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The 12 worst places in France you could possibly live
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The 12 worst places in France you could possibly live

The Local · 3 Mar 2016, 17:30

Published: 03 Mar 2016 17:30 GMT+01:00

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Let's face it who'd want to live in a village called Misery?

This one's a double whammy; not only is 'misery' a negative term in English, but in French, misère means poverty or destitution. Still, approximately 137 people can proudly say 'j'habite à Misery' and you too could experience Misery if you travel to the Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie region.


The town in the Île-de-France region claims it gets its name from the Latin 'stagnum' (pond), as apparently there are many in the area. However, it's more likely to make Brits think of dirty marks - not to mention the London commuter town Staines, whose reputation was ruined by Sacha Baron Cohen's character Ali G. 


Fancy living in the arse end of nowhere?

It's a mystery as to why this small town in Burgundy has kept its decidedly unglamorous name, since 'anus' has the same meaning in French as in English. But apparently the inhabitants aren't bothered by having to tell people they live in Anus.

Each to their own.


'On the dole' is a British term to describe someone collecting unemployment benefits, so moving here might seem like a bad omen for your career - on the bright side, France is a better place than most to be unemployed. More than 25,000 people call Dole home, and its main claim to fame is as the setting for French comedy Happiness is in the Field (Le Bonheur est dans le pre), telling the story of a toilet seat factory-owner with family troubles.


'Dive' is English slang for a run-down, cheap and dirty area. Sometimes used in a positive sense by hipsters or college students who prefer 'dive bars' to overpriced clubs, nonetheless it doesn't sound like somewhere you'd choose to live. Having said that, we're sure that Dives in the Oise department, as well as Dives-sur-mer in north-western France, are much nicer than their names suggest. 


Life really is a bitch here and the locals will never stop bad-mouthing you.

The town of Bitche in eastern France, near the border with Germany, lies in an area known as ‘Bitche Country’, or ‘Bitscherland’ in German. In French, the inhabitants of the town are referred to as ‘bitchois’, suggesting they'd make pretty unfriendly neighbours.

The town has a long military history but unfortunately most English speakers won't be able to stop sniggering at the name long enough to learn about it. Bitche has even featured as an answer on British comedy panel show QI.


Photo: DPalma01/Wikimedia commons

Living in Angers might have a seriously negative impact on your blood pressure.

Angers is a relatively large French city with 147,305 inhabitants, universities and museums. Its name comes from the Latin word Andecavi, which was the name given to people from the region, and through linguistic change it has become 'Angers' in today's French. However, an English speaker might not be too happy about living there due to the negative connotations of the name in English - the idea might even anger them.

La Grave

Surely only someone particularly morbid would enjoy living in a place called 'Grave'?

Even in French, the meaning is 'serious', often used in a negative sense about an illness or injury. But 487 people live in La Grave, and the area is popular with off-piste skiers and ice climbers who apparently enjoy having not just one, but both feet in the grave.


You'd have to wear wellies all year round if you lived in Pis.

Pis, in the Gers department of south-western France, is encircled by the river Auroue, and gets 180 millimetres of rainfall each year. Although the French word 'pisse' has the same meaning as English 'piss', the French tendency to drop final consonants probably means they don't see the schoolboy humour in this town name.


Story continues below…

The name of the town says it all really.

'Crap' is one of England's most commonly-used swear words, and a series of books called Crap Towns chronicles the worst places to live in Britain. We wonder if Craponne would feature in a French edition? More than 10,000 people live there and it hosts an annual country and western music festival.


The town where the residents need a good feed.

Whether used to describe someone who is unhealthily thin, or a cut of meat that doesn't actually consist of much meat, 'bony' is usually used in a negative context in English. But it is also the name of a small French village in Picardy, home to just over 100 residents.


Where the kids are constantly doing homework.

Living in a town called Essay would give most English speakers flashbacks to dull homework and exam panic - surely you'd never feel truly at ease. Though it's home to only 513 people, Essay is much more exciting than its name suggests; it is known for its motorsports tracks and also offers go-karting.



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