Sister Cities Day – A Success!

21 Jul
Mark and Clara photo

Mezzo soprano Clara Osowski and pianist Mark Bilyeu perform at Sister Cities Day.

Minneapolis and Tours Sister Cities would like to thank everyone who joined us at Sister Cities Day at the Nicollet Island Pavilion! Hundreds of people enjoyed free refreshments and entertainment, registered to win prizes and learned more about these important connections with our city. If you were not able to attend but would like to learn more about our French connections, we invite you to sign up for our email list or “like” us on Facebook to stay up-to-date on future events. For more information on Minneapolis’s ten other sister cities, you can visit the Meet Minneapolis website. Merci!

Join us at Sister Cities Day!

29 Jun
Gare de Tours

The main train station in Tours, France, one of Minneapolis’s ten sister cities.

Minneapolis and Tours Sister Cities invite you to join us for the seventh annual Sister Cities Celebration, an Aquatennial event highlighting our city’s global connections, Sunday, July 20 from 1-5 p.m. at the Nicollet Island Pavilion in Minneapolis. This free family friendly afternoon includes refreshments, live entertainment and the opportunity to learn more about our city’s ten sister cities. (And yes, it is air conditioned!)

Learn more about the event by visiting the official website of Meet Minneapolis or about our French sister cities relationship by reading an article by Minneapolis and Tours board member Sarah Johnson in the July 2014 issue of St. Louis Park Magazine. You can also help us by downloading and distributing Sister Cities Day Flyer.

Hope to see you there!

Inside Tours: April Blog

23 Apr

 Printemps en Tours

By Maëliss Saulnier

We have a lot in common with our sister city, but when it comes to spring, our cities couldn’t be more different. Signs of spring are on full displays in this April issue of Inside Tours, as blogger Maëliss Saulnier takes us on a spring Tours!

Maëliss walks the cobbled stoned streets and takes in some people watching in Place Plumereau

Maëliss walks the cobbled stoned streets and takes in some people watching in Place Plumereau

When it’s sunny, I love going to Place Plumereau with friends for a glass of wine. With its peculiar atmosphere you can feel like you’ve been transported by time machine back to the Middle Age. 

If seeking seclusion and peace, you have only to take a walk in the garden of the Vinci, where you can disappear from busy public streets. Benches surrounded by a wide swath of fluffy green grass, are peaceful.

Fontaine des Amoureaux

Fontaine des Amoureauxpeaceful. There is nothing to do but let your mind drift for hours on end.

There is nothing to do but let your mind drift for hours on end.

The Lover’s fountain, La fontaine des Amoureux that I wrote about in my previous blog, is a romantic backdrop for spring love to bloom. This picturesque setting is a lovely lunch spot too—I go there when I need a “Zen” moment.

There is nothing more relaxing than an afternoon spring stroll along the banks of
the Loire.

A scenic view of la Loire.

A scenic view of la Loire.

On a warm spring day, I enjoy watching the boats gliding on the Loire. This area also attracts writers, singers, and many interesting passersby.

Of course, there’s always spring shopping! Rue Nationale, which crosses the city, and is lined with lots of shops and stores, is perfect for “window” shopping.

Shop til you drop on Rue Nationale

Fashionable finds on Rue Nationale



Writing for the Minneapolis-Tours blog and sharing all the things I love about my city reminds me how lucky and proud I am to live in my beautiful Tours.

Inside Tours: Events

16 Apr

Re-imagining the Song Festival, August 1-7

As its name implies, Source is a generative force. It re-imagines the song festival by not only delivering fresh and

François Le Roux, from Tours, world renowned baritone and performer of the French Art Song, to be part of the Midwest Song Festival

Tours’ François Le Roux, world renowned baritone and French Art Song performer, appears at the Midwest Song Festival

innovative concerts, recitals and master classes, but more importantly by empowering and inspiring a new generation of musicians– composers, performers and audience members alike– through the creation of new works, the initiating of conversation, and the fostering of relationships within Minnesota’s vibrant community.

Source serves pianist & singer duos through MNDuo: a 5-day institute with master classes and recitals by international artists, the chance to work closely with an established, local song composer, coachings with locally-based, world-class artists, and performance opportunities to give performers the tools required to further their own personal artistic vision, and strengthen song performers throughout the state.

Source serves song writers and art song composers through MNSong: a 3-day intensive workshop lead by composer Libby Larsen created to instruct and inspire composers through private lessons, the opportunity to work with professional musicians on your songs, and events focusing on publishing, legal matters, and text setting. It is sure to be an invaluable experience for those whose craft is wedding text to music.

Source serves audiences through public master classes, lectures, and workshops, along with thoughtfully engaging concerts and recitals all working together to create a complete experience for the listener, offering them all the tools to hone their critical and analytical skills, as well as broadening their musical palette through an intensive 7 days of unique programming.

Local Artists

Timothy Lovelace Maria Jette
Sonja Thompson Libby Larsen MaryJo Gothman Gail Olszewski Adriana Zabala

Guest Artists

Francois LeRoux (Francis Poulenc Academie) Susan Manoff (Paris Conservatory)
Erika Switzer (Bard College, Sparks & Wiry Cries) Tyler Duncan (Vancouver Int’l Song Institute) Alison d’Amato (Florestan Recital Project)

Aaron Engebreth (Florestan Recital Project) Dana Brown (Chicago College of Performing Arts)

Continue reading

Inside Tours: April Blog

15 Apr

The Art of Letter Writing and Making New Friends

By Sarah Johnson

Students at the Pierre Bottineau French Immersion Elementary School in North Minneapolis know that Galette du Roi

Class at Pierre Bottineau French Emersion School in north Minneapolis.

Class at Pierre Bottineau French Immersion School in north Minneapolis.

is not a French reality show thanks to letter exchanges with their young counterparts at Ecole Elémentaire Anatole France in Tours, France as part of Bon Appétit. Through this program, 14 third and fourth graders have been corresponding since last fall, introducing themselves to new friends across the ocean, learning about culinary traditions in France and sharing holiday recipes. Students at Pierre Bottineau produce two copies of each letter- one in French to help Minneapolis students practice their foreign language skills and one in English to help Tours students practice theirs.

“Admittedly, students were a little nervous about writing letters in French at first but that was quickly overcome with excitement,” says Pierre Bottineau teacher Michele Chalmeau (Madame Michele to her students). “It’s so fun to see their reactions when they receive mail from another country.” Students started with introductory letters complete with photos and now focus on a variety of food related topics. For example, the Minneapolis students sent some traditional Thanksgiving recipes last November since this American holiday is not celebrated in France.

Tours students related the French tradition of Epiphany, which commemorates the visit of the Wise Men to the baby Jesus, celebrated in January. Galette Du Roi or “king cake” is served as a dessert that day, and the child who receives the piece of cake with a trinket hidden in it is designated as “king” for a day. Both schools have already committed to continuing the program for the 2014-15 school year, confirming once again that the simple joy of receiving a handwritten letter stretches across the world!

Meet Tours’ New Mayor

31 Mar

Serge Babary elected mayor of Tours in recent election

The list, or slate of candidates, headed by Serge Babary and composed primarily of members of the UMP-UDI parties, received 49.8% of the votes in Sunday’s second round election making him the next mayor of Tours.


Serge Babary, newly elected mayor of Tours Photo CreditSerge Babary campaign site

He defeated the list headed by the nineteen-year incumbent mayor, Jean Germain (Socialist-Green) which scored 41.7%. The list headed by Gilles Godefroy (Front National) garnered 8.6% of the votes.

Voter turnout increased in the second round from 52% to 56%. This was below the national average which was already considered poor for a French election.

Council seats are distributed in a two-step calculation. The winning ticket is assured of just over half (or 28) seats and then the remaining 27 seats are allocated in proportion to the share of the vote. The actual names are selected from the order in which the appear on the tickets, and those names alternate by gender. A city of 135,000 must have a city council of 55 members… that’s the law.

The winning ticket led by Serge Babary will hold 42 seats on the 55-member city council. Jean Germain’s ticket will hold 11 seats and that of Gilles Godefroy will have two seats.

Continue reading

Tours Goes to the Polls

8 Mar
Tours City Hall on Election Day 2012

Tours City Hall on Election Day 2012

By Sarah Johnson

In Minneapolis, it happens in the fall. In Tours, it happens in the spring. For Minneapolis’s sister city, it’s time again for that democratic tradition…elections. I was lucky enough to be in Tours in the spring of 2012 for the presidential election between François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy and was graciously allowed to visit city hall to see French democracy in action. In one notable difference from Minneapolis, residents are required to show a photo ID before casting their ballot. They also receive results much quicker- since France is only about the size of Texas, by about 8 p.m. on election night it was clear that Hollande had won.

This March in Tours brings their municipal elections. Jean Germain, the current mayor of Tours, is running for re-election on the Socialist party ticket. One of the first differences you notice between the cities is the size of the city council. In Minneapolis, a city of approximately 400,000, there are thirteen council members. In Tours, a city of about 135,000, there are 55 council members.  Continue Reading


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