts and taken for a comfortable drive of about an hour to the centre of Rouen. After parking, we walked to the Musée des Beaux Arts, where we spent time enjoying works by Carravagio, Veronese, Rubens, Velázquez, Pissarro, Modigliani, Dufy and other famous painters including of course Monet and Sisley.
After transfer to a small hotel owned and run by Rouen-Rouvray Rotarian Eric Corruble for a quick change, we were taken to a restaurant overlooking the modern Joan of Arc church, where we met and enjoyed dinner with many of our host club members.
This was a very friendly and rewarding occasion. After a short walk took us to the (much painted by Monet) cathedral to witness a high-tech Son et Lumière show, which attracted huge crowds, and was completely free of charge.
The breakfast buffet on Sunday was full of choices and we could easily have spent a long time over it. We were met, however at 09.45, and taken to the Jeanne d’Arc museum for tour to delight any history buff. It was, of course, presented from a French perspective, but not blatantly so. A car journey to the Right Bank of the Seine and stroll along with numerous local people brought us to the popular K restaurant and a splendid Sunday brunch buffet, again with many host club members.
During the meal, in discussion with Rouen-Rouvray Rotary President Jean-Marc and Immediate past president Marie, we learned that Rouen-Rouvray Rotary Club wished to form a twinning relationship with our Club.
We went on to agree the basis on which to move forward:
• Visits to take place on alternate years starting with Rouen-Rouvray to Seaford in 2018 followed by Seaford to Rouen-Rouvray in 2019
• Duration two nights
• Timing to be a weekend in September
• Hotel (or similar) accommodation arranged by hosts but paid by guests
• Hosts to pay for meals and any entry fees
• Pickup and transport provided by hosts (car parking if needed by guests).
A further visit to the old town took us to the splendid Flamboyant Gothic church of Saint-Maclou (sometimes referred to as St Malo who came to Rouen from Wales!). Associated with this church is an extraordinary cemetery/ossuary which currently houses the School of Fine Arts – perhaps not an ideal location. The more famous cathedral was our next stop where we saw the tomb of Richard the Lionheart.
After a short stroll round the narrow streets and half-timbered houses we were taken back to Dieppe to board the 18.00 ferry for another smooth crossing to Newhaven.
We thanked the hosts for their generosity and hospitality (using and fluent French and some sixty-year-old fractured French – though in fact language had not been a problem through the whole weekend) and said many sad goodbyes.


posted: Saturday, 23 September 2017

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