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. 

Cirencester has a long history of twinning links, but in recent years activity has slowed. Under the leadership of a small, newly formed committee the Cirencester Twinning Association is looking to re-establish, and build strong links with our friendship towns once again.

There are many drivers of interest in twinning and the Association will offer different things to different members. But the overarching goal is to have an active link between Cirencester and its partners Itzehoe, St Genis Laval and La Couronne.  This will include cultural visits abroad with reciprocal hostings and opportunities to share experiences amongst local people with an international interest. There are also possibilities such as hosting work experience placements, developing links between clubs and societies and language learning.


For more information and the latest news visit the Facebook page and the Twinning Association website.


Who can get involved?

Anyone who likes travelling and making friends !  Please contact us if you would enjoy visiting France or Germany. E-mail:
The Cirencester Twinning Association works in co-operation with Cirencester Town Council.


General Information about St-Genis-Laval 

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).

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.

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.

For further information about Itzehoe and St-Genis-Laval please visit and