Burns Night in Chamonix
On Friday 1st February 2008, the Chamonix Tourist Office is organising a Scottish Evening, dedicated to the 18th century poet, Robert Burns and of course to the British clientèle who remain very true to Chamonix as a winter and summer destination.
The event will take place at the Hotel Prieuré and we aim to cater for 250 persons. There will be a four course dinner including Scottish Salmon, and Haggis imported from MacSweens, followed by Ceilidh dancing with the Lismore Ceilidh Band who will be flying over from Edinburgh for the occasion. The band will be accompanied by Tich Frier. a Scottish Folk singer and to complete the picture, we have a professional bagpiper who is a Savoyard Breton (no less!) This traditional celebration, has existed in Scotland for over 200 years (about the same length of time as British tourists have been coming to Chamonix!) Our aim is to make this Burns Night an intercultural evening, that may be enjoyed by all. Hopefully the French attendants will finally acknowledge that the « panse de brebis farcie »* is actually a very fine dish! Believe it or not, the address to the Haggis can be translated into French and we will strive to make this convivial evening as tri-lingual as possible (Scots, English, French)!
Chairing the event will be Bill Nolan**, a man of many talents whose shared passions happen to be Rugby and Burns. He has spoken at Burns Suppers in places as far apart as Dubai, Singapore, Brisbane and Edinburgh and is looking forward to bringing Burns to Chamonix, « Scotland and France have been great friends for centuries through The Auld Alliance and Entente Cordiale and everyone from the Scottish end is looking forward to what will be a historic first for all of us in the company of our French - and other - friends. It's going to be a great night and, one thing for sure, it's taking Robert Burns, his poetry and songs to a completely new high for everyone.
Co-chairman will be Bernard Prud'homme, tourist office director and high-mountain guide (will he wear a kilt??) To toast the Lassies, a subject close to many men's hearts and not least Robert Burns, guest speaker Peter Mitchell (Scotland's speaker of the year in 2006) will be flying in from Aberdeen. Just for the records, the Six Nations Rugby cup kicks off on the 3rd February – first match: France v Scotland, so that adds another dimension to the Franco-Scottish alliance and I'm sure we can expect some good humoured jibing during the speeches!
Tickets will be on sale via www.chamonix.com from the20th December 2007. The cost per person is 35€ (event organised and sponsored by the tourist office).
*The word haggis is probably derived from the French word « hachis » meaning minced meat. It was apparently taken to Britain by William the Conqueror! ** Bill Nolan is executive council member, representing Scotland on the International Rugby Board. He was also president of the Irvine Burns Club – the first club in Scotland.
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