Tennis

St Andrews French Tour 2017

08 Nov 2017

Paris and Fontainebleau


The University of St Andrews Real Tennis Club has just returned from an incredible tour to Paris and Fontainebleau, and we would like to start by saying thank you to Rod McNaughton, Lilian Desmerger and Eric Delloye for their kind hospitality, and a special thank you to Sylviane Lemaire, Freya Miller and Harriet Burnett at Pol Roger, for hosting us for such a fantastic tour of le Maison Pol Roger at 1 Rue Winston Churchill.

The tour commenced on Monday 23rd October when we boarded our flight to Paris Charles de Gaulle, and having settled into our AirBnB, we made our way to the Jeu de Paume Club where we were immediately made to feel extremely welcome by Rod and the members. The following day, after a quick trip to the usual tourist sites, we prepared ourselves for what Parisian real tennis could throw at us. The majority of the games were extremely close, but by the end of the first day Paris was leading 3 matches to 2. Following a few drinks in the dedans, kindly supplied by Clement, both sides made their way to a quaint Parisian bistro for confit de canard and carafes of house red, which were quickly followed by more carafes and a trip to an upmarket French nightclub. The following morning, bleary eyed, we made our way back to the Club for the second leg of the fixture which went exactly the same as the first, meaning by the end of the two days of play, Paris took the fixture 6-4. That afternoon we made our way to Versailles to have a look around the stunning palace, but also visit the real tennis court there, which was the location of the signing of the Tennis Court Oath, a key moment in the early days of the French Revolution.

On the Thursday, we made our way down to Fontainebleau for a day of play amongst ourselves, and a chance to take in the beautiful surroundings of the Chateau, before an early night in preparation for what was to follow. On Friday morning, we were lucky enough to travel up to Epernay for a tour of Pol Roger’s cellars, which can only be described as the highlight of our trip, and thanks again go to Sylviane for her hospitality and fascinating insight into champagne production. We were also fortunate enough to taste some of the wine, which we had a great appreciation for, having seen how much hard work and care goes into its production. We would recommend the Blancs de Blancs to anyone.

The final day of tennis saw us back at Fontainebleau for five games against local members, all of which were very close, but by the end St Andrews had somehow gained a full hand, meaning that the tour ended France 6 St Andrews 9. Having bought as much stash as we could, we said goodbye to Lilian and Eric before our last supper in France. On the Sunday, we only had time for a quick once around the Chateau before heading back to Orly for our flight to Edinburgh, considerably fatter from wine and butter, but with an unforgettable tour under our belts. We hope to repeat it in the future.

Allé le Fife

Jeremy Bushell

 


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