A dynamic new beginning

The volunteers and the President Veronique Debieuvre had waited with impatience for the opening the Bienvenue’s Forum. Would foreign diplomats, who had been for a long time secluded in their residences make their way to the Quai d’Orsay? The doubt was soon lifted as soon as the door opened at 10:00 on September 23rd.

They all arrived, former members but also many new recruits in the Salon de l’Horloge to meet with the volunteers who greeted them with numerous attractive activities. The choices were difficult to make. “ I am so pleased to greet once again our friends and also to meet new diplomatic representatives from the rest of Europe, Asia, the Middle East , Africa and North and South America,” said Marie-Thérèse Francois-Poncet, the founding President.

The buffet was delicious however time could not be spent much on talking because members had to make tough choices among 30 irresistible activities to choose from. “Treasures of French heritage” will offer innovative activities including a visit to the diplomatic archives or to the new Justice Palace. “Economy and luxury industry” proposes for its part a visit to Cartier and Danone. It was also tempting to choose to visit with “Saturdays in the French province” the cities of Nancy and Poitiers or to discover the charms of the Marne River. Another option was to travel virtually to Bretagne with Colette, Normandy with Maupassant or in the Landes with Mauriac as well as to many other regions by joining the “French literature” group. Cinema, gymnastics, and painting classes of different kinds were also offered. We could find as well cooking and bridge classes and fashion-related activities.

It was indeed difficult to make choices….

The strong interest in French classes was quickly demonstrated as the registration room filled up. Both existing and new members were keen to benefit from the opportunity to improve their linguistic skills.

As Veronique Debieuvre pointed out in her speech, exchanges and friendship go a long way towards contributing to a better understanding of a country.

By reopening its doors, Bienvenue offers a unique opportunity to discover the abundant richness offered by country like France.

By Francine Boidevaix