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Brest falls out over Miss France contest

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Brest falls out over Miss France contest
TF1 Screenshot
10:53 CEST+02:00

A political row has broken out in the scenic Brittany town of Brest after a payment was made from public funds to host this year's Miss France beauty pageant.

A town of 150,000 inhabitants sitting on the north-west tip of France, Brest is the home of last year's winner, Laury Thilleman. 

Le Parisien newspaper reported that the town council, headed by the Socialist mayor François Cuillandre, has paid production company Endemol €237,000 ($332,000) to bring the final to Brest. 

The opposition centre-right UMP party supported the payment but other parties, including the Greens, are outraged by the move.

"Public money is not there to subsidize private companies that, moreover, make huge profits," said Christian Bucher of Europe Ecologie-les Verts. 

"As well as that, the way this company uses images of women raises questions."

Members of the centrist Young Democrats (Jeunes Démocrates) agreed.

"These officials prefer to fund sequins and illusion rather than support local actors who really bring the town to life," they said in a statement.

The mayor said the payment represented a good use of public funds.

"This is an investment in communication," he said. "Endemol has promised at least eight minutes of promotion for the town. It makes economic sense."

He added that the 33 regional winners as well as production teams and journalists will be in the town from November 17th until the competition takes place on December 3rd, bringing huge benefits to the town's hotel and catering industries.

The Miss France contest was created in 1927 and was first televised in 1986. This year's final will be televised by private channel TF1.

Local residents seemed less concerned about the fuss, showing their enthusiasm for the contest when 4,000 audience tickets sold out within half an hour.

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