GALLERY: France’s funniest village names

Believe it or not last weekend saw the annual convention of the association of French villages with funny names. So to both entertain you and help you learn a little French slang here's a selection of some of its proud members. For some it's not always a laughing matter.

GALLERY: France's funniest village names
Two villages in France which are proud members of the Association of French villages with funny names.

It includes members like “Dumbass” and “My Nipple” and it meets once a year in France to exchange stories, local products, and generally have a chuckle.

It is of course the association of French communes with funny names or the Association des Communes de France aux Noms Burlesque et Chantants as it is called in French.

For the latest get together held just last weekend, hundreds of officials from bizarrely named towns and villages across France met at Vinsobres (sober wine) in the Rhône Alps region of south east France.

The group has been meeting on an annual basis ever since 2003 and now counts 43 communes among its proud members.


“Our slogan is ‘take advantage of our name to be better known’,” the association’s president Patrick Lasseube told The Local this week.

“We had around 600 officials in Vinsobres and thousands more took part in the demonstration where we show the different products from different communes,” he added.

Although Lasseube insists the association’s main aim to have fun at their own expense, the names of certain villages are proving to be so popular that officials are no longer seeing the funny side.

“The mayor of Poil is getting a bit fed up as people keep stealing the village signs,” Lasseube said. “It is getting to be quite expensive for the mayor now.”

Whereas Poil simply means "hair" in French, "a poil" means "naked". So" tous a poil" can either mean "everyone to [the village of] Poil" or alternatively "everyone naked", which is why the sign keeps being stolen.

However some village names mean they are faced with a different type of problem, Lasseube explains.

“At Corps-Nud (Naked body) people are always taking their clothes off and getting their photo taken next to the sign. It’s funny. It’s a just a joke, but we don’t want anything vulgar, we are totally against vulgarity,” said Lasseube.

Next year the association plans to meet in Mariol (dumbass). Asked if officials would have a bit of fun and respect the name of the village when the event is eventually at Corps Nud, Lasseube refused to commit, rather sensibly saying “It depends what season it is.”

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France’s mystery rooftop panther stolen from zoo

A black panther rescued from rooftops near the northern city of Lille last week has been stolen from the zoo where it was taken after capture, officials said.

France's mystery rooftop panther stolen from zoo
Photo: AFP/ Sapeurs Pompiers du Nord

The feline was seized overnight from the zoo in Maubeuge near the Belgian border, the city's mayor, Arnaud Decagny, told AFP on Tuesday.

“This animal was the only target,” Decagny said, adding that “considerable efforts” were made to force locks and avoid security systems.

Zoo personnel are worried about the young panther's health, “which is rather delicate because he lacks strength,” the mayor added, saying the animal was just a few months old and weighed between 25 and 30kg.

The panther after its capture. Photo League Protectrice des Animaux de la Nord de France/AFP

The panther was going to be transferred to a centre specialised in rehabilitating wild animals that had been domesticated.

Firefighters caught the cat last Wednesday as it roamed rooftops in Armentieres after escaping through the window of a private apartment believed to have been its home.

The panther's owner is thought to have escaped through the same window, for fear of being charged with illegally harbouring a wild animal.

Police have not located the fugitive owner, who could face charges of endangering the public, which is punishable by up to a year in prison and €15,000 in fines, Decagny said.