HELENSBURGH is preparing to roll out the red carpet to a delegation of French visitors from this weekend as the town looks to set up a brand new 'twinning' arrangement.

Le Taillan-Médoc, in Bordeaux, is sending seven people, including two from the mayor's office, to arrive in the town on Saturday for a packed week of tours, meetings and events.

Helensburgh Community Council (HCC) has been keen for some time to forge international links, and the wine capital of Bordeaux then announced they were popping by.

It comes ahead of new direct flights starting in July between the region and Glasgow, and HCC members see the six days of events as opening opportunities for schools and sports exchanges as well as business links.

The intinerary sees the delegation arriving at Helensburgh Central station on Saturday afternoon, where they'll be met by HCC members before heading to the RIVA Boutique Hotel for their stay.

On Saturday night, Argyll and Bute Council are hosting a ceilidh at Helensburgh Civic Centre to give the group a traditionally Scottish welcome, complete with music by Crowded Croft. Tickets are still on sale, now at £8.

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On Sunday, they will take in the cherry blossoms on the town's much-admired street trees on a guided walk of what was recently named the best place in Scotland to see the trees in bloom.

The tour will also take them past the home of the inventor of TV, John Logie Baird, now a private dwelling house.

More heritage is the focus of Sunday afternoon, when the group will take in a tour of Hill House and the 'Box' protecting the building from the elements.

Hermitage Academy will welcome the delegates on Monday morning, and a civic reception follows in the afternoon, with a presentation by both communities to learn about each other and a display of Scottish dancing.

Depute Provost of Argyll and Bute Councillor Liz McCab will welcome the party.

The delegation will visit Lomond School on Tuesday, and on Wednesday take a tour of the Clydeside Distillery in Glasgow.

Finally, on Thursday, there will be a visit to the Helensburgh Leisure Centre, and later a farewell at La Jupe French Wine Bar.

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HCC member Tariq Durrani, who has spearheaded the potential pairing between the two communities, told the Advertiser: "The visit by the Le Taillan Delegation to explore collaboration opportunities will, we hope, open the door for exchanges, school visits, sports exchanges, cultural events, business opportunities, tourism promotion, learning from Bordeaux innovation and entrepreneurial initiatives, and the work on climate change mitigation and adaptation that may benefit Argyll and Bute.

"All this has been given greater impetus with the opening of direct flights from Glasgow to Bordeaux from July 2023."

Tickets for Saturday evening's ceilidh can be ordered online from Eventbrite.