In 1996, following a change of French committee members and chairman, we started
arranging additional reciprocal visits for smaller groups interested in walking and
In September ’96 the first group of 12 came over in three cars with bikes on the
car roofs. We took them on a leisurely thirty-mile cycle ride via Henfield that included
part of the old railway route to Southwater, where we enjoyed a picnic lunch by the
lake. The evening was spent entertaining our guests with a relaxing meal, and they
returned to France on the Sunday.
Since then these ‘mini-weekends’ (mainly walking) have proved extremely popular and,so
far, we have managed to fit in an ‘extra’ trip each year, alternating with the hosting/visiting
set-up of the main Exchange Visits. They tend to be smaller groups (10-20) with people
going in their own transport and sharing where possible.
In 1998 a trip to St Martin, for a walk across the bay to Mont St. Michel, proved
to be so popular that we were asked to limit the party to 25! (Including the French,
we totalled nearly 80!). In May 2010 we were invited to do this again. This was
great fun and we were lucky enough to have a sunny day even though the wind was a
We are always well entertained and treated to the true French hospitality. It’s a
wonderful way to experience real (not tourist!!) France. Also, it's a good chance
to practice any French you may know, but speaking the language is not essential.