The 2010 'Université des Nations' in Mâcon

A mixed group of English, Germans, Italians and one American spent a week in Mâcon in July improving their French. Housed in the 'centre omnisport de Mâcon' the group spent 6 mornings receiving instruction. There were two classes, one for beginners and one for more advanced French speakers. Although the lessons were 3 hours long, with a short break, the skill of the teachers made the time pass quickly.

The course accomodation was in easy reach of Mâcon town centre. This made it easy on free afternoons and in the evenings after dinner to stroll down into the town itself. There is a particularly attractive quay area alongside the Saone and during several evenings there were performances of various kinds including a small circus.

The Twinning Committee had organised interesting trips out into the surrounding area. The week started with a visit to a local wine cooperative producing and marketing wine from the Vinzelles Loché area. The next visit was to the Dombes region to the Parc des Oiseax to see their bird collection and an amazing choreographed display of birds in flight.

Cluny Abbey, originally the largest church outside Rome, was most impressive whilst, on a smaller scale, the Musée des Planons at St-Cyr sur Menthon, gave a clear picture of country life in times gone by. Guided tours in French kept everyone on their toes.

The week began by sampling some of the best wine of the region and concluded with two magnificent evening functions where the region's wine and food were savoured to the full. On the Friday evening a reception at the Town Hall was followed by a long leisurely dinner in a typical French restaurant hosted by the Twinning Committee.

Vendredi dernier, Marie Paule Cervos, adjointe aux relations internationales et au tourisme, recevait les stagiaires des universités des nations.
27 participants dont 13 allemands, 8 italiens, 5 anglais et 1 américain avaient choisi Mâcon pour améliorer leur français durant une semaine. Cette opération, à l'initiative du comité de jumelage de Mâcon, a été menée de main de maître par sa vice-présidente Jacqueline Chevallier. Au programme : cours de français le matin dispensés par deux professeurs Mmes RUFFIN et STURTON. L'après midi : excursions dans le mâconnais et aux alentours. Les stagiaires disent avoir vécu une véritable complicité. Lorsque les séjours sont plus longs, l'apprentissage de la langue est plus efficace. Les barrières tombent et la convivialité laisse peu à peu place à l'amitié. Peu de temps avant, des Mâconnaises avaient pu mesurer les bienfaits d'une telle semaine à Crewe, ville jumelée de Grande Bretagne, pour perfectionner leur anglais.
Mâcon Infos le Mardi 27 juillet 2010.

On the Saturday the group itself organised a farewell dinner at the Maison Mâconnais des Vins in a dining room complete with restored fairground organ. After dinner the Italians provided entertainment with some impressive singing and after that those with energy to spare rounded off the evening doing the town!