The pretty village of Coligny is situated 20 kilometres north of Bourg-en-Bresse in the Rhône-Alpes region in the east of the country.
Local newspaper Le Progrès reported that on Saturday evening the mayor, Jean Bernadac, held a private party for 100 people to celebrate 40 years of marriage.
The private party became a public affair when, just after midnight, fireworks were let off in the village square followed by the ringing of the church bells.
The newspaper reported that the local priest was part of the celebrations and felt like offering his own show of support for the mayor’s ruby anniversary.
Sleep-deprived villagers were not too pleased at finding themselves part of the celebrations.
“I was still watching TV but my husband had gone to bed. It woke him up,” said one local on radio station Europe 1. “We heard the bangs, like gunfire…then the church bells started ringing. We thought perhaps a truck carrying explosives had had an accident and the bells were being rung to alert the fire brigade.”
The mayor was unrepentant about his sudden waking of his villagers.
“What tight-asses we are in France,” the mayor told Le Progrès. “It’s crazy that you can’t have a party once every 40 years!”