Cambridge Society of Paris News Bulletin 6

An Exciting Year

With the advent of the summer recess, we can look back over an exciting year for the Cambridge Society of Paris.

But before looking back, let us consider the present, for the Society has changed considerably over this past year. Last summer, we set the ambitious target of doubling the membership within eighteen months. Now, to my delight, thanks to the enthusiasm of the core team, this objective is close to being fulfilled. Taking a snapshot in time, the AGM of last year and this, the membership a year ago stood at 93. At the equivalent AGM today, the paid membership amounted to 167. Since then, further members have renewed, and others joined, so the target has very, very nearly been reached, and the trajectory is heading fast towards 200.

Another structural change has been the creation of College Representatives providing a direct link between the Colleges and the Cambridge Society of Paris. At present we have College Representatives for two thirds of the Colleges, with others identified to create a complete network of Representatives for every College in Cambridge. The system has already proved its worth in boosting the membership, and we have plans for further liaison with the Colleges in the context, for example, of the Trevor Brown Bursary. Many thanks to every College Representative. You have all been a tremendous help and, in some cases, the results have been stunning, starting with St John’s (thanks to Edward Archer) and Fitzwilliam (care of Edward Bryant).

A third fundamental, game changing improvement, about to be revealed, thanks to committee member Stephanie Coutu, is the website. Our current website is, in fact, not too bad, kept up to date minute by minute thanks to Tony Banton. But Stephanie’s new website will be light years ahead. Much more interactive; with online transactions, ticketing and membership; more visual; and under our direct control. Also, a link to Mailchimp, our new publicity package that has had a preliminary outing for the Garden Party and will emerge in full high-tech glory with the launch of the website.

Finally, the start of our plans to widen the reach of the Cambridge Society of Paris geographically and in terms of younger members. The groundwork has been laid with two amendments to the Constitution: a change in the cost of Country Membership from €40 to €20, and automatic three-year free membership for new student members.

To extend our membership, to encompass more Cambridge alumni, and to better serve the University, we hope to assist other groups of Cambridge alumni to emerge across France, with reciprocal relationships to Paris. The first was to have been the 189 Alumni in and around Lyon. A stalwart Lyon based alumnus very kindly offered himself as the focus, and Tony Banton and I worked with him to set the wheels in motion. Suffice to say this was thwarted as a text book reliance on marketing and excessive enthusiasm for fundraising on the part of the Development Office so annoyed our intrepid Lyonnais, that he disappeared into the sunset. I don’t doubt however that other opportunities will emerge and the concept of reciprocal links across France is enticing.

Time now to look back over the past year, picking up some of the many activities that we have embarked upon along the way:

The post rentrée season began with the traditional, but increasingly important Freshers Party. One of our current objectives is to increase the number of younger members, and this event is a prime source. Happily, the Freshers Party produced the highest number ever of freshers, current undergraduates and graduates, so much so that we had to turn away alumni. Consequently, the formula is being re-thought and, this time, in September, we shall hope to welcome just as many freshers, but also a good number of our members.

Next event, one of our regular debates, but with a change of venue from the Victoire, to the 5ème Cru wine bar, resulting in a subtle change of ambience. The wine bar was convivial, cosy and cheap. Slightly chaotic, and very popular with most of the Cambridge attendees, including the lively group of friends kindly invited by Moez Draief. The motion, “This House believes that the Technological Revolution has brought more good than evil to our communities” was debated for the motion by Christopher Chantry and Andrew Lyndon-Skeggs, and against by Andrew Torrence and Clare Hohler. The latter won!

In November, it was the turn of the university, with a Global Cambridge event for alumni group leaders, followed by a one-day Conference attended by alumni from France, Benelux, Germany and the UK. A useful exchange of ideas and a good source of new members for the Cambridge Society of Paris.

At the start of December, Edward Archer, again, very kindly, arranged Christmas Carols at the Travellers. This has become a regular fixture superbly run by Edward with mulled wine, music by Christopher Wells and team, and all the best loved Christmas Carols. Eagerly anticipated by our members, this event marks the start of Christmas and provides a great gathering of Cambridge, Cambridge, Oxford and friends. Long may this continue; thank you, Edward!

Later in December, the Cambridge Blockbuster! A totally new event. The Cambridge Christmas Party. With 35 outstanding jazz musicians, an attendance of near on 400, glittering and outrageous ‘20s costumes, tap dancing and Charleston, it was Midnight in Paris off the silver screen and into the beautiful Salons Venitiens of the Musée des Arts Forains. Here, to give a flavour, I will leave the words to others: “It was a dream come true” “Last night was like flying through a time machine; wonderful!” “Certainly the best party I have been to since I arrived in Paris” and many more. Yes, it was great and served not a little to show that Cambridge can Party! Have a look on You Tube and, when you do, please click on Subscribe, we need 100 subscribers.

From hedonism to asceticism. From the fabulous Cambridge Christmas Party to an event just as important, and far more so historically, the Cambridge Union Challenge Debate. Earlier, we threw down the gauntlet to the Cambridge Union, challenging them to visit us in Paris to debate a topic of their choice against a team from the Cambridge Society of Paris. To their eternal credit, they accepted without hesitation, the first time ever in their 160-year history outside the UK. The Union team was headed by Jonah Surkes their president, supported by Tom Mc Arthur, their two speakers Penelope Jones and Jali Packer, and guest speaker computer genius, Rand Hindi. Camsoc fielded Edward Archer and myself, plus guest speaker Calum Chace, introduced by Terry Quinn. Thank you, Terry! The debate took place in the exotic Hotel Paiva (otherwise known as the Travellers Club), the motion being “This House believes that we shall have a post human economy run by robots with artificial intelligence within twenty years.” Conclusion; we lost! Quite wrongly you understand but, yes, we lost. However, it was the most fantastic occasion, attended by 100 guests, a landmark in the history of the Cambridge Union Debating Society, and indeed of the Cambridge Society of Paris.

Phew, draw breath, this is becoming a roller-coaster. But the fun and magnitude of events does not diminish. Next, in January, the annual dinner with a splendid turn-out of approximately 80 Cambridge Alumni and guests to listen to Robert Tombs, professor of French history at St John’s and author of “That Sweet Enemy” the relationship between the French and British from the Sun King to the present. Though a leading proponent for Brexit, Professor Tombs was careful not to touch on Brexit, but nevertheless gave us a fascinating and inciteful analysis of the close and paradoxical relationship between the two Countries. Questions followed, ably fielded by Professor Tombs eventually concluding “all of this is what I believe should happen; none of this I fear will happen!”

A complete bonus, a very kind offer from Valerie Hess, a new member of the Society, to conduct a guided tour around Christies at 9 Avenue Matignon. This was a resounding success and one of the most enjoyable events of the year. The eye-catching headline was the chance to view the works from the Rockefeller collection including Picasso’s Young Girl with a Flower Basket, later sold for $115m. But this, though the gem, was certainly not all, and the tour was fascinating for its breadth of interest, including the Hessel Family Collection, Impressionists and Modern Art, the André Level collection and a special demonstration by Valerie explaining the use of ultra violet light in the restoration of oil paintings. Thank you, Valerie, you were a star!

In April, Edward Towne gave us a most interesting talk in a vaulted cellar, below a house once owned by the great grandfather of George Sands, about the Cambridge Spies, focusing on the political influences that had compelled these five upper crust people to .. betray their country.

The Trevor Brown Bursary, instigated by Trevor Brown, the founding president of the Cambridge Society of Paris, is an important facet of the Society, offering bursaries to current Cambridge students visiting France to study French life or culture. However, despite its significance, it is not sufficiently widely known, and we therefore decided to bring it more main-stream by requiring the recipients of the bursaries to give a talk about their projects. Consequently, following the AGM on 22nd May, all four of the latest TBB students, gave a presentation including: Carl Frayne, Exiled French Religious Congregations; Auriane Terki-Mignot, Women’s Work in Industrialised France; Emma Sharples, Medieval Modernisms; and Alice Limb, Royal Collections in 18th C Paris. Fascinating; this policy will be pursued.

Soon thereafter, in May, the Oxford and Cambridge Garden Party, one of the great fixtures in the Camsoc calendar, usually in the glorious gardens of the British Ambassador’s Residence. This year the Garden Party took wings with the addition of the fabulous Fingask Follies, the Glyndebourne of the north (with a dash of Kit and the Widow) founded by Andrew Murray Thriepland, the owner of Fingask Castle. I have received so many enthusiastic comments about this event, and the Follies in particular, not least from Pierre Amouyel-Kent, husband of Oxford president Carol. Thank you all!

Another delightful hardy perennial, Shakespeare in the Shakespeare Garden of the Bois de Boulogne, so capably organised with strawberries and champagne by Camsoc vice president, Clare Hohler. This year The Winter’s Tale, mid-summer in glorious sunshine. We are all very grateful to Clare for organising these joyful Shakespeare evenings.

Finally, another of George Young’s supremely interesting guided tours, this time through the Marais, followed by lunch for the 23 attendees at Bistro Renaissance, Porte St Martin.

Over the summer, the informal and well attended Monthly Drinks at Murphy’s Bar will continue, coordinated for us by Chau Pak-Lee. Thank you, Chau for your sterling work.

That aside, the Cambridge Society of Paris will now go into holiday mode until September. But, thereafter, we have some super plans emerging.

First, the Freshers Party, in new guise, Tuesday 18th September at the Frog and Revolution, 9 rue de la Bastille. The revised format will enable us to give the Freshers more information about Cambridge and leave more space for our members.

We shall aim to arrange a pétanque tournament against Oxford in the Tuileries and then, lest anyone should think that the present president is more interested in Jazz, Follies and Berlin Cabaret (!) the emergence of two new ventures: The Cambridge Cutting Edge Lectures and Glory Days of Paris. These two series of lectures will be important and will form a major aspect of our forthcoming programme. More anon.

But now it’s time for summer holidays, with one last thought: as well as taking part in as many of these activities as possible, is there anything that can be done by members of the Society, outside the work done by the committee? Indeed there is and I shall tell you all about that… another time!

Meanwhile, I am really delighted you are a member of the Cambridge Society of Paris. Thank you, everyone, for your enthusiasm and your support. It has been ‘an exciting year’

With very best wishes,

Andrew Lyndon-Skeggs

President Cambridge Society of Paris

1st July 2018

Cambridge Society Events in the Spring

Dear member

After a short break in February, the diary of events is picking up again, with a couple of “free entry” events in March, plans for a weekend visit in April and dates are now confirmed for the AGM (22nd May) and the Garden Party at the Embassy (31st May). These are different from the dates initially penciled in, and the Fingask Follies event is now rolled into the Garden Party, so please do update your diary.

Add to that the regular Monthly Drinks and there is plenty to choose from.

Wed 7th March 19:00 – Monthly Drinks

Come and join us from 7pm to meet up for an informal evening.  All Oxford and Cambridge Alumni and their friends are warmly welcome. Murphy's-House1

Just mention “Oxbridge” at the bar for a discounted price on the pint of beer. Typical pub food and soft drinks also available.

Murphy’s House – 10 rue de la Chaussée d’Antin, 75009 Paris.  Metro Opéra – RER Auber – vélib: station 2015 rue Louis le Grand.


Sun 18th March 16:00 – Wells Consort – Concert

Tallis, Sheppard, Gesualdo, Purcell, Stainer : Four centuries of music for the Passion in England and Italy.

wells consort


Eglise Notre Dame du Saint Sacrement, 68bis rue de Turenne, 75003 Paris (Métro St Sébastien-Froissart (line 8) or Saint Paul (line 1).Entrance free, with a collection after the concert.



Weds 21st March 13:00 – Guided visit of Christie’s Auction Rooms and Current Exhibitions


We have been invited to a guided tour of Christie’s at 9 avenue Matignon (including the 8 highlights of the legendary Rockefeller collection) at 1pm on Wednesday 21st March. Entrance is free, but numbers are limited to 20-25 in total so if you would like to take part, please contact Registrations will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis.


Sat 24th March 17:00 – The Cancer Research Boat Races

We will be goading our Oxford chums along, cheering the Light Blues as they pull, hopefully, to victory on Saturday 24th March. Come along to the Bowler, rue d’Artois, Paris 8e where we will gather from 5pm to watch both the Women’s and Men’s races. The Women’s Race starts at 17:31 Paris time, and the Men’s Race is at 18:31. Food will also be available afterwards for those who would like to stay on. There is no need to book, just come along and cheer…


As an alternative, if you live in the Saint-Germain-en-Laye area, there will be a gathering at the Bitter End, 20 rue Saint-Pierre, also from 5pm, for a few Happy Hour beers then maybe an early curry in the next-door Indian. If you would like to join in, contact Peter Salinson on

Sat 24th March 19:30 – St Matthew’s Passion at the Théatre des Champs-Elysées

After the Boat Race, why not take in JS Bach’s St Matthew’s Passion. Our members are offered a 30% discount on normal tariffs – you should enter the reduction code GBPASTMATT2403 when making your booking. The performers are all British:


Sarah Tynan soprano
Claudia Huckle contralto
Mark Padmore ténor (L’Evangéliste)
Roderick Williams baryton (Le Christ)
Jessica Cale soprano
Eleanor Minney mezzo-soprano
Hugo Hymas ténor
Matthew Brook baryton-basse

Mark Padmore direction
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Choir of the Age of Enlightenment

Mon 26th March 18:30 – Embassy Alumni Groups Mixer

The Embassy is organising an Alumni Groups Mixer on their terrace on Monday 26th March. The bar will be open from 6.30pm to 8.30pm.


cocktailparty1bannerAs numbers allocated to each group are very limited, the places allocated to our Society will be allocated on a strict first-come, first-served basis and later applications will be put on a waiting list in case the Embassy is able to increase our allocation nearer the date. If you would like to come along, please send an email to as soon as possible. You will get an acknowledgement to confirm whether you have one of the available places or are on the waiting list.

Wed 4th April 19:00 – Monthly Drinks

Come and join us from 7pm to meet up for an informal evening.  All Oxford and Cambridge Alumni and their friends are warmly welcome.

Just mention “Oxbridge” at the bar for a discounted price on the pint of beer. Typical pub food and soft drinks also available.



Murphy’s House – 10 rue de la Chaussée d’Antin, 75009 Paris.  Metro Opéra – RER Auber – vélib: station 2015 rue Louis le Grand.



Tue 17th April 20:00 – The Philarmonia Orchestra at the Théatre des Champs-Elysées

The Philarmonia Orchestra is resident at the South Bank Centre, London and conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen. They are perfoming:



Beethoven Symphonie n° 2
Mahler Symphonie n° 1 « Titan »

Our members are offered a 30% discount on normal tariffs – you should enter the reduction code PHIORCH1704 when making your booking.


Sat 28th and Sun 29th April – Weekend visit to the “Forges de Buffon”

Peter Salinson has put together a visit programme for the last weekend in April, around a visit to the “Forges de Buffon” museum in Buffon near Montbard in Chablis country.


About a two hour drive out of Paris down the A6, you will arrive in Buffon village just after lunch – which you can take on your way down or on arrival in Buffon – for a tour booked at 2:30pm of the museum which represents an 18th Century iron works complex, which employed 500 at its peak. Between the museum visit and dinner it will be possible to visit Monbard, or the castle ruins (and cheese) of Epoisses or the splendid restored medieval chateau of Ancy-le-Franc. Dinner and accommodation are at “Les Maronniers” .


On Sunday, you are free to go sightseeing south to nearby Alesia (Vercingetorix museum), Abbaye de Fontenay (outstanding cistercian domaine) or even Vezelay. Alternatively, North to Chablis (busy busy Sunday market), Auxerre, or even golf at Tanlay. All these places are fairly near to the A6 autoroute on the way home. Each participant will pay their own way, with costs including €8 for the Forges de Buffon, €20-€30 in the restaurant and €70 plus breakfast for the hotel. A full programme will be developed once those members interested have signed up. Please contact Peter on to be added to the list.

Tue 22nd May 18:30 – Annual General Meeting followed by Trevor Brown Bursary student presentations

The Annual General Meeting will take place on Tuesday 22nd May. The venue, in Central Paris, will be confirmed in due course.


After the AGM, we are delighted that four of the five students who benefited from the Trevor Brown Bursary in 2017 will come to give us a presentation of their project work. Not only will this give us insight into their fields of interest, it will also demonstrate the value generated by our Bursary programme. For those who wish to know more about the Trevor Brown Bursary, a brief description is attached.

Thur 31st May – Annual Garden Party at the British Ambassador’s Residence

We are delighted to announce that the Ambassador has again agreed to open his Residence to host the 2018 Garden Party, which will take place in the evening of Thursday 31st May.



This year, it is Cambridge’s turn to organise the event and we have decided to include the Fingask Follies musical review  as its high point. There are still a few details to be sorted out, but expect invitations to be sent out early in April.



Tony Banton

Hon. Secretary

06 25 19 35 31

Cambridge Society of Paris News Bulletin 5

From hedonism to asceticism. From the fabulous Cambridge Christmas Party to the first event of 2018, The Cambridge Union Challenge Debate. And what an event it was, long to be recorded in the annals of the Cambridge Society of Paris and the Grimoire of the Cambridge Union.

To whatever exotic locations the Union may travel in the future, Paris, and the debate against the Cambridge Society of Paris, will rest forever the first occasion, in its 160-year history, on which the Cambridge Union debated outside the UK.

When I threw down the gauntlet and challenged the Union to a debate on our home territory, here in Paris, the response from the Union was immediate, enthusiastic, and positive. Very impressive.

The Union team was headed by Jonah Surkes, their president, supported by Tom McArthur, Vice President, plus Penelope Jones and Jali Packer their chosen speakers.

The event was held on Saturday 27th January 2018 in the exotic salon of the Hôtel Païva (of silver bath fame) at 25 Avenue des Champs Elysées, debating the motion “This house believes that we shall have a post human economy run by robots with artificial intelligence within twenty years.”

In support of the motion, the Cambridge Society of Paris, through Edward Archer and myself, plus our guest speaker, writer, journalist and futurologist, Calum Chace. Against the motion the Cambridge Union, through Jali and Penny and their guest speaker, computer programmer, founder of Snips and, elected as a TR35 by the MIT Technology Review and as a “30 under 30” by Forbes, Rand Hindi.

Suffice to say that .. we lost! Maybe, with a slight adjustment of the wording. Maybe with a closer adherence to the core topic, the result .. well “he would say that wouldn’t he!” Well done the Cambridge Union.

In twenty years or perhaps fifty years’ time, we will know the answer. Meanwhile, the debate was an outstanding success. A benchmark in the history of CamSoc and the Union.

I would like to thank everyone for their help and, in particular, Edward and Anne Archer for inviting several of the Union members to stay, and for hosting such a magnificent dinner the night before. With so many young holders of Cambridge Firsts around us, I have seldom known such interesting post dinner discussion.

A short video of the debate has been up-loaded to our new You Tube Channel, which can be visited via:  When you look at the video, could you also please click on Subscribe to become a subscriber. We want to create a dedicated name for the Channel but cannot do so until we have 100 subscribers. When I last looked we were at 58. Please help us to get to 100. No cost or obligation involved.

With best wishes,

Andrew Lyndon-Skeggs

President, Cambridge Society of Paris

11th February 2018