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Chorleywood Twinning Association

Next twinning event for your diary:  "Play Pétanque" : Chorleywood, 26th August 2019, Bank Holiday Monday, at 3.30pm  £5 per person (kids go free).  All are welcome - please contact Richard Foster: or Caroline Bartlett:

Come and play French boules, make new friends, brush up on your French and join us for food and refreshments.

Soon to be announced:  Raclette Evening (later in the year).


Since 1997, Chorleywood has been twinned with Dardilly, a town/large village located on the edge of the countryside, about 5 miles to the north west of Lyon in France, just south of the famous Beaujolais wine-growing area.

The Twinning Association exists to encourage and organise links between Chorleywood and Dardilly. It has operated without any regular external funding so its costs have been covered by membership subscriptions and fund-raising events such as quizzes an gastronomic evenings.

The Association’s main activity is to arrange exchange visits in which groups of families, couples and individuals from Chorleywood visit Dardilly, and vice versa. Visitors stay with local families in the host town and efforts are made to ensure that host families and their guests are likely to have something in common, taking into account ages of children, profession, interests, etc. 

It is not necessary to both host, and visit; in both towns there are people who are not in a position to do both, but they still enjoy participating in one or the other, or just in the local social activities or in the Conversation Groups.  

There have also been exchanges between choirs from the two towns including the most recent in April 2019.  You can see some pictures further down this page.

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Dardilly is a town with some similarities to Chorleywood.  Largely residential, it is in pleasant rolling farmland about 5 miles to the north-west of the city of Lyon. The Beaujolais wine growing area is immediately to the north, whilst the French Alps are 60-70 miles to the east.

There are two churches at opposite ends of the town around which are grouped pleasant local shops, restaurants and, on Fridays, a market. There is an out-of –town shopping centre nearby, complete with hypermarket.


Lyon is France’s second city. Located at the junction of two great rivers, the Rhone and the Saone, it has been a busy commercial centre since before the Romans arrived. Today it is a buzzing university city with a wide range of tourist, cultural and entertainment activities to offer. It is also generally considered to be the gastronomic capital of France.

Travel between Chorleywood and Dardilly

Flying from Heathrow or Luton to Lyon, and taking the ‘Rhônexpress’ or shuttle buses into the city provides a simple and cheap method of transport. 

If you prefer trains (or want to be more environmentally friendly) take the Eurostar from St Pancras to Lille, change platforms and pick up the TGV to Lyon. This takes about 5 hours and goes via Disneyland Paris, if you would like to stop there too. (There is now a through train, stopping at Lyon, which continues to Provence, if you want to extend your stay in France.) You can also go via Paris, arriving at Gare du Nord and leaving from Gare de Lyon; the underground route between the two stations is well sign-posted and is amazingly quick. 

Dardilly is close to the main A6 autoroute and can be reached in about 7 hours driving from Calais. (Being able to load the car with a few cases of Beaujolais at French prices may make up for those extra hours at the wheel!)

Why get involved with twinning?

There are lots of possible reasons, for example:

Because you approve of the idea of building bridges between different nationalities.
For the opportunities to use/learn the French language in real-life situations, especially living in a French family.
Because you admire French style and/or culture.
To be able to base opinions on the pros and cons of European integration on some real knowledge of what makes at least one other European nation tick.
Because you will get a buzz out of showing off our own country to foreign visitors.
To broaden your horizons and/or those of your children.
To help your children with their school French, Geography and maybe History, too.
The opportunity for holidays in an attractive part of France, with help from local people on what to see and do.
To sample French food and wine that we maybe wouldn’t find as ordinary tourists.
To meet some really nice people.
To make friends you can visit en route to and from holidays in other parts of Europe.
To show the French that not all the British are Europhobes or football hooligans and that we don’t live on fish and chips, custard and warm beer!
Because it’s fun!

What happens on the exchange visits?

Before the visit, visitors are matched up with a host family. If they have previously taken part in an exchange visit, the host family will usually be the one they have already met as hosts or visitors. If they are “first timers” the committees in each town will try to match them with a similar family, taking into account age, children profession etc.

Arrangements are usually made to meet visitors when they arrive at the station, airport or coach terminal and to help everyone, including those arriving by car, to meet up with their hosts.

Visits usually last about five days. The host town arranges a programme of events such as outings to places of interest, shopping trips etc. Programmes attempt to cater for all age ranges present. There is also free time for guests and their hosts to “do their own thing”. There is usually a big party/soirée for hosts, visitors and other resident members.

Visitors normally pay for their own travel, entry to attractions, meals in restaurants etc. It is not necessary for visitors or their hosts to join in all the events on the programme. (You can still host if you are working or if your children are in school.)

Host families and the organising committee in Dardilly are very welcoming and do their best to ensure that we have a wonderful time when we visit them. We aim to do the same, when the Dardillois visit us. 

The most recent visit was between 13th and 17th April.

A group from Dardilly visited Chorleywood between the 13th and 17th April 2019

Chorleywood families were delighted to welcome their visitors from Dardilly which included six families with teenagers.

The varied programme of visits - Harry Potter Studios, Blenheim Palace, Frogmore Paper Mill and the Postal Museum - ensured that all ages were catered for.

The social highlight was a soiree at West Clayton Farm giving the hosts and their guests a chance to share a meal and enjoy a relaxed evening together.

The lively atmosphere at the Stag pub on the last night was evidence of the success of the visit.  

Chorleywood Twinning Association stall at Village Day 2019

The Twinning Association attracted lots of visitors to its stall, many of them interested in our French Conversation sessions held Mon eves and some Tues afternoons. (Or perhaps the real attraction was the free glass of wine!) 
There were lots of photos on display of the fun we had when our friends from Dardilly visited Chorleywood in April and also of the June 2019 trip to Dardilly for their Fȇte de l'Amitié (a twinning jamboree for all their twinned towns in Germany, Italy, UK and Mauritania).

Do you need to speak French?

No, some of our members don’t, but they still enjoy the exchange visits. However, it’s quite likely that you will learn some, if you join us! However, you might like to consider joining one of the French Conversation groups ...

These meet on Monday evenings roughly fortnightly during term-time, and on the second Tuesday afternoon of each month. The standard of participants varies from beginners, to people with language degrees, so there is something for everyone! Both groups are led by a fluent French speaker. We meet in members’ homes but don’t be put off if you don’t have somewhere large enough to host – we have enough venues available.

Please contact Ruth Evans (448268) for this term’s schedule.

Officers of the Association

Chair:           Caroline Bartlett      
Treasurer:     Anne Sanders
Secretary:     Richard Foster
Others:         Gaye Daniels, Joss Begue, Patricia Ellingham

Interested in joining?

Contact our Membership Secretary, Richard Foster, at:

28 South Road, Chorleywood WD3 5AR
Tel: 01923 283655

Annual subscription rates are:

Family    £10
Individual £5