There was no way I was going to miss the Dordogne branch of the Franco British Chamber of Commerce Christmas Event on 14th December 2017. Wine tasting and nibbles with a live band thrown in. The event was held at College-Lycee Le Cluzeau, Sigoules-and, appropriately in view of the location focused on youth opportunity with significant contributions from many of the bilingual pupils of the establishment.
As one might expect from the chamber, the food and wine were both delicious and plentiful. As if to establish Dordogne as the French capital of food. The event also provided members with an opportunity to display their food and wine and offer samples to guests.
Founded in 1873, the Franco-British Chamber takes pride in its long and distinguished history. It is both the oldest British Chamber of Commerce in Europe and the oldest ‘foreign’ Chamber of Commerce in France. Despite two World Wars, the Great Depression and the recent Global Economic crises, the Chamber has proven a remarkably dynamic and adaptable organisation, uniting and assisting the Franco-British business community for 140 years.
The objectives of the Chamber are to
Promote business trade between the UK and France
Drive and promote the Franco-British business community
Assist members promote and develop their business activity in France and the UK
Provide members with information and expertise via its network of specialists.
All credit to the Dordogne branch who have not only managed to negotiate lower membership rates for rural Dordogne, but are also the only branch to provide some of the mandatory chamber of commerce courses in English.
The Dordogne branch hold regular networking events in Dordogne and usually have experts available to provide advice to attendees. The website http://www.francobritishchamber.com/ has full details and the Dordogne Regional Delegate is Roger Haigh Email firstname.lastname@example.org
It wasn’t all free wine and chocolate however. Immediately prior to the Christmas event there was a Question Time session with Matthew Lodge, the Plenipatentiary minister to the British Embassy in Paris. The subject matter for questions was Franco-British relations in the Current Political Climate. If the raised voices and anxious faces which were very much in evidence when I arrived were anything to go by the minister had found the focus of questions centered around worries about the effects of Brexit. I was very sorry to miss most of this session as a result of work commitments. It seemed to me that the minister had been sent to the provinces from Paris to reassure worried ex-pats regarding the uncertainty that is Brexit. Whilst he was able to assure those present that the Embassy and her servants were available to assist so far as they were able every individual case, he was unable to more much in the way of information. Another visit was promised as soon more concrete information becomes available. For those at the meeting who had very valid concerns about the uncertainties Brexit has brought to their lives, he could do little more than confirm that it was inevitable that there would be casualties.