GUIDANCE FOR ARRANGING VISITS TO MORNANT
This leaflet has been written by the Twinning Sub Committee of Hartford Parish Council to help individuals and groups who want to make their own arrangements for visits to our twin town, Momant, near Lyon in France.
It has been compiled using pooled information from various sources. Please let us know your own experiences, so we can keep our advice up-to-date and topical.
We will be happy to provide an interpreter to help translate your correspondence where necessary. Members of the twinning committee are also available for you to "pick their brains" if you require.
Contacts on the committee include:-
|Iris Isserlis||01606 75847|
|Dorothy Craven||01606 74282|
|Shirley Harris||01606 79054|
|Anne Loader||01606 75660|
|Pat Kelsall||01606 75853|
|Tony Wilkinson||01606 77040|
The philosophy behind the twinning is not to obtain a cheap holiday in France at your hosts' expense. The idea is to make real friends and then offer reciprocal hospitality to these new friends who share the same interests as yourself.
In Mornant, thanks to the links already established since 1987, Hartfordians are not tourists but members of an extended "family." Help to strengthen these bonds even further.
Mornant is a town of around 5,000 inhabitants, situated some 20 kilometres to the South West of Lyon -a city of roughly the same size and importance as Birmingham. The villages around Mornant look to it for their facilities, and it is far more self-sufficient than Hartford. It is very old, dating, like Hartford, back to Roman times, and there are the ruins of a Roman aqueduct on the outskirts of the town. It has a mediaeval heart, which is very picturesque, but many modern buildings too.
The town council has far more powers than Hartford Parish Council, and a budget approaching two million pounds a year. Head of the council is the Mayor, who plays a very important role in the life of the community. Twinning is organised by a committee of volunteers - both councillors and interested individuals - as in Hartford.
Organisations of all sorts flourish in the area - including sports and social clubs, and cultural groups. Many have already expressed an interest in making contact with their counterparts in Hartford.
TWINNING OF CLUBS AND SOCIETIES
We suggest you follow these steps:
1. Ask the twinning committee in Hartford for a list of organisations in Mornant to see if there is one which reflects your own interests.
2. Establish the name, address and telephone number of a contact in France, such as the secretary or chairman of your chosen organisation.
3. Send this person an exploratory letter, describing your club in Hartford, detailing its membership, activities, venue and future plans. If you want to arrange a visit TO MORNANT, state the number of people interested in going and possible dates. If you want to offer hospitality IN HARTFORD, state the number of people you can accommodate (usually in your members' own homes and possible dates. BE SPECIFIC - YOU CAN WASTE AN AWFUL LOT OF TIME WITH MISUNDERSTANDINGS.
4. Appoint one of your members to co-ordinate the plans, and keep the correspondence flowing between the two organisations. Don't get bogged down - COMMUNICATE! Phone if necessary - we can help with an interpreter.
5. If you are representing a sports organisation and want to play a club from Mornant, tell them exactly what you have in mind - how many teams you expect, what ages, what standards and so on. If there is to be a special trophy, describe exactly what it is for. Don't leave their members in a position where they worry about who will be eligible to come over. Make the visit worth their while. Why not institute a perpetual trophy for which the two clubs will compete at regular intervals, alternating between venues in England and France?
6. Allow at least six months to make the arrangements for a visit. It is not possible to do such a complex transaction in a shorter time.
7. Allow at least three months to obtain group passports for children. Apply initially to the Passport Office in Liverpool. Make sure the adult members who are booked to go have valid passports.
8. Allow lots of time to make your travel arrangements. Investigate different methods of travel: coach, train, car, or air, or combinations of these.
The cheapest flights are booked months in advance by Super-Apex. There is no compensation if you miss the flight or cannot go at the last minute. At present the only route in the Summer is from London (Heathrow) to Lyon (Satalas), with the Shuttle flight connecting from London to Manchester. In the Winter months, flights are available from Manchester to Lyon.
Alternatives are Manchester to Paris (Charles de Gaulle), Paris (Orly) to Lyon (Satalas); Manchester to Paris and Paris to Lyon via the TGV high-speed train, or hire car..
If you decide to go from Hartford to Heathrow by train, leave at least an hour and a half to get from Euston to Heathrow on the Underground.
Local coach firms offer competitive prices for an all-in service from Hartford to Lyon. It takes about 22 hours to make the journey, which covers some 1,250 kilometres. Make sure your members take plenty to eat.
c) Train via the Chunnel:This route is well worth exploring as it will take you from Hartford to Lyon, via Paris. - look out for special offers.
9. Once you have decided on your method of transport and worked out the cost, ask for a NON-RETURNABLE DEPOSIT. This helps to concentrate the minds of your members and to reduce the possibility of anyone dropping out at the least minute, thus throwing your calculations into disarray.
10. Give your members the chance to pay by instalments, so that they are not faced with having to shell out a large lump sum close to the date of departure.
11. If necessary, start a special bank account just to take the exchange trip money.
12. Remind your members to obtain their E111medical insurance forms. If they are children, write a special form (specimen available if required) giving parental consent should a surgical operation or similar procedure need to be carried out at short notice in France.
13. Compose a form asking the name, age, address, religion (they may want to go to church), occupation and interests of each member on the exchange visit and send these in good time to your contact, so that he or she can arrange appropriate host families. Ask them for details of the hosts, so that correspondence can be started BEFORE the visit, making the hosts and visitors feel that they are not complete strangers. A photograph accompanying the form also helps to break the ice.
14. Take out special insurance to cover your members while they are on their visit. The twinning committee recommends the deal offered by Town and Village Twinning Insurance, 108 Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3L .
15. It is a nice gesture to take a present for the host club from your own organisation. Presents to your host families are also appreciated.
16. If you are the hosts for a visit from Mornant:
a) Make sure you have enough beds to offer the party!
b) Arrange a programme of events and tell your guests in advance roughly what you have planned. They will want to decide mundane things like what sort of clothes to bring with them.
c) Lay on a trip round the village for your guests.
d) Arrange at least one social meeting where the French can meet as many of your members and other villagers as possible. An invitation to the twinning committee would be helpful.
e) Build some time for relaxation into your programme. Remember that your guests will be tired, suffering a little from culture-shock and keen to learn about ordinary life in England.
f) Keep in touch with the Hartford twinning committee, who will be pleased to help you where possible. Tell them what goes well and what doesn't work, so that others can learn from your experiences.
17. If you have been to France, write immediately on behalf of the club to thank your hosts, and reiterate your own invitation for them to come to Hartford. Keep the link going.
18. Write a report about the visit for "Hartford News."
The Twinning Committee secretary may be able to arrange this for you. Once you have established a contact, describe your house, its facilities and situation within the village.
When you go to France, leave behind for your guests:
a) The names of the neighbours
b) A list of useful numbers
c) A list of possible places to visit
d) Instructions on working your household appliances
e) A little welcoming touch like flowers or a bottle of wine
Brief the neighbours, and the twinning committee, so that the guests from Mornant will be made welcome by the community as a whole.
INDIVIDUAL AND FAMILY EXCHANGES
Contact the Twining Committee. Exchange as many personal details as possible, together with photographs, and don't forget to ask if your guests have any special needs - are they vegetarian, do they want to go to a particular church while they are here, do they have any medical needs?
Don't forget that, although it's hard work, having a whole family to stay is great fun, especially if you have already made friends via the children's exchange. Some of the best holidays are spent in this way - the guest family (in France or England) has on-the-spot interpreters, is absorbed immediately into the host country without feeling like a tourist, and can rely on the hosts' local knowledge so they visit the most interesting places, shop at the best shops and eat at the best restaurants. It's a way of making friends for life.
AU PAIR ARRANGEMENTS
If you want an au pair girl (or want to be one) it's vital to be specific about what is expected. Will the girl work in the house, look after the children (how old are they) and receive pocket-money? State exactly how long she will stay, work out who will pay her fare and find out about any special religious or medical needs. Don't let yourself be woolly so that you get into the position where you are playing host to a girl who, through no fault of her own, thinks she is on some kind of holiday with no domestic duties. Sort everything out FIRST.
The current rate for a paying guest is £65 a week. The host would be expected to meet the guest at the airport or station, take them out several times a week, and provide full board and laundry.
FAMILIES CALLING IN AT MORNANT
Many Hartford families, on holiday in France, have expressed an interest in calling in at Mornant for a day or two.
We suggest that you write to the Town Hall (Mairie) beforehand to say that you are coming, and then pop in when you get there to introduce yourself. (The Mairie is closed on Thursday afternoons, by the way). The committee in Hartford will provide a translator if you need help with a letter. The Mornantais will be very pleased to see you, and may delegate someone to say "hello" officially.
We recommend the Hotel de la Poste, in the town centre, which is closed on Sunday evenings and Mondays. It is listed in the Michelin Guide. The facilities are simple and comfortable and rooms are available with an ensuite bathroom, or a shower and w.c.. (Telephone 04.78.44.00.40).
CAMPING AND CARAVAN SITES
In Mornant itself, the municipal camp-site, "Bourgchanin", is open from May 1 to September 30. There are about 25 emplacements on an attractive site beside a small river. A park, swimming pool and fishing are available nearby. (Telephone 04.78.44.16.47).
At Sainte-Catherine, there is a municipal camp-site, "Le Chatelard", at an altitude of 800m. There are three camping areas in terraces with a view over the Alps and the "Pilat." Horse-drawn carriages, fishing and a wooded park are all available nearby. (Telephone 04.78.81.80.60).
Hartford Parish Council is happy to encourage twinning in every way, but cannot spend the ratepayers' money helping groups or individuals to go to Mornant. However, there may be sources of finance for organised groups. Be prepared to pay all the costs yourselves, but try to obtain grants from the Sports CounciI, the British Council, the EEC, or local businesses - it's worth a begging letter!