Normandy, France (twined since 1968)
Alençon is a bustling market town surrounded by beautiful countryside dotted with picturesque villages where you can sample locally-made Camembert and cider.
The town of Alençon dates back to the 4th century and is home to beautifully preserved historic buildings, including the Maison d’Ozé (15th century), the Notre-Dame church, the Halle au Blé (19th century Corn Exchange). Alençon is also very famous for its lace and the internationally renowned Point d’Alençon, which was developed in the 17th century. Some of the finest examples of this unique lace pattern can be seen at the local fine arts museum.
Alençon is easily accessible by ferry, travelling from Portsmouth to Caen.
Brabant Wallon, Belgium (twinned since 1979)
Braine-l’Alleud is located in the French-speaking area of Belgium, only 13 miles south of Brussels. Its pleasant town centre and excellent range of facilities and accommodation make Braine-l’Alleud the ideal base when visiting this region. The town is also famous for being home to the site of the battle of Waterloo where Napoleon was defeated by the Duke of Wellington on 18 June 1815. Today the battlefield is marked by a lion made from melted down cannons used during the battle. There is also an excellent visitors’ centre where you can find out more about what happened on that day.
Braine-l’Alleud is easily accessible by Eurostar from London to Brussels. For more information, visit the town of Braine-l’Alleud website
Eifel region, Germany (twinned since 1986)
The town of Euskirchen is a thriving market town located 15 miles south of Cologne.
The Old Town is the main shopping area. It is centred around Market Square which is bordered by traditional buildings, cafés and restaurants. In addition to its pleasant town centre, Euskirchen is surrounded by beautiful countryside, notably the forest around the Steinbach lake. There are also many important historic houses such as Kleeburg Castle, Veynau Castle or St Martin’s Church all within a short drive from the town centre.
Euskirchen can be reached by flying into Cologne or Bonn.