King's Somborne is twinned with St Paul du Vernay, a village in the Department of Calvados in Normandy. St Paul is situated about 10 km from Bayeux, home of the famous tapestry and about 20km from the D Day landing beach of Arromanches. St Paul is a typical Normandy village and, like King's Somborne, has a mixed population. The majority are local people, however, who have lived there for generations and still work on the land, while there are also quite a few newcomers from outside.
The twinning group visits St Paul every other year and in the intervening year they come over here. The visits last a week-end, leaving on Friday and returning on Sunday. We always receive a warm welcome and are taken on a group visit to a place of local interest on the Saturday. We usually travel from Portsmouth to Caen (Ouistreham) and, if not travelling by car, are met by our hosts at the ferry terminal. During the intervening year when they visit us, we return the hospitality by meeting them in Portsmouth, providing accommodation and taking them on a group visit on the Saturday, followed by a reception in the village hall during the evening.
The Twinning Association started about 15 years ago and during that time many friendships have been made and interesting places visited on both sides of the Channel. These visits are both great fun and educational, especially for those people interested in discovering the real France.
It is not essential to speak French as much of the time is spent in group activities and there is usually someone on hand to interpret. New members (adults and children) are most welcome.