Hereford City Heritage
The Mayor’s Chain
Vierzon lies in the heart of France in the province of Berry, at the confluence of the rivers Yèvre and Cher and on the Canal de Berry. It is situated to the south of Paris, only one and three quarter-hours’ train journey away from the capital, and at the intersection of three motorways, the A10, A20 and A71.
The Canal de Berry at Vierzon
North of the town, the Forest of Vierzon merges with one of France’s largest forests, the Sologne, setting of Alain-Fournier’s romantic, atmospheric novel Le Grand Meaulnes. Nearby are many picturesque castles on the riverLoire, of which the royal hunting palace Le Château de Chambord is the largest, as well as other tourist attractions of the Loire Valley. South of the town are a number of vineyards and picturesques villages with romanesque churches, the most important being St Aignanin Brinay with its medieval frescoes depicting, among many others, the months of the year.
St Aignan and one of the frescos— this is for the month of February
Vierzon’s history dates back to before Roman times. During the wars with the English it was captured by Richard the Lionheart in 1196. However, its main development started with the building of the first ironworks in 1779, to which were later added potteries and smelting industries. The famous Porcelaine de Limoges originated in this area.
Historic buildings, such as the remnants of the medieval walls and the ancient Parish Church of Notre Dame still testify to its history.The castle, like that of Hereford, has disappeared.
The medieval watch tower with remnants of the walls The Parish Church of Notre Dame
>>Read more about Vierzon’s history
Today Vierzon is a lively city of 30,000 inhabitants, at the heart of the Pays de Vierzon with its abundance of game from the forests in the Sologne and fish from the many rivers – not forgetting the numerous wines from the surrounding vinyards (Quincy, Reuilly, etc). It offers major sporting facilities, a new theatre and arts complex and a busy street market where the visitor can sample the local wine and food, including the famous goats cheeses of Berry. >>Find out more from Vierzon’s own website
SOME MEMORABLE EVENTS
In 1992 the first contacts were established between Vierzon and Hereford,first through an informal visit of the Mayor, then through several exchange visits of official delegations. These were followed by the signing of the Twinning Charters in September 1994 in Vierzon and in November 1994 in Hereford. For the official twinning ceremony in Vierzon Hereford had several stands at the Foire Exposition with Bulmers, Sun Valley, Wye Valley Brewery represented. In addition the Better made in Hereford and Worcester exhibition pantechnicon was manned by the Tourist Office and the organisation for the Promotion of Hereford.
There have been numerous invitations for young people in Hereford to participate in sporting events in Vierzon. The first visit, organised by the Mayor who initiated the twinning, was that of a young basketball team invited to take part in an international tournament in Vierzon. This led to Hereford, along with Vierzon and all its twin towns, receiving from the European Commission the special Gold Stars Twinning Award of 1993, Les Etoilesd’Or de Jumelage.Since then there have been further invitations, such as to participate in the international games, the Jeux de Jeunesse 2000, to mark the millenium. A group of cyclists, cyclo-touristes, visited Hereford in 1996, cycling all the way from Vierzon.
Links between the Gilbert and Sullivan Society and theGroupe Lyrique et Theatraleled to a visit of 80 Vierzonnais to perform at Aylestone School and a return joint perfomance in Vierzon. More recently links have been established between Les Berriaudsand the Hereford Twinning Association through numerous visits.
Les Berriauds,the folk group from the Berry region, have performed their traditional songs and dances on three occasions at the Three Choirs Festival and have twice been part of the main festival programme. They have been hosted each time by HTA members
Les Berriauds outside the Cathedral
Les Berriauds in the Town Hall
There have been many civic exchange visits. The Mayor of Vierzon has attended Mayor Making and the Mayor of Hereford is usually invited to attend the opening of the Foire Exposition in September each year. Free stands have been provided at this show on several occasions, an excellent opportunity to promote Hereford and its produce. Vierzon youngsters have taken part in work experience programmes with Herefordshire Tourist Information.
In 2003 the Hospice Angels undertook a fundraising motor cycle ride to Vierzon in support of St Michael’s Hospice.
In May 2004, on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Vierzon/Hereford twinning link, an official delegation came in May from the Vierzon Town Hall, together with 21 members of Les Berriauds. They attended the Mayor’s reception in the Town Halland the Twinning Association’s celebratory meal. They were hosted by members of the Twinning Association.The Hereford stand with the then Mayor, Cllr Polly Andrews, and the Mayor of Vierzon, Monsieur Jean Rousseau
In September 2004 Hereford was Ville d’Honneurat the 59th annual international Foire Expositionin Vierzon.With support from the Council and the Tourist Office, the Twinning Association took over a range of local products, which proved very popular. Members of the Association manned a stand for nine days.
Vierzon is twinned with: Rendsburg and Bitterfeld in Germany, Barcelos in Portugal, Miranda de Ebro in Spain, Develi in Turkey, Kamienna Gora in Poland, and has twinning or friendship links with towns in China, Morocco, Algeria and Lebanon.