The very first Rotary club created in France was that of Paris, formerly known as « Paris-Alliés », an unofficial club that allowed different Allied Forces soldiers to meet, starting August 1918, under the guidance of the Indianapolis club.
In Normandy, two port cities started their own Rotary club in 1928, within three months of each other, first Le Havre quickly followed by Cherbourg. Seven years later, Caen starts its own Rotary club, under the tutelage of Saint-Malo and the high patronage of Paris and Le Havre.
Before the Second World War, three more clubs will be added to the list, with Rouen, Dieppe and Evreux, but even as 1939 starts Normandy still only counts a grand total of six Rotary clubs.
The Rotary having been entirely forbidden by Nazi Germany, the seventh club in Eu only becomes reality in 1948, followed by Alençon and Avranches in 1949.
Since 1950, the pace of new Rotary clubs additions has greatly improved. The two most recent creations were those of Mont Saint Aignan and the e-club of Normandy, chartered on June 24th 2016. District 1640 now unites 1,695 rotarians.
The Youth Exchange program in Normandy, currently under the tutelage of chairwoman Elisabeth Huart, shows no sign of slowing down : we are the number one district in France in total youth exchange students.
During the summer of 2017, the district and its clubs have sponsored 42 short exchange applications and 13 summer camps. 32 long exchanges were concluded for the 2017-2018 year, to all corners of the planet.
At the same time, the district welcomed 32 young students in Normandy. Many meet-ups organized by the youth team of the district allow them to see each other regularly. Amongst these field trips, the integration weekend in Houlgate, the famous weekend in Mont-Saint-Michel, the Christmas market in Rouen or the organisation of their own World Flavors Dinner. To crown all this of course, the end-of-year bus trips through France and Europe!
Youth Exchange simply is one of the key Rotary actions in Normandy !