Tarnishing the tinsel

Brexit has cast its ugly shadow over Bath’s town-twinning arrangements for the festive season as Marian McNeir MBE writes:

‘For the past 6 years , our colleagues from Aix en Provence , Bath’s twin city in France, have brought an enticing selection of typical Provencal goods like wine, lavender products , unusual chestnut honey and melon marzipan, Marseilles soaps and colourful typical Provencal fabrics.

The stall is hugely popular with customers who come year after year to  stock up on original Christmas presents.

Equally, volunteers from the Bath – Aix Twinning Committee take about £8000s worth of local goods to Aix to sell at their Christmas market.

Local companies like the Twerton Bakery who supply nearly 2000 mince pies and mini Christmas cakes, “In a Pickle ” whose marmalades and chutneys fly off the stall in Aix and Whittard’s Teas in the Guildhall Market all benefit from this Christmas market exchange.

A Christmas past when Will Sandry ( l think that’s him?) was Mayor of Bath.

But not this year ! We have researched the Brexit implications on import / export taxes, increased transport costs and even having to engage a specialist firm to deal with the bureaucracy where the slightest mistake in the form filling could mean fatal delays at the ports. 

All this mitigates against having a stall in Bath or Aix and I can quite understand how frustrating it has been for B&NES to have to cancel the traditional Christmas Market.

In the circumstances I think the Council has taken the right decision — let’s hope for a return to the usual Christmas Market fare in 2022 with our friends from Aix able to bring their beautiful goods to delight local residents and visitors alike and for us to be able to showcase Bath products in Aix.’


  1. Merci infiniment Richard – I’ll forward this to Aix . Bonne journée Marian

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. What nonense. Would someone please tell us the real reason why B&NES have cancelled the market and have put an online version as a substitute. And can no one see the irony of having a Victorian carousel outside of the back door of the Roman Baths. With foresight and organisation, it should be perfectly possible for the shopkeepers of Provence and Aix to bring over their goods to Bath and likewise for our own to go to France . Can you tell me if the markets of any other towns and cities in Britain will be denuded of goods from Europe at their Chrostmas markets? Check out Bristol and Worcester.

  3. What evidence is there to to show not only why the market is thought to be vital in twinning trade but how returning the market to anything like its previous size could be sustainable? This of course should at least include affects of extensions to the trading period, logistical requirements, incoming and outgoing journeys, 10,000 extra visitors per day in the city centre.

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