‘Very Stupid’ village in France honoured for its silly name

The village of "Very Stupid" (Trécon) has officially been inducted as a member of the French towns and villages with funny names.

'Very Stupid' village in France honoured for its silly name
The Trécon church: Photo: François Collard/WikiCommons
It might sound like a Monty Python sketch, but this weekend saw the annual convention of the association of French villages with funny names.
They met, rather aptly, in the village of Marans (which sounds like the French word for “funny”, marrant).  
During a weekend of festivities, the convention added Trécon, from the département of Marne in north eastern France, to its list of other towns with silly names. 
Georges Leherle, the mayor of “Very Stupid” was proud to be named as the 39th member of the group.  
“I'm always happy to tell people where I live, I can't deny it,” he told Le Parisien. 
“And you know, despite the name of our town, we're no stupider than anyone else,” he said. 
Trécon, in case you missed it, sounds exactly like “très con” which means “really dumb” or “very stupid” in English. 
The mayor said that it wasn't uncommon for people to steal his village's road signs – something that many other villages with similarly strange names can relate to. 
For example, the association already includes some howlingly ridiculous towns like “Dumbass”, “My Nipple”, and “Naked Body” (Mariol, Monteton, and Corps-Nud respectively).
The association, known in France as the “Association des Communes de France aux Noms Burlesque et Chantants” has been meeting annually since 2003 to exchange stories, local products, and generally have a chuckle.
The aim is to make the most of the funny town names to promote the towns and hopefully bring in some tourists.
The group now boasts 39 villages as members – here are some of our favourites. 
Vinsobres – Translating to “sobre wine”, this town stands in the Drôme department of south east France.
Monteton – The Village of “My Nipple” is in the Lot et Garonne departement of south western France. Its mayor is a proud member of the Association of Funny French Village Names.

Corps-Nuds – This name means 'naked bodies' and apparently visitors regularly strip off to have a photo taken with the town's official welcome sign.
Poil, or “hair”. This village in Brittany sees authorities splashing out regularly to replace village signs pinched by thieves. “A Poil” means “to Poil” but it also means “naked” hence the reason visitors keep stealing the village signs.
Photo: Association des Communes de France aux Noms Burlesque et Chantants
And a special mention to the town of Orgy, which sounds funny in English, but less so for the French. Here's a reader pic from the town itself.

To revisit our gallery of the ten funniest town and village names in France, click here

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Le Havre rules: How to talk about French towns beginning with Le, La or Les

If you're into car racing, French politics or visits to seaside resorts you are likely at some point to need to talk about French towns with a 'Le' in the title. But how you talk about these places involves a slightly unexpected French grammar rule. Here's how it works.

An old WW2 photo taken in the French port town of Le Havre.
An old WW2 photo taken in the French port town of Le Havre. It can be difficult to know what prepositions to use for places like this - so we have explained it for you. (Photo by AFP)

If you’re listening to French chat about any of those topics, at some point you’re likely to hear the names of Mans, Havre and Touquet bandied about.

And this is because French towns that have a ‘Le’ ‘La’ or ‘Les’ in the title lose them when you begin constructing sentences. 

As a general rule, French town, commune and city names do not carry a gender. 

So if you wanted to describe Paris as beautiful, you could write: Paris est belle or Paris est beau. It doesn’t matter what adjectival agreement you use. 

For most towns and cities, you would use à to evoke movement to the place or explain that you are already there, and de to explain that you come from/are coming from that location:

Je vais à Marseille – I am going to Marseille

Je suis à Marseille – I am in Marseille 

Je viens de Marseille – I come from Marseille 

But a select few settlements in France do carry a ‘Le’, a ‘La’ or a ‘Les’ as part of their name. 

In this case the preposition disappears when you begin formulating most sentences, and you structure the sentence as you would any other phrase with a ‘le’, ‘la’ or ‘les’ in it.


Le is the most common preposition for two names (probably something to do with the patriarchy) with Le Havre, La Mans, Le Touquet and the town of Le Tampon on the French overseas territory of La Réunion (more on that later)

A good example of this is Le Havre, a city in northern France where former Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe, who is tipped to one day run for the French presidency, serves as mayor. 

Edouard Philippe’s twitter profile describes him as the ‘Maire du Havre’, using a masculine preposition

Here we can see that his location is Le Havre, and his Twitter handle is Philippe_LH (for Le Havre) but when he comes to describe his job the Le disappears.

Because Le Havre is masculine, he describes himself as the Maire du Havre rather than the Maire de Havre (Anne Hidalgo, for example would describe herself as the Maire de Paris). 

For place names with ‘Le’ in front of them, you should use prepositions like this:

Ja vais au Touquet – I am going to Le Touquet

Je suis au Touquet – I am in Le Touquet 

Je viens du Touquet – I am from Le Touquet 

Je parle du Touquet – I am talking about Le Touquet

Le Traité du Touquet – the Le Touquet Treaty


Some towns carry ‘La’ as part of their name. La Rochelle, the scenic town on the west coast of France known for its great seafood and rugby team, is one such example.

In French ‘à la‘ or ‘de la‘ is allowed, while ‘à le‘ becomes au and ‘de le’ becomes du. So for ‘feminine’ towns such as this, you should use the following prepositions:

Je vais à La Rochelle – I am going to La Rochelle

Je viens de La Rochelle – I am coming from La Rochelle 


And some places have ‘Les’ in front of their name, like Les Lilas, a commune in the suburbs of Paris. The name of this commune literally translates as ‘The Lilacs’ and was made famous by Serge Gainsbourg’s song Le Poinçonneur des Lilas, about a ticket puncher at the Metro station there. 

When talking about a place with ‘Les’ as part of the name, you must use a plural preposition like so:

Je suis le poinçonneur des Lilas – I am the ticket puncher of Lilas 

Je vais aux Lilas – I am going to Les Lilas

Il est né aux Lilas – He was born in Les Lilas  


Islands follow more complicated rules. 

If you are talking about going to one island in particular, you would use à or en. This has nothing to do with gender and is entirely randomised. For example:

Je vais à La Réunion – I am going to La Réunion 

Je vais en Corse – I am going to Corsica 

Generally speaking, when talking about one of the en islands, you would use the following structure to suggest movement from the place: 

Je viens de Corse – I am coming from Corsica 

For the à Islands, you would say:

Je viens de La Réunion – I am coming from La Réunion 

When talking about territories composed of multiple islands, you should use aux.

Je vais aux Maldives – I am going to the Maldives. 

No preposition needed 

There are some phrases in French which don’t require any a preposition at all. This doesn’t change when dealing with ‘Le’ places, such as Le Mans – which is famous for its car-racing track and Motorcycle Grand Prix. Phrases that don’t need a preposition include: 

Je visite Le Mans – I am visiting Le Mans

J’aime Le Mans – I like Le Mans

But for a preposition phrase, the town becomes simply Mans, as in Je vais au Mans.