Visits to Meylan took place in
- 2000: Sixty people travelled from Waterloo to Grenoble,via Lille by Eurostar and TGV. After a welcome at the Mairie we were dispersed to host families. The next day we visited Clos des Capucins, a 17th Century Abbey set in 2 hectares of park which overlooks the town of Meylan. After meeting some workers on the allotment gardens based there we went inside for lunch. During our stay we also walked the Meylan Grande Traversée, a green way that links a number of parks in the town. We also travelled into Grenoble to look round this historic city before taking the cable car to the Bastille with its magnificent views over Grenoble and the surrounding area. Views were also a feature of the venue chosen for the gala dinner of the trip. After completing all the formalities of signing the twinning agreements and exchanging gifts, the dinner was held in the Fort Saint Enard, perched on the top of the cliff which provides a dramatic backdrop to the town on Meylan. As the sun set, we shared a delicious meal and then some French and English folk songs. A wonderful first meeting.
- 2003: In March of 2003, 22 people travelled to Meylan. The weather was cold and bright for our visit to the community of St Antoine l’Abbaye (Vienne) where we toured an ancient abbey set up as a Benedictine community, whose monks cared for the shrine and the relics, while the Brothers cared for those suffering from the then common malady of St. Anthony’s Fire. During our stay the Mayors of Meylan and Didcot planted a tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) in one of the parks, to mark the occasion of the twinning of the two communities.
- 2005: In September of 2005 the trip to Meylan started with a visit to a distillery. The famous Chartreuse liqueur was created by Carthusian monks and the precise combination of ingredients that give the liqueur its distinctive flavour is surrounded by secrecy. Our tour covered the various stages of processing and refinement, interspersed with short films describing the sometimes turbulent history of the monastery. The afternoon was spent visiting old Grenoble including the very interesting Musée des Automates. The following day we set out for the caves of Choranche and then the beautiful riverside town of Pont en Royans where we spent a fascinating hour in the Musée des Eaux. Finally we returned to Meylan for the official naming of the Didcot Roundabout, sited at an important junction in the town.
- 2007: The group who travelled to Meylan in 2007 were treated to another varied visit programme. The first full day was spent visiting Grenoble itself, including a tour of the Palace of the parliament of Dauphiné. Unfortunately the poor weather meant that the planned trip up to the top of the Bastille had to be cancelled. The next day began with a visit to the Arc-nucleART site near Grenoble. This team, funded by government as well as charitable donations, is responsible for the conservation of archaeological and cultural artefacts, particularly organic and porous materials. We saw examples of the conservation and restoration of wood from early boats and canoes and of leather boots from the 14th century. After lunch we drove through beautiful countryside, with groves of mature walnut trees, to the commune of Vinay where we visited the newly-opened Maison du Pays de la Noix, housed in a restored drying shed. We were shown the process of harvesting and drying the walnuts and introduced to the unexpectedly large number of varieties of this crop. The visit also included some time spent with hosts and a delicious gala dinner.
- 2009: This visit in 2009 started with a beer in the sunshine. It also included an informative visit to a hydroelectric generation plant (Grand Maison) and then to nearby Bourg D’Oisans, a charming town perhaps best known to British travellers as ‘on the way to Alpe d’Huez’. There we visited the Minerals Museum. The following day we walked the Grand Traverse, the route through the linear parks of Meylan before visiting the local vineyard and having a picnic in the grounds of the Clos des Capucins.
- 2011: In 2001 a group of around 20 people were taken on a trip to the Castle of Virieu and then on to the Lac de Paladru where we had lunch in a lakeside restaurant. This was followed by a visit to the Archaeological Museum where we were able to see the artefacts dug up in excavations of settlements along the lake shore. Later that afternoon there was a chance for some boating and swimming at the lake. The next day we attended Meylan’s annual Meeting for Clubs and Associations where people can find out what activities are on offer in their town. We also spent time with our hosts.
- 2013: The 2013 visit started with quite a long drive into the mountains to the village of Beaufort to visit the cooperative producing the famous Beaufort cheese. Donning a less than flattering ‘charlotte’ (hat to cover the hair) we were told about how the production of this alpine cheese was revived in the 1960s and gained appellation d’origine contrôlée status in 1968. The visit ended with a tasting of the cheese and a local wine before we set out to discover the village itself. After lunch we drove on to the hydroelectric dam at Roselend (Savoie) from where we were able to see Mont Blanc. This visit was particularly special as, in addition to the adults, there was a party of school children from Ladygrove Park school in Didcot on their first trip to Ecole des Bealieres, Meylan, accompanied by some of their teachers. There was time during the visit to go out with our host families, taking a walk in the mountains, attending the nearby Gala of Flying, or lunching on the Bastille overlooking Grenoble. The gala dinner ended with dancing.