Scottish Country dancing holiday near Grenoble, France.

27 June - 4 July 2004

"The Thistle of Dauphiné" organized a week of dancing

in the Chartreuse mountains just north of Grenoble.

We welcomed dancers from 8 different countries,

the majority coming from England this time.


Here are a few of the highlights of our dancing week – just so that you know what you missed!


We arrived at the hotel to find that the previous night’s wedding party had not yet vacated the hotel rooms or dance hall,

and, when our guests began arriving, we just had to sit around and wait until the rooms could be allocated. Since there had not been enough time for the rooms to be cleaned and checked properly, we had a litany of complaints about broken keys, lamps, taps, towel racks, and lack of towels, for the next two days.

A good meal, however, followed by Ken’s wonderful music got the dancers into a better frame of mind and raised our spirits, even though everyone was feeling pretty tired from early departures and long journeys.


Teaching sessions and evening dances all went off very well (I just can’t believe how lucky we are to have a pianist such as Ken, providing joyful jigs, energizing reels, and tuneful strathspeys – non-stop throughout the week – some 500 different tunes!), and very quickly people relaxed and were ready to enjoy themelves. The outings were fairly successful, though turning up at a castle where we had booked a visit (Menthon, overlooking lac d’Annecy) and finding the place locked and deserted was a bit frustrating. Extra time wandering around Annecy made up for that; it’s the sort of place that everyone likes.

The visit to Chambery started badly, too – no sign of the petit train we had booked to take us around the town centre! It turned up about half an hour late, by which time, half the narrow streets were blocked by delivery vans, so I’m sure we did not see as much of the old town as we had hoped. The visitors still seemed to be in a good mood, and there was much laughing and joking the whole time, so the rest of the day – lunch at Aix and a boat trip across the lake was most enjoyable.


The Tuesday was our wedding anniversary, for which I had concocted a new dance with a story, and it was well received. Originally “Genevieve’s Jig” had been on the program, but as the Brits seem to find it too difficult, it was dropped after consultation with the musicians. Great was our surprise, however, when a team of 8 took the floor and peformed for us “G’s jig” – not only the version published by the RSCDS, but the original one that the publications committee had rejected!


The week ended with another wedding party.

On our return from the boatride from Aix, we found some strangers at reception, fuming and furious that they could not get into the dance hall to decorate it. We learned there had been a double booking, and they were expecting to have the exclusivity of the hotel on the Saturday night. The bride was in tears, and her father obviously expected us to move out there and then; they had 80 guests on the way (I had only 50!) The hotel proprietor had been taken ill and was in hospital, and the staff were at a loss to find a solution. After much negociating, we kept the dance hall, but gave up some  bedrooms (the staff phoned round to find other hotel rooms not too far away), everything sorted itself out, and we were able to enjoy a last evening dancing together. I was feeling ashamed to ask some of our dancers to move out for a night, but had a laugh when they returned and said what lovely comfortable places they had been given!


It had been a week fraught with little problems, but everyone was so wonderfully friendly and helpful, we had had more enjoyment than worry, and were sorry to see our friends, new and old, setting off for home again. They were all enchanted with the mountain scenery and cool fresh air and delighted with the music and the company – some were even ready to book again for next year.


Accommodation for another holiday in 2005 will be a place that does not cater for weddings!


+ + +

Scottish Country dancing is a wonderful pastime
that gives you an excuse to travel the world
and meet so many nice friendly people.


Danse écossaise
(en français)

country dance

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Le Chardon du Dauphiné

Dance holiday

Dance holiday

 Dance holiday

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A selection of my modern country dances in the Scottish tradition

True story:


Prisoner in the Sahara

Histoire vraie:


Prisonnier du Sahara

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