Cirencester has a long tradition of twinning and friendship with the towns of Itzehoe, near Hamburg, Germany and St-Genis-Laval, a suburb of Lyon, France. Throughout the year various exchange visits take place and from time to time formal anniversary celebrations and civic receptions are held.
Representatives from Cirencester travelled to Itzehoe in the Spring to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the German town’s twinning with La Couronne in France and the actual 775th anniversary of the founding of Itzehoe. For more details of the visit and the packed itinerary provided please refer to the latest Twinning Newsletter now available – see contact below.
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CIRENCESTER & ST GENIS LAVAL FRIENDSHIP LINKS
This friendship link enabled some pupils from Saint Genis Laval to come to Cirencester and visit the area.
Then, in 2010, representatives of Cirencester town council travelled to Saint Genis Laval to celebrate the friendship link and were joined by a group of pupils from Deer Park School who were able to participate and represent Cirencester in the “Biennale de la danse”, a big parade of amateur dancers and musicians.
Between 2011 and 2013, pupils from Deer Park School, the College d’Aubarede in Saint Genis Laval, and two other schools from Holland and Sweden, were very much involved in a European project, called the Comenius project, based on the urban art in the different countries. It allowed these pupils to discover other cultures and open their minds.
Saint Genis Laval is a town of 20,000 inhabitants in the south west of France and is part of the Great Lyons.
Although Saint Genis Laval is close to a big city – Lyons - it is also near to the countryside, where there are many walks to discover the Rhone Alps region.
Short history of the town
The first time Saint Genis Laval was mentioned was in 807, when an archbishop made a donation to Saint Genis Laval’s hospital. Then in 984, talks began about Saint Genis Laval’s parish becoming a part of Lyons’ archbishop’s properties. But then, the archbishop offered Saint Genis Laval to the Saint Jean canons who built the Church and fortified the town during the 13 centuries. But in November 1434, the town was occupied by people of Burgandy.
During the middle of the 19th century some wealthy families went to settle down in Saint Genis Laval.
Many places have to be seen if you’re passing through Saint Genis Laval:
The Beauregard Park is historical; you can see some of the ruins of the Beauregard Castle but this park is mostly appreciated for its vast property, and its Orangery. You can also find a sports complex in this park.
On the upper part of the town an observatory was built in 1887, and is now open to visitors on some occasions.
Saint Genis Laval is sadly known for its stronghold which was the scene of a massacre of 120 people in 1944, victims of the Nazis.
The Church - situated in the very centre of the town - was reconstructed in 1781 and then extended and renovated in 1844. You can admire stained glass windows, statues and paintings.
The old Town and some other historical buildings, like the music school, or the Villa Chapuis (previous town council) contribute to the beauty of this town. The music school, in a park in the town centre, is a very beautiful building called “Maison des champs” (country house).
Fete des lumières:
On the 8th of December, to thank the Virgin Mary for having saved Lyons from the plague in 1643, the city celebrates the very famous “fete des lumières” (lights festival). An old tradition is to put light lamps onto the windows; you can also admire some wonderful floodlit fronts on the most famous buildings. This event, which lasts 4 nights nowadays, attracts thousands of tourists. Although the main attractions are in the city of Lyons, Saint Genis does celebrate this day too. You can see music bands, a floodlighting in the front of the church, and have a walk around the lively streets.
On the 21st of June, to celebrate the summer, it is music day, all over France. For this occasion, the Beauregard Park opens its doors for a very festal night. Musicians from the Saint Genis Laval’s music school and bands perform; you can enjoy all kind of music during this very popular festival.
Since Middle-ages, the town has hosted a trees fair around the 26th of November: Here you can find various products, like local products, clothes, accessories, and trees of course.
In May, around the 10th, Saint Genis Laval organizes the Europe Day, with traditional music and dances. The town often plays for this occasion, with people coming from its twinned towns.
All the year round, the Espace Culturel -auditorium of the town- offers a large programme of shows of all kinds: music, dance, theatre, circus – and also a cinema.
A library offers books and magazines.
The dance biennial show:
Every two years, Lyons and its surroundings organize the dance biennial, with a large parade of dancers musicians and floats, gathering together all the towns in the suburb of Lyons. It takes place in the most famous street of Lyons: Rue de la République, in September.
The town of Saint Genis Laval has 3 markets during the week. On Wednesday morning you can find an organic market in the centre featuring solely local producers. On Friday morning, another market is set in the centre, where you can find vegetables, fruits, bread, clothes, flowers etc. Finally, on Tuesday morning, there is the same kind of varied market in the Collonges – an area in the south of Saint Genis Laval.
There is a shopping centre in the Barolles area where there you can find a supermarket and many varied shops, but there are also a lot of corner shops in the town centre (bakeries, butchers, press store, pharmacies…).
Places to visit in surroundings area
Of course, Lyons is a very beautiful city, notably the Place Bellecour, the biggest place in Europe; the Fourvière Basilica, from where you can have an impressive overview of the entire Town; the old Lyons, called Saint Jean and its narrows alleyways and traboules; the Opera House and other very nice areas like Croix Rousse, built on a hill, or the Rhone or Saone quays. On Sundays, you can take a walk in the craft market, along the Saone quays.
There are also many very interesting museums in Lyons, like the Fine Arts Museum, or the Contemporary Art museum.
You can take a bus from Saint Genis Laval which takes you to the very centre of Lyons in less than 30 minutes (Website of the bus company: http://tcl.fr/en).
From Saint Genis Laval, you’re not very far from the Beaujolais region, well known for its wine, and the Alps a very nice massif in summer, as well as in winter for skiing.
- Accor Hotel: 165 route de Vourles 69230 Saint Genis Laval / 00338 92 68 31 24
- Hotel Kyriad: 179 route de Vourles 69230 Saint Genis Laval / 00334 78 56 78 04
- La clé des artistes: Mr and Mrs Lacerre / 17 chemin de Moly, 69230 Saint Genis Laval/ firstname.lastname@example.org / Mob: 00336 11 65 50 20 / http://www.gite-saint-genis-laval.com/
- L’oustal de Rose: Mrs Anne Chabidon / 31 avenue des Pépinières, 69230 Saint Genis Laval / email@example.com / Tel: 00334 78 56 81 92; Mob: 00336 84 65 01 55 / http://loustalderose.pagesperso-orange.fr
For any further information you can visit the website:
Or contact the town council:
Address: 106 avenue Georges Clemenceau BP 80
69565 Saint Genis Laval Cedex
Tel: 0033 4 78 86 82 00
You can also visit the Lyon tourism office website: http://www.en.lyon-france.com/