A camel wreaked havoc in the town of Sarlat in Dordogne after escaping during a Christmas market.

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Rampaging camel causes Christmas market chaos

A camel wreaked havoc in the town of Sarlat in Dordogne after escaping during a Christmas market.

The animal, more accurately a dromedary called Pépette, escaped as it was being pushed into its van to go home. It ran 1,5 km through the town, rushing down stairs, going the wrong way up one-way streets and hitting a police car.

“Suddenly, I saw a dromedary appear and hit our left wing. There was nothing I could do. Luckily I wasn’t driving fast,” policeman Laurent Legal told daily Metro France. Pépette, 500-kg beast, smashed Legal’s windscreen with its neck and head.

After hitting the police car, the renegade dromedary stood up and continued its race through the town for another 30 minutes. People meeting Pépette on its way rushed away screaming for help.

The local police and the camel driver at last encircled the animal and escorted it back to the Christmas village.

Pépette and its mate Cléopatre were the main attraction in the town’s Christmas village. The local tourist office says Pépette ran away because the numerous spectators had frightened it.


Will anywhere in France get a white Christmas this year?

A white Christmas might be at the top of many people's festive wish list but will it actually come true for anyone in France this year?

Haut-Koenigsbourg castle in Orschwiller, eastern France.
Haut-Koenigsbourg castle in Orschwiller, eastern France. Non-mountainous parts of the country will not see snow this year. (Photo by PATRICK HERTZOG / AFP)

If you’re in France and have been dreaming of a white Christmas, you are probably out of luck. 

It has been freezing in recent days with temperatures falling to a low of -33.4C in Jura on Wednesday morning, but the cold spell isn’t going to last. 

Temperatures across the country will hover around the 10C level in most of France by the afternoon on December 25th according to Météo France, with parts of the country including Brittany and some parts of eastern France experiencing rainfall. 

By the afternoon on Christmas Day, the chances of snow look extremely limited. Source: www.meteofrance.com

On Saturday, there will be some snowfall, but only if you are high in the mountains at an altitude of 1,800-2,000m. On Sunday, places above 1,500m could also see snow – but this rules out the vast majority of the country. 

Roughly half the country will see sunshine over the weekend. The French weather channel said that this Christmas could be among the top five or six warmest since 1947. 

Last year, Météo France cautioned: “While we often associate snow with Christmas in the popular imagination, the probability of having snow in the plains [ie not in the mountains] during this period is weak in reality.”

One of the last great Christmas snowfalls, outside of France’s mountainous areas, came in 2010 when 3-10 cm of snow fell in Lille, Rouen and Paris. In Strasbourg, 26cm fell. 

On Christmas Day in 1996, 12 cm of snow fell in Angers – ironically, this was also the day that the film, Y’aura t’il de la neige à Noël? (Will there never be snow at Christmas?) was released. It had been ten years since France had seen such snowfall outside of the Alps and Pyrenees. 

Météo France directly attributes declining rates of Christmas snowfall to climate change. Compared to 50 years ago, even the Alps receives the equivalent one less month of snowfall per year.