Harrogate is twinned with Bagnères de Luchon in France and has been since 1953. It was one of the first official, international town twinning agreements and related directly to war time association between Luchon and Harrogate.
Hospice de France, one of Luchon’s scenic attractions, is a point at which the French Resistance, aided by allied agents, led escaping servicemen over the Pyrenees into Spain during the Second World War. One of the British military agents was later to become the headmaster of Grove Road School and mayor of Harrogate. One of his major contributions was the establishment of the twinning agreement with Luchon.
Although links between Harrogate had faded over time, there has been a resurgence in interest over more recent times and there are now regular exchanges between the towns, covering educational, cultural and sporting visits.
Every August, for over 100 years, Luchon holds Les Fêtes des Fleurs, a parade of bands, dancers and floats decorated with flower heads. The parade is watched by large crowds and Harrogate supports the festival each year with a float decorated by a team of volunteers and often supported by local bands and foreign language students.
This year celebrates the 135th year of Fête des Fleurs. Harrogate International Partnerships are pleased to be supporting Tewit’s Silver Band, who will be playing several concerts in and around the town, August 25th – 28th, and six Harrogate foreign language students will help build a ‘Harrogate‘ structural floral display.
As well as the strong floral heritage link with Harrogate, Luchon is also a well renowned spa town, famous for its unique thermal springs and has been recognised over the centuries for the quality of its hyperthermal waters, the most sulphurous in the Pyrenees.