Welcome to our summer newsletter! Our main news in June was the visit of six Bristol University students to teach in Bordeaux schools for a couple of weeks. We’ve been arranging visits by Bordeaux students to Bristol schools for many years, so it it felt right to organise a return trip.
By the purest of co-incidences, the Fete du Vin was on and Helen and I, together with a few other BBP members, happened to be in Bordeaux at the same time. So we got to share a few experiences, not least receptions at the Association Bordeaux Bristol and at the Hotel de Ville. And a few conversations. The stories that I heard from the students were of warm welcomes from host families and schools, and of the unexpected differences between schools in France and the UK. Even short visits like this exchange open new perspectives.
One strange sight awaiting our students, following the March riots against increasing the pension age, were the temporary front doors at the Hotel de Ville. Exact crafted replacements are under preparation in the workshop, as the notice on the current blue plywood doors, from Mayor Hurmic, states. Photo below. It was a relief to see that Bordeaux was largely spared the protests a few weeks ago.
The weather for the visit was kind, often hot but not a furnace. Bordeaux was at its best for both the students and the wine festival. The hollyhocks which grow in those inhospitable gaps between houses and pavements were in full flower.
A very impressive sight was the drone display on a couple of Fete du Vin evenings. Again photo below. Clever stuff indeed, and perhaps a harbinger of fewer big firework displays in mid summer as the world works towards better air quality.
But, as your roving reporter for this newsletter, can I conclude with thanks to all who worked hard to make the exchange possible – Bristol University, the Association Bordeaux Bristol, my colleague Mark Atherton, and not least the students themselves.
Mark Packham, for
The Bristol Bordeaux Partnership