Ten friends of the twinning visited Mornant in July in response to an invitation by the Mornant twinning committee to a weekend of events based round the Vienne Jazz Festival. Arriving early evening on Friday 11th July we settled in with our host families.

Saturday was spent in Vienne, about 12 miles from Mornant. Vienne has many Roman remains with a museum incorporated into the main excavated site. We met at the museum in the morning and were treated to a tour of the excavations and the museum with our own guide. After a superb lunch in the museum restaurant, we were taken on a guided tour of the town and shown the main points of historical interest. After an hour or two at our leisure (largely spent with cold drinks at a café table shaded by trees from the very hot sun!) we were issued with picnic evening meals and special plastic cushions. We then went to the venue for the evening’s concert, arriving an hour before the performance so that we had time to eat the picnic meal. At this point the reason for the cushions became clear. We were in a Roman amphitheatre and sitting directly on the stone “steps”. The concert was not to everyone’s taste; many different kinds of jazz had been represented on different days of the festival but on the evening of our visit it was “New York Underground”. This was more like pop than jazz and the main characteristics were lots of percussion and very high volume. However, all agreed that it had been an interesting experience.

On the Sunday morning there was a reception at the mairie (town hall) with speeches and the exchange of gifts. After lunch with our hosts, the afternoon was free before an evening barbecue followed by a walk into the village to watch the Bastille holiday fireworks. This was a wonderful display and included a special Hartford-Mornant montage.

Monday was Bastille Day, a major French holiday, and we were all taken to lunch at a delightful restaurant in the mountains and that evening one of the host families invited us all to a light (by Mornant standards but still substantial!) meal.


 French hosts and their guests enjoying the Bastille Day lunch.

On Tuesday morning we drove away wondering how to shed the extra weight we had put on over this wonderful weekend.

Mike Isserlis

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