Starting with Beausoleil in 1965, the Rotary Clubs of Billericay and Basildon have been very keen to foment fellowship and maintain international links with other European Rotary Clubs, including Italy (Alba) and Sweden (Karlshamn) in more recent years. Following the highly successful 2013 visit of Beausoleil, Karlshamn and Alba Rotarians to us, it was Beausoleil’s turn to host this year.
We were all based in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, between Monaco and the Italian border, Billericay and Basildon clubs in the Hotel Victoria in a beautiful location 30 yards from the beach, and the Swedish Rotarians in a hotel only two streets further back.
After a very early start (some of us having got up before 3 a.m.) members and their partners arrived safely in Nice airport where were met by Jacques Bernard, President of Beausoleil Rotary Club and his team.
After a coffee at the airport we were taken to the hotel and adjourned next door to the Fellini, an Italian restaurant next door to the hotel, for a very filling lunch. The afternoon was free to rest and recover from the early start at the hotel, to walk into Menton, or just have a swim and perhaps a drink.
In the evening, we split into threes and fours for the short journey in the cars of members of Beausoleil club to the local St. Louis Club for an aperitif, a game of ptanque and a meal - our first bonding event.
After the aperitif, everybody was so busy renewing friendships that we went straight to the meal, all seated on long tables to help with the mingling between groups and old friends. After the food, a huge Paella with more than enough for anybody, there was now time for the ptanque - multiple teams of three competed (with various levels of skill) and the winners were ..... Nobody seemed quite sure!
.... Finally, our exhausted travellers returned to the hotel for a good night’s sleep.
Friday saw a meandering file of Rotarians guided by the Beausoleil team walk to Carnoles train station for the two stops to Monaco. A full day included visits to the 700 year old Sainte-Dvote Church dedicated to Monaco’s Patron Saint, and then a trip on Monaco's “Little Train” - a sort of “Hop-On, Hop-Off” facility without the “Hop-Off” - for an enjoyable trip around the best sights of Monaco - the Harbour, the Casino, the Palace and the Cathedral, etc.
Then a very pleasant walk through the St. Martin Gardens, enhanced by views of the shore and small harbour, before walking up to visit the cathedral with the graves of Prince Rainier and Princess Grace. Finally, a wander through the narrow streets of the old town back to the Palace.
Lunch was at “Tony’s” restaurant, a “stones throw” from the Palace Square, and some of us adjourned there for a quick drink (not cheap at 6.50 a pint!!) whilst others wandered the lanes. Good food and wine, and more than enough of each awaited us there.
Then back by bus and train to the hotel. The Program said we had a free afternoon, but in France, these seem to start at 5 pm!
That evening was another highspot of the visit, when visiting members were allocated to individual members of Beausoleil club who hosted them in their homes for dinner. A chance to renew family links from previous trips for some, or make new friends for others.
No rest for the ... You know what I mean! Saturday, and a coach along the Autoroute to Nice. After a drive along the “Promenade des Anglais” we were on foot through the old town led by an English speaking guide.
It was so enjoyable to wander around the old town, drinking in the atmosphere and the quaint streets, even if the guide had difficulties making herself heard to such a large group. Oh for more hours in the day to explore the museums, art galleries & shops!
Lunch was in “La Maison de Marie”, a lovely cool restaurant away from the heat nad bustle of the town, but by the time we finished it was time for the coach journey back to the hotel along the coastal route. What a delight! Tremendous views, vertiginous drops, precarious buildings, huge motor yachts and large liners to delight the eyes. Unforgettable!
Another "free afternoon" starting at 5 p.m. - at the hotel, some retreated inside for a drink and a doze in the cool, while others (Patrick, Roger, Malcolm, James and wives) braved a swim in the Mediterranean. (Photo censored!)
That evening was the Gala Dinner for all the clubs, dressed up to the nines we were transported in Beausoleil club members’ cars in groups of 2 or 3, to the Restaurant St. Benoit in Monaco.
What a great evening. A fantastic position overlooking Monaco harbour and with views of the Palace lit up at night.
Then a massive display of Fireworks, rounded off by the yachts in the harbour all sounding their horns! And that was just the “extras”! It was so good to mingle with the other Rotarians, and to sit down for a most delicious food and drink, great conversation and, of course, the obligatory speeches and exchanges of presents between all the six club presidents.
President Mike Ginn made a very well received speech in French.
What a great evening - everybody dressed up - beautiful restaurant, great food, good service and the best of company. Everybody was unversal in their praise for the effort and organization by our colleagues in the Rotary Club of Beausoleil, who had laid on such a well-organized and interesting Program.
Sunday dawned far too soon. We packed and checked out ready for our return to England. While the Presidents and club Officers met for a working meeting, most of us had a short swim, a walk along the beach, or rested in the cool before the short walk to “l’Hippocampe”.for a great buffet lunch. What a spread! What desserts!
Finally back to the hotel, a coach ride to the airport and a last drink in France before boarding our plane for the trip home.
Reminiscing about the trip after their return, Billericay club members remarked on the success of the trip and look forward to next year's visit to Karlshamn.
more We have received an invitation from the Rotary Club of Karlshamn for the Double Triangular visit to take place September 8-11, 2022.
more We all appreciated the opportunity to “meet” with members from our sister clubs over Zoom after such a long break.
more President Peter and Member Patrick Rothon completed a ZOOM presentation on the Rotary Club of Billericay Soapbox Derby to Belmont Rotary Club near Melbourne, Australia.
more Our twinned clubs in Sweden, Italy and France are locked down like the UK, but are still busy supporting their members and their local community. Here France reports on life under lockdown in France.
more Our twinned clubs in Sweden, Italy and France are locked down like the UK, but are still busy supporting their members and their local community. Here Italy reports on life under lockdown in Italy.
more Our twinned clubs in Sweden, Italy and France are locked down like the UK, but are still busy supporting their members and their local community. Here Sweden reports on life under lockdown in Sweden.
more Highspot of the Rotary Year, the annual twinning visit to one of our linked clubs in Mainland Europe is delayed but international web meetings planned.
more Rotary principles in action- International Fellowship and co-operation on charitable projects with the Rotary Club of Basildon and four Rotary Clubs in Europe - Beausoleil (France), Alba (Italy), Ovada (Italy), and Karlshamn (Sweden).
more It’s time again for the forthcoming double triangular reunion of Rotarians, so called because it brings together Members from six different Rotary Clubs in four countries.
more Rotary principles at work - International Fellowship with the Rotary Club of Basildon and four Rotary Clubs in Europe - Beausoleil (France), Alba (Italy), Ovada (Italy), and Karlshamn (Sweden).
more Double Triangular Reunion of British, French, Italian and Swedish Rotary clubs
more Our annual international Rotary reunion of six clubs from the UK, Italy, France and Sweden took place in Alba, Northern Italy in September 2016
more As part of the international fellowship with other Rotary Clubs, we send our newsletter to all our "twinned" clubs. In return, they send their latest news bulletins to us.
more International Rotary Fellowship at a "Double Triangular" Rotary Meeting - six clubs (Basildon, Billericay - UK; Alba, Ovada - Italy; Beausoleil - France) met in Sweden hosted by Karlshamn Rotary Club
more It's 2015 and time for our Fellowship trip to Karlshamn, Sweden.
more A major feature of the twinning visits between our clubs is the hosting of visiting club members and their wives by individual Beausoleil Club members at their homes.
more Everybody enjoyed a wonderful programme of social and historical events when Billericay Rotary Club hosted a reciprocal visit from its twinning clubs in Europe - Beausoleil (France), Alba (Italy), and Karlshamn (Sweden), from September 12-15.
more 2012 sees the turn of the Rotary club of Alba to host its twinned clubs of Billericay, Basildon and Beausoleil (France) for a programm of events and fellowship.
more A great day visiting the Houses of Parliament with fellow Rotarians from Italy, Sweden and France, organised by Basildon Rotary Club.
back We have had international links with other Rotary Clubs in Europe since the mid 1960s. Starting with Beausoleil in 1965 these links have grown to encompass Italy (Alba), Sweden (Karlshamn) and Italy (Ovada Del Centenario) in more recent years.