Newport Celebrates 25 Years With French Sister City

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The city celebrated a special anniversary last week: 25 years as a sister city to Antibes, France.

The anniversary celebrates the “city-to-city and people-to-people relationship” with Antibes, City Manager Dave Kiff wrote in the Oct. 27 council meeting Insider’s Guide.

“We send our best wishes for 25 more years of close ties between our people,” said Mayor Ed Selich.

A delegation of 18 people from Antibes visited Newport Beach  between Oct. 26 to 31. Among the week’s activities, the group attended last week’s City Council meeting, where Selich read a proclamation recognizing and honoring the 25-year relationship.

“The bonds of friendship, good will and understanding as exemplified by the sister city movement have resulted from these community and educational exchanges,” he read. “The city of Newport Beach extends the warm hand of friendship to the delegation from Antibes as we celebrate this significant anniversary year of our relationship.”

Jack Woodward, the Newport Beach Sister City student representative from Newport Harbor High School, re-read the proclamation in French.

“It’s a pleasure to welcome you to Newport Beach,” Mayor Pro Tem Diane Dixon said to the Antibes group. “It’s an honor to celebrate 25 years of a relationship.”

Dixon was the official Newport Beach ambassador during a visit to the French city last July. It was a very special trip, she noted.

Both Selich and Dixon wished the group an enjoyable stay in Newport.

The group also had dinner at Muldoon’s, attended and interacted with the students at a French class at Newport Harbor High School, heard a special performance by the Corona Del Mar High school Madrigal singers, saw the sights around Newport Beach, and more.

“We look forward to many more happy years of relations between our two cities,” remarked the Newport Beach Sister City Association, who organized the visit, in a social media message.

The French delegation was led by Wolf Burg, president, and Arlette Neuman, board member, of Antibes Jumelages, Antibes’ twin city association.

“We are all very happy to be here,” Burg said on behalf of the Antibes delegation.

Several of the Antibes resident have been to Newport Beach in the past, but this was the first visit for most, Burg explained.

Every year they look forward to visitors from Newport Beach in their home town, he added.  

“Over the years we have come to (have a) very good friendship,” Burg said. “And every time, with much joy, we either see visitors from Newport Beach or come to visit you ourselves.”

They have thoroughly enjoyed their time in Newport Beach, Burg said.

“We will regret to leave Newport Beach when (our visit) comes to an end,” he said.

As a thank you to the city, the Antibes group gave the council a few presents. Selich also presented a gift to Burg, a crystal sailboat with an inscription celebrating the 25-year relationship.

The two cities have exchanged visits with citizens, organizational delegations, and students.

The mission of the Newport Beach Sister City Association is to promote “international communication and understanding through cultural exchanges, education and friendship,” according to the NBSCA website.

They work to accomplish that mission by strengthening Newport Beach’s partnerships with its sister cities around the world, and “increasing awareness and participation at the municipal level, promoting cultural understanding, and motivating and empowering private citizens, city officials, and business leaders to conduct long-term programs of mutual interest.”

Antibes is located on the southern coast of France, on the Mediterranean, between Nice and Cannes.

“Antibes is best known as the Rose Capital of Europe and the home of the largest yachts in the world, as well as the Cap D’Antibes with some of the most expensive real estate in the Rivera,” the NB Sister City Association explains on their website. “Antibes is also a cultural hub of the  Côte d’Azur with the summer Jazz à Juan Festival. Picasso and Monet have both spent periods of their life in Antibes painting. There is a world famous Picasso Musem and artist Raymond Peynet museum.”

The population, climate, and socio-economic backgrounds of Antibes are similar to Newport Beach, NBSCA explains. It’s been “the perfect pairing” over the last quarter of a century, the association notes.


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