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TRIPS TO FRANCE

Since its founding, the Association des Dubé d’Amérique (ADA) has responded to wishes expressed by several members and has organized two trips to our ancestors’ land. To ensure the success of these travel activities, our president Richard invested lots of efforts in their planning and development. Of course, the itinerary for these trips had to include a visit to La Chapelle-Thémer, in Vendée, and to Ménéac, in Brittany. The importance of both these “pilgrimage sites” for Dubés is described in great detail under the Our Ancestors tab.

Trip from June 1 to 14, 1998

After flying with Air Transat, 28 participants arrived at Charles-de-Gaulle Airport in Paris on June 1. The first leg of the trip consisted of social visits in Normandy and Brittany, both in the northwest of France. However, the main objective of the trip was to establish contact with the Dubés from France and to visit the sites closely associated with our ancestors. The first historical stop, on June 2, was made at the church in Saint-Nicaise, city of Rouen, where Marie Campion was baptized in 1654. The second stop was at the Ménéac commune, on June 5. The visitors felt deep emotions as they accessed these sites and met the owners of the “manoir du Bé,” Jean-Luc Cousin and his wife. Afterward, during a ceremony held at Ménéac’s town hall, Louis Dubé from Quebec City delivered salutations on behalf of his namesakes from America and stressed the cousin-like relationships linking us by heart and mind to the citizens of that commune. In response, mayor André Perrachon stated that Dubés will always receive a heartfelt welcome in their ancestors’ native land. The final stop of the day was in Vannes, south of Ménéac, for a dinner attended by some fifty persons.

Three days later, the Dubé visitors met Marcel Dubé in Vendrennes, Vendée. According to his own genealogical research, this 83-year old patriarch was also a descendant of Jean Dubé and Renée Suzanne, Mathurin’s parents. He warmly greeted his visitors in his sumptuous cathedral-like property. On that day, the final stop was in Puy-du-Fou: amid a crowd of 14,000 spectators, the visitors attended a large-scale performance highlighting the major events of the history of Vendée, Mathurin’s native land.

On June 7, the visitors experienced powerful emotions in La Chapelle-Thémer. Upon their arrival, the visitors saw some two hundred persons standing outside the little church to say welcome. The program included a mass celebrated by two French priests and Rev. Marcel Dubé, who was accompanying our group. The latter referred to the colossal made‑in­‑America progeny, more than 15,000 Dubés according to the estimates available at the time, descending from the young man who had left that land three hundred years before. A commemorative plaque brought by the Association des Dubé was affixed to the wall of the baptismal font in the spirit of commemoration. After this ceremony, the travellers met people from neighbouring communes. They were introduced Mr. Albert Normand, Yvette Dubé’s spouse and veteran of the Second World War. In the latter capacity, he received solid handshakes in appreciation.

Thereafter, the trip became more akin to traditional tourism. The detour to Reims and the final stay in Paris increased the ADA’s photogra­phic archives. 

The Founding of the Association des Dubé du Grand-Ouest (ADGO)

One of the stated objectives of the trips to France was to entertain contacts with our “native land’s cousins.” Before the first trip, Charles-Henri had successfully contacted Dubés from France. As part of the preparatory activities carried out for the first trip, such efforts were intensified. Messages were published in the newspapers throughout Vendée to inform the population that our group of travellers would visit France, particularly La Chapelle-Thémer. Therefore, the presence of 200 persons in that place to greet our representatives was not a spontaneous phenomenon. Philippe Dubé, informed in that manner, was one of the participants at that meeting and since then has become our major interlocutor in France.

Shortly after the visit by our first group of travellers, the Dubés from France began the process of founding their own family association. After a full year spent mobilizing their namesakes, during which Philippe was named president and Jacques vice-president of the unofficial group, the Dubés from France called a meeting to be held in La Chapelle-Thémer on September 12, 1999, for the official founding of the l'ADGO. The Dubés from America received an invitation to join the participants for this important event. Richard, his brother Laurier and his nephew Sébastien answered the call and represented the ADA, bringing their support to the 130 participants assembled for this event extensively covered by regional medias.

Since then, close contact has been maintained between the two associations thanks to their respective presidents. The Dubés from France visited us when we held our great celebrations in 2000. Conversely, they regularly invite us to attend their annual meetings, but distance prevents us from accepting every year. However, the trip described below was made in 2003 as a significant response to one of these invitations.

Trip from September 3 to 17, 2003

Our French cousins’ invitation was met favourably by 29 of our members, who participated in the trip organized by the ADA. Walter Dubé was appointed the Association’s spokesperson. Early in the evening of September 3, the group met at the airport in Montreal, took some time to get better acquainted and boarded an Air France plane. For this trip, the travellers preferred to start with a tour of the southern part of France: Nice, Monaco, Avignon, Nîmes. From Bordeaux, the group travelled north through fabulous sites, such as Carcassonne, Rocamadour and Lascaux. Time was found for some tasting in Cognac, for a brief stop in Brouage, Champlain’s native land, and for a visit to La Rochelle, Mathurin’s probable port of departure. All of these visits made a very pleasant first leg for our second trip. In La Chapelle-Thémer, our ancestor Mathurin’s birthplace, the travellers visited the small parish church where they could admire the commemorative plaque offered by the Association des Dubé on its first trip. Also worth mentioning, they visited the cemetery, in which there is still a visible Dubé presence. 

This time, the main family meeting with our French cousins was held in Vannes, Brittany. The Association des Dubé du Grand-Ouest warmly welcomed the group of overseas Dubés. Their president Philippe underlined very eloquently the tight bond between the Dubés on each side of the Atlantic Ocean. Participants exchanged ideas and opinions while eating an excellent meal, and their songs that evening enriched many a bird’s repertory. After brunch the following day, all the Dubés gathered for a magnificent boat tour of the Gulf of Morbihan. The group also stopped at the “manoir du Bé” in Ménéac and paid their respects to the owner, Mr. Cousin, who warmly greeted this “Dubé visit” that is becoming a recurring event.

The group’s last stop was in and around Paris, a city with thousands upon thousands of points of interest. The travellers proudly remember the warm relationships between the members of the group led by their formidable guide and tour manager, Marie-Hélène Hébert. They still meet for activities organized by the Association, as they want to remember the excellent companionship, the joyful exchanges and the great vitality displayed throughout this truly familial trip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRIP TO FRANCE (1998)










































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FOUNDING OF THE ADGO








TRIP TO FRANCE (2003)

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