Town twinning


Ealing has enjoyed informal town twinning links with Marcq en Baroeul in France since 1978. In 1991 the town twinning relationship was formalised and marked by the signing of a declaration by the mayors of the two municipalities/boroughs. Marcq en Baroeul has a population of 36,000.


Marcq en Baroeul is a town of 36,000 inhabitants situated on the river Marque near the city of Lille in the 'department' (county) Nord. With good access to major motorways, the northern coastal ports of Calais and Dunkirk can be reached in about and hour, and Paris, at 213km (133 miles), in about two. There are also excellent rail links by high-speed train to Paris, Brussels and the coast.


The town of Marcq en Baroeul has its origins in medieval times prior to the year 1000, and traces of Roman habitation have been discovered. During its history Marcq has been subject to the ups and down suffered by the Flanders region, from the Wars of Religion of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to the two World Wars of our own century. However, it has also seen happier times; in the eighteenth century its marker gardening of vegetables earned it the title 'The Garden of Lille' and this agricultural activity continues to this day. The nineteenth century saw the development of the local textile industries, aided first by transportation by canal and later by road and rail.

Marcq today

Marcq en Baroeul is a pleasant spacious town, and combines the advantages of the town with the charm of the countryside. Its economy ranges from high-tech service and manufacturing industries with the presence of world famous companies such as ICI and Rank Xerox, to agriculture, with one third of the town's area still classified as rural land.

The local amenities of Marcq en Baroeul include a swimming pool, sports stadium, golf course and a famous horseracing course, the Hippodrome des Flandres.

The town has an active cultural life - among the town's many schools is the School of Music and Dramatic Art, housed in an impressive nineteenth century church of St Vincentsis - the venue for concerts and local festivals.

Marcq and Ealing

Since 1978 there have been various civic visits and social, cultural and educational exchanges and in recent years Ealing's town twinning association, The Friends of Marcq en Baroeul, has organised a number of joint activities with its French counterpart, Les Amis d'Ealing. These include civic visits, social, cultural and educational exchanges.

The Friends of Marcq-en-Baroeul (Ealing’s French Town Twinning organisation) has been key in the successful development of a rich and diverse programme of joint activities with their French counterpart Les Amis d’Ealing. The events and activities have focused on cultural and linguistic exchange.

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