Chamalières have been associated with Geretsried for 40 years. Around 60 people from Geretsried travelled by bus to their twin city for the big celebration.
Chamalières/Geretsried – Getting to know other cultures, experiencing different lifestyles, learning to understand other ways of thinking: these are essential elements in town twinning. And in this respect, the trip to Chamalières was extraordinarily instructive for the approximately 60 Geretsried residents who had accepted the invitation of the French twin city to celebrate its 40th anniversary.
Anyone who was there on the Whitsun weekend now knows, for example, why the French spend so much time on food: because they dance between the individual courses. In any case, chanteur Alain Chanone, whose life story once served as the basis for the film Chanson d'Amour with Gerard Depardieu, needed little longer than the branches for the appetizer, a "trilogy of fois gras", with his chansons and pop songs, until the first couples began to dance between the tables. This continued after each course – after pike perch on ravioli and leek fondue, after beef chuck (beef in wine sauce) and a plate of cheese duo, walnut bread and fruit skewer. It didn't take long for the German guests to venture onto the dance floor as well.
A dinner with a cabaret show to kick things off: Geretsried visits the twin town of Chamalières+
Lightly dressed: A touch of Moulin Rouge wafted around the five-course diner with cabaret interlude.
© Rudi Stallein
The dinner with cabaret show including jugglers, acrobats and a kind of Moulin Rouge en miniature including scantily clad dancers in the "Garden Palace" of Orcet was a culinary and entertaining highlight of the anniversary program. The organizers in Chamalières had been preparing for this for a year, as Mayor Louis Giscard d'Estaing reported.
On July 30, 1983, the then mayors Claude Wolff and Hans Schneider signed the charter in Geretsried, with which the friendship between their cities had been fixed in writing. On October 1 of the same year, they repeated the ceremony in Chamalières. Since then, there has been a lively exchange between the citizens of both cities, which was only briefly interrupted by the Corona pandemic.
You can read the latest news from Geretsried here.
On the occasion of the 40th anniversary, the French partners had put in a lot of effort to put together a fitting program. Large billboards announced the four-day festival in the city, which was celebrated with concerts, dance performances and a truffade (more on that later). Included in the program was the jazz band of the Geretsried Music School, who opened the festive season with a jam session on the Place de Geretsried on Thursday evening with the musicians of the Chamalières Music School. The musical highlight was the "Symphony Concert Harmonie Jazz" with both music schools and the Orchestre d'Harmonie de Chamalières.+
Standing in line for a truffade: Visitors put up with long waiting times for the speciality from Auvergne.
© Rudi Stallein
The concert was a special moment for Till Oberländer, who presented his "Rhapsody 2022", written last year, in front of an audience of around 400 people after its premiere in the auditorium of Geretsried Middle School. "Great", the amateur composer from Königsdorf found the performance with a large orchestra, which was met with much applause. "We've been very well received here and they're really, really good musicians."
The excursion to the "Volcan de Lemptegy" was exciting and instructive at the same time. Chamalières is located at the foot of the Puy de Dôme, a 1465 meter high, extinct volcano, in the middle of the World Heritage Site "Chaîne des Puys", formed by 80 volcanic peaks and craters, which stretches over 30 kilometers. Formed around 30,000 years ago, the Lemptegy volcano was used as a quarry for decades, and today visitors walk or take the electric train into the interior of the earth.
First a downpour, then fireworks – Chamalières is "pretty cool"
"I liked the fact that I now got an impression of the surroundings of Chamalières," said Edda Meyndt, who had traveled to the partnership party by motorcycle with her husband Rainer and a couple of friends. "I was here for the first time in 2019, with the adult dance group of the Transylvanian Saxons. It was just really good for me at the time," said the 49-year-old, explaining why she really wanted to go back to Chamalières. She thought it was "pretty cool" this time as well. Especially the last evening will be remembered for a long time by the Geretsrieder.+
The jazz musicians of the music schools from both cities had a lot of fun performing on the Place de Geretsried.
© Rudi Stallein
There was a special lesson in the French way of life at the city festival. A long queue of people formed in front of the fenced fairground. Without grumbling, men, women and children queued for up to an hour to get their "truffade", a specialty from Auvergne, pressed into their hands in a cardboard bowl: a potato and cheese dish, topped with a bratwurst. On this evening, for many visitors there was only the vegetarian version – without bratwurst – because the chef had not expected such a rush of visitors.
While the band pulled the audience to dance in front of the stage with a colorful mix of rock and pop music, the sky suddenly turned black like the lava rock of the Lemptegy. The downpour was inevitable. The visitors took refuge under a hall-like canopy. The band calmly played their piece to the end, then pulled white tarpaulins over the entire equipment in no time at all. Despite the downpour, the party really started. Band leader Laure Forestier grabbed her accordion, climbed onto a table and squeezed one mood maker after another out of her instrument, from "Greek Wine" to "Rosamunde". The mayors of Geretsried and Nickelsdorf danced in the front row, wet with sweat, until the last note. "Awesome, great, that's the highlight of this trip," said Edda Meyndt, as the rain improvisation slowly faded away because Mayor Giscard d'Estaing drummed to leave. There was not much time left until the anniversary fireworks.
By the way: Everything from the region can also be found in our regular Wolfratshausen-Geretsried newsletter.