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23rd Jul, 2017

GUEST POST: JCI Paris Twinning Weekend
by Ruthie Pinion on July 23, 2017 14:05

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JCI London member Marco Van Den Heuval recently went on a Twinning Weekend with JCI Paris! He's written up his experience so check it out below:

Recently I attended a JCI Twinning weekend in Paris, hosted by JCI Paris and their ‘Over 40s’ club (for former JCI Paris members who are not Senators). If you’ve been a JCI member for a while, then this concept of Twinning is hopefully not new to you, and may have brought you many happy memories, foreign experiences and new friendships already. Because that is what Twinning Weekends are all about!

If all the below does not sound like much more than you might do with a friend or partner on a weekend in Paris, then A) very well done!, and B) you’ll need to add to the activities the ‘layer’ of the JCI host and home hospitality, and personal guides to places tourists don’t or hardly visit, and you have a truly unique experience.

So for this Twinning I hopped on the Eurostar to Paris one Friday afternoon, met up with former JCI London’s International Director, Shafiq Mumani, and joined JCI Paris and ‘Over 40s’ members as well as JCI members from Brussels and Zurich. Rendezvous point was a rooftop bar along the Seinne to get acquainted in the joyful sunny surroundings, drinks, food, and a happy Friday atmosphere.

On Saturday morning several more people joined us for a guided tour around Palais Royale; a stunning building with hidden gems and a rich and interesting history, so close to the Louvre, and yet missed by all the tourists. Lunch was typically French: outside terrace, leisurely dining, good food and wine, enjoying the moment, company and scenery. Lunch was followed by a pleasant walk in the basking sun around Île de la Cité plus some of the best ice cream in Paris.

Dinner was magical. The setting was a lovely old restored restaurant to the west of La Défense where previously many famous ‘Impressionist’ painters gathered as captured in a painting by Renoir. More former JCI Paris members joined for an excellent dinner, drink and dance evening till the early hours.

On Sunday morning we all converged from various corners of Paris to a moored boat on the Seinne where we enjoyed a long and relaxed brunch in the sun. After an exchange of gifts (from JCI London a UK & London hamper), contact details and goodbyes it was time to make our way home. For a lucky few, an extension of the programme was offered: a sightseeing boat tour.

So on the topic of JCI home hospitality, I was hosted by a lovely couple whom I had never met before. They had no reason to host me other than the fact that I’m a JCI member and as former member they were asked to help out. And with that I was given keys to my personal apartment in La Défense. If that was not special enough, I ended up not needing most of the metro tickets I had bought, as I was offered a lift home every evening by members (sightseeing Paris by night – yeah!) and picked up from the apartment for the dinner.

I was so well looked after that the whole weekend was a smooth, relaxed and fully enjoyable experience, something a normal visit to Paris could never have achieved. With many new friends and happy memories made, I cannot wait for the next Twinning Weekend. Hopefully you will join me then too.

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