The History of Twinning

Have you ever wondered what those road signs mean as you approach Bognor Regis - the ones that say ‘Welcome to Bognor Regis, twinned with Saint Maur des Fossés, Weil am Rhein and Trebbin’? 

Town Twinning was set up after the Second World War to encourage friendly contact between Britain and countries in Europe at a local level. Bognor Regis has been officially partnered with Saint Maur des Fossés, an elegant town on the river Marne, near Paris, and even nearer to Disneyland Europe, since 1980. In 1987 we linked with the town of Weil am Rhein, situated in the southwest corner of Germany, where Switzerland, France and Germany join, and in 1994 we officially twinned with Trebbin, a small town south of Berlin, in the former German Democratic Republic. 

For more information on any of our Twinning Towns, please click the corresponding logos.

St Maur-des-fosses logo

St Maur-des-Fossés

Saint-Maur-des-Fossés, situated approximately 9 miles south-east of Paris, was the first town to form links with Bognor Regis. Established in 1980, the link continues to be very successful. Saint-Maur now boasts a small area of land named "Square Bognor Regis", in addition to a "Promenade des Anglais" along the River Marne. In return, Bognor Regis has a "Place St. Maur des Fossés" to remind us of our French twin town.
Weil am Rhein logo

Weil am Rhein

Bognor's initial twinning with Germany took place in 1987 with the south-western town of Weil am Rhein. The town is situated on the Rhine in the so-called "Dreilandereck" ("three country corner") where the Rhine forms the border between Germany, France and Switzerland. The German town sought twinning links with an English seaside resort and the excellent climate, and pleasant coastline, of Bognor Regis is very popular with German visitors.
Trebbin logo


Weil am Rhein already had twinning links with the town of Trebbin in the former East Germany, so it seemed a natural development for Bognor Regis to adopt this link as well. In 1996 official twinning charters were signed with Trebbin which is situated approximately 16 miles south of Berlin. The German town has seen major changes since re-unification in 1990.

Bognor Regis Twinning Association


These relationships are not just something written on a sign or filed in official documents at the Town Hall; they are true bonds of friendship stretching across the Channel encouraging an understanding of each other’s culture and history. Bognor Regis Twinning Association, a small but active voluntary organisation, welcomes about 50 visitors from our two German twin towns every 3 years. By supporting with a grant this year, Bognor Regis Town Council made it possible for the Twinning Association to continue their student programme, whereby free places are offered on these trips to two or three young people. An affiliated group runs an exchange to our French twin town every two years, with a return visit in the interim year. From time to time the Twinning Association also runs sporting, rambling and musical exchanges.


The Twinning Association hold social events to not only raise much-needed funds, but also provide great opportunities for members to meet together and have a good time. The most successful annual event is the Beaujolais Bistro, a French style luncheon when the season’s Beaujolais Nouveau is sampled along with a tasty meal.

If you want to get involved in twinning links, or would just like to be a social member, the Twinning Association would love to hear from you. Please look at their website, for further details of what they do, and who to contact for membership information.


Twinning offers many opportunities: it promotes friendship between people in the home town and twin towns as well as the chance to visit one or more of the twin towns. Exchanges between the French twin town of Saint-Maur and Bognor Regis take place annually, with visits alternating between towns. Visitors from the German towns come to Bognor Regis every third year, while Bognor Regis members visit either Weil am Rhein or Trebbin in the two intervening years, where they are joined by friends from Trebbin in Weil am Rhein or vice-versa. 


Throughout the year a number of Twinning Association social events take place in, and around, Bognor Regis including Quiz Nights, Boules Competition, Skittles Evening and Beaujolais Bistro. On the second Monday of most months a Foreign Film Evening is held at the Picturedrome Cinema in Bognor Regis.

Bognor Regis Twinning Association  is an independent, self-funding, organisation run by a committee of volunteers elected each year at the Annual General Meeting open to Members and the public. Membership fees for 2018 are £8.00 for an individual or £15.00 for a couple.
For further information about the Association, email


Mayor's Trip to Saint-Maur-des-Fosses March 2022


An account of the trip from Mayor Cllr Steve Goodheart and the Mayoress, Mrs Andrea Goodheart:

My wife and I were delighted to accept an invitation by the Mayor of Saint-Maur-des-Fosses to visit his Town, a Twin Town of Bognor Regis since 1980. We were very lucky to be accompanied by Heather Perrott and Phil Butler from the Bognor Regis Twinning Association. We travelled on Eurostar which was an experience in itself and arrived at Gare du Nord, Paris, to be met by Nathalie Joret, the administrator in charge of international relations for the Town of Saint Maur. We were chauffeured to our hotel for a short rest before being taken out to La Table du Marche where we met Madame Dominique Soulis, Deputy Mayor and Florentine Raffard, Municipal Councillor. This was the first of many delicious meals we were treated to and a first chance to talk with Dominique and Florentine who were both fluent in English. We were able to find out more about Saint-Maur and answer some of their questions about Bognor Regis. 

After a comfortable night at the hotel we were taken for a tour of the impressive Town Hall, built in the 19th century, and to meet Monsieur Sylvain Berrios who has been Mayor of Saint-Maur since 2016. We exchanged official gifts in the magnificent surroundings of a room in the Town Hall where weddings take place and then we also gave a few extra souvenir gifts from Bognor Regis- thanks to Darryl Hardy. There was much laughter and the buckets & spades will be enjoyed by grandchildren. The Mayor took us to his office and showed us photos of many famous faces! He is a Rolling Stones fan and had a poster of the tour from when he last saw them perform. We had also seen that tour so it was good to reminisce. The Town Hall was very large and very impressive. Red carpet, marble floors, crystal chandeliers and art on the walls. We were taken up to the fourth floor for a magnificent view of Saint-Maur and beyond to the skyline of Paris including the Eiffel Tower and the financial district similar to the city of London. Apparently they were able to view the devastating fire at Notre Dame back in 2019.

When our tour of the Town Hall was complete we were able to accompany Sylvain Berrios to the large Saturday Market which was lively and colourful! The fresh produce was beautifully displayed and our senses were constantly assaulted by new sights, sounds and (wonderful) smells! The Saint-Maur branch of Lions International were selling soup which had been donated by restaurants in the Town to raise funds for a local food bank. It was very well attended and they seemed very pleased to see both Mayors for a photo opportunity!

I was then very impressed to be given a ride with the Mayor in his hybrid car as we were chauffeured on a scenic drive along the banks of the River Marne which almost surrounds the Town of Saint-Maur. The waters were a mesmerising blue and the houses lining the Promenade des Anglais were all individual with their own character and surrounded by gardens. Lunch was a grand affair at Le Chateau des Iles on the bank of the river along Quai Winston Churchill. Being pescatarian we had a slightly different menu to everyone else and we absolutely loved the fish we were served even if we didn’t know what it was at the time!

After the meal and a particularly impressive cheese selection we said ‘au revoir’ to the Mayor, and were accompanied by Dominique and Florentine on a tour of the Town to take in the sights. First stop was the impressive ruins of the Abbay de Saint-Maur, built in the 7th century, which lay in a large open park where many events are held in the summer, after which we were taken to visit Square Bognor Regis! Of course we couldn’t resist taking many photos here! Next stop le Mediatheque which was so much more than just a library and very well used. It was wonderful to see the space being used by so many families on a Saturday afternoon. Our final visit that afternoon was a building close to the heart of Dominique being the Deputy Mayor (one of several) with responsibility for Sport and International Relations and a former teacher. It was the Saint-Maur sports centre and stadium - Centre Sportif Brossolette. Once again we were amazed at how many people were using the facility! We witnessed handball, basketball, gymnastics, fencing and weight-lifting. We even stayed to watch a weight-lifting competition and met a European judo champion and female weight-lifter who had placed fourth in the Tokyo Olympics both from Saint-Maur!

That evening we ate in La Cassolette with more delicious French cuisine and enjoyed the company of Dominique, Florentine, Nathalie, Heather and Phil by now chatting away as if we had know each other for years!

The next morning we had some free time so explored another local market and had the chance to walk along the River Marne before meeting up once again with our hosts and enjoying brunch in Bistrot Les Petits Plats which was a buffet with a French twist and very popular with the locals. It was also opposite the Town Hall, so we were able to see it for one last time before being taken back to Gard du Nord for our return trip. 

We arrived back in Bognor at midnight on Sunday and have to say we had thoroughly enjoyed our weekend away, seeing Saint Maur and being treated like VIPs but it was very nice to be back home with a cup of tea.


Twinning Reception July 2019

Wednesday 10th July saw Bognor Regis Town Council invite guests from the twinned towns of Weil am Rhein and Trebbin, to a special Reception at 'Seasons', Bognor Regis  Football Club, to welcome our German neighbours to our Town.

The Mayor, Cllr Phil Woodall, hosted the evening and was joined on stage by the Mayor of Trebbin, Mr Thomas Berger and Tonio Passlick from Weil am Rhein. The Town Crier, Mrs Jane Smith was on hand in full robes, to greet guests, along with the Mayor, Consort and Town Clerk.  

Alex Clifton performed on the Steel Pans to entertain guests and gifts were exchanged to mark the visit. 

Thanks to the Bognor Regis Twinning Association for their help in the organisation, to 'Season's for hosting and of course to all the hosts and visitors who attended what was a very enjoyable evening! 


Twinning trip to Germany

Bognor Regis Twinning Association

The Twinning Association trip to Trebbin October 2018 saw a large group from Bognor Regis travel to meet the residents of our twin town in Germany. Some stayed with local families and some in hotels. Visits were made to Berlin and nearby towns, visiting the TV Tower, hiring electric bikes and viewing the Berlin Festival of Lights. Grant Aid funding from the Town Council helped young people from the town to be able to go on the visit. Here are some comments from some of those who were lucky enough to enjoy this trip.

Young “Twinners” report on a Twinning visit to Trebbin in October 2018

My experience In Germany with the twinning association has been amazing. The people from Germany and the twinning association alike have been really kind and helpful and made me feel very welcome.

I have been doing so much throughout the past week, it has made me realise how nice it is to sleep in my own bed again! I have enjoyed all the days I spent in Germany, from going up the fastest elevator in Europe to visiting the sanitoriums in Beelitz- Heilsatten, it has been fantastic.

I also particularly in enjoyed the festival of lights in Berlin. It was really quite a unique experience and I was amazed at how in-depth the colours and the animations were, despite them being projected onto significant buildings, for example on Berlin's magnificent Cathedral.

I am extremely grateful that I got the opportunity to go on this trip and i want to say a massive thank you to my host family for allowing me to stay In their home and becoming my translator and guide for Trebbin and Berlin, the twinning association for organizing and planning the amazing activities we have participated in and also the Bognor Town Council for funding this trip and giving us the chance to engage in activities we may have not had the chance to do before and keep in contact with friends we made from overseas!

So yes, thank you again to everyone who made this trip so special, I am very honoured and humbled that I got chosen to go on this trip! I would encourage anyone my age to join as it was an unforgettable experience and I would do it again if I could! Ausgezeichnet!

Thank you,

From Marnie

Trebbin is a beautiful village, shrouded in history like it’s home country.

It’s thanks to funding from the Bognor Regis Town Council that I got to experience it- beyond what I could have hoped for.

There are no words to express my gratitude for the opportunity; only that this exchange was truly one of a kind.

I found a second home with my host family, and together we explored the incredible city of Berlin.

I also met some crazy, beautiful people who soon turned into close friends- and I hope to see them again in the future.

The Twinning Society gave me a chance to fly- quite literally- so I took it! All the way to Germany and back. Trebbin, you have stolen my heart.

Best Wishes,


I am delighted to have been able to go on the Trebbin trip it was amazing I met a number of new people and some new friends, as well as doing a number of great activities I enjoyed the tree walk the most out of the activities, I am also very happy I have been given the opportunity to go on such an amazing trip I otherwise would never have been able to experience, I hope I get too see my new friends again and keep in touch with the twinning association for future activities Thank you for this amazing experience. Harry





TV Tower

Berlin Festival of Light