Located in northern France just outside of Paris, Noisy-le-Roi is a small French town with quaint streets, typical boulangeries and patisseries, small compact houses and friendly neighbors ready to greet you. How does this city relate to us? Believe it or not, Albion and Noisy are sister cities.
From Oct. 29 to Nov. 8, two groups from Noisy-le-Roi visited Albion: basketball players from a high school in Noisy and a group of pianists from the Noisy community. Throughout the week, the visitors toured Albion—city and college—and participated in basketball games and piano competitions.
“All the Americans we met were very welcoming and nice,” said Clément Baillard, 17-year-old member of the Noisy basketball team. “We came to play basketball, and there was a real fair play with the Americans players.”
The eight basketball players, all of whom are seniors in high school, competed in multiple games throughout the week against Albion community teams and the Albion high school basketball team.
“It was amazing,” said Alexis Amsler, 16-year-old basketball player. “We really had fun this week.”
The nine pianists, ranging from ages 10 to 17, competed in the annual Piano Festival, consisting of four performances from Nov. 1 to Nov. 4. Almost all won prizes, and two received first place.
Both groups also toured Albion College for one day, experiencing classroom life and a typical student’s meal at Baldwin.
“We learned about the life on a campus like Albion College, your lessons schedule, where you sleep and how does the lessons work,” Baillard said. “This exchange between Noisy and Albion is a real good idea. We are encourage to come to study management and business at Albion College after our last year at high school.”
The Albion-Noisy connection was first established by a French committee entitled “Le Comité de Jumelage de Noisy-le-Roi” (Sister City Committee of Noisy-le-Roi) in 1997. Made of up volunteers, this group focuses on making exchanges between the two cities on academic, athletic, economic, environmental and social levels.
All aspects of their week at Albion created a culturally enlightening experience for the French students.
“We will see the difference [in the students] in France,” said Nathalie Estelles, piano instructor from Noisy.
“It is indeed great to be able to share both sides of culture, to discover how young and older people live on both sides of the Atlantic,” said Francois Amet, vice president of Le Comité and coordinator of communication with the United States.
The exchanges that took place this week allowed Albion to deepen its global status through strengthening its friendship with the French sister city.