Any aliens planning a drive-by over Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the town famous for its wine, had better think twice.
The mayor of the town in the Vaucluse department has refused to lift a 62-year-old ban on the “flying over, landing, or taking off of flying saucers” in the area.
The 1954 decree came soon after a man in northern France claimed to have seen two beings who looked like “deep sea divers” coming from a “cigar-shaped” space ship.
The former mayor of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Lucien Young, issued the following decree at the time:
“Any aircraft, known as flying saucer or flying cigar, which should land on the territory of the community will be immediately held in custody.”
And the rule book won't change any time soon for the town, which is famous for its vineyards.
Photo: jean-louis Zimmermann/Flickr
“I'm not going to touch the ban,” current mayor Claude Avril told France Bleu.
“It spices things up a bit. It creates a harmless kind of buzz and no one is getting tricked.”
Indeed, “making a buzz” appears to have been the main reason the former mayor introduced the ban, according to his son, Elie Jeune.
“At that time, people were talking a lot about extra-terrestrials and the unknown, it was in fashion, and there were loads of stories circulating,” he said.
“He wanted to make a bit of an advertisement for Châteauneuf. It was an excellent publicity stunt… and free.”
And the idea appeared to have worked, with journalists from all over the world coming to interview the mayor throughout the fifties.
To this day, the story still gets traction, most recently with a vineyard in California naming their wine “Cigare Volante” – French for Flying Cigar.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape Photo: GoogleMaps