Châteauroux, a city in the Central Region of France, is located about 1,880 km from Olsztyn. Both cities have been called "twin towns", but this similarity is still a unique one, since Châteauroux (founded in the Xth century) is several hundred years older than Olsztyn, and a few times smaller (it is inhabited by only 50,000 residents).
Châteauroux is famous for preserving its original character, despite a high level of economic growth. Châteauroux is situated among forests and it resembles a colourful garden full in particular with flowers of various blooms. Just like Olsztyn.
Twin cities of Poland and France
Natural features are not the only characteristics that join both cities. It is the multifaceted relationship which helped Châteauroux become one of the first partner towns of Olsztyn. The elaboration of the common ground started at the end of the 1980s on the initiative of the Polish-French Friendship Association. It resulted in the signing of a "Twin Cities Charter" in 1991 which assumed sustaining a friendly relationship between the charter's signatories. The agreement was renewed in 2011 on the 20th anniversary of the establishing of the partnership. This Polish-French cooperation is commemorated by an alley, leading along the Łyna river, in Park Podzamcze (The Castle Grounds Park) which was named as the Châteauroux Alley.
An agreement beyond borders
A good long-term relationship has been built in various sectors. The partner activities that are particularly intensive concern culture, business, tourism and education. Among examples of professions, the representatives of which help each other by sharing their experience, one will find i.a.: doctors from both cities, university scientists who are responsible for the protection of nature and preservation of biological variety, and even workers of postal departments. The school youth exchanges, or the exchanges of music bands, or craftsmen, have also become a positive tradition. Non-governmental organizations work together to the benefit of disabled people.
For years, every visit of Poles to Châteauroux or of Frenchmen to Olsztyn has provided the opportunity to learn about the regions, their different culture, customs and cuisines. It is also a chance for the promotion of one's own "little homelands" in the world and for establishing stable and long-term relations within the European countries.