A Glance around France: West Nile fever on the Riviera and a Bordeaux bus revolution

Here's a look at some of the main stories from around France on Tuesday.

A Glance around France: West Nile fever on the Riviera and a Bordeaux bus revolution
Photo: AFP
A driver was arrested between Rennes and Redon in Brittany after taking a rather unusual approach to the highway code. 
The drunk 32-year-old was picked up the local gendarmes for speeding… as well as driving with the bonnet of his car fully raised. 

Southern France 
People in southern France would be wise to steer clear from mosquitoes if a recent health warning is anything to go by. 
According to health authorities in the southern French Alpes-Maritimes department, West Nile fever, which is a viral infection typically spread by mosquitoes, has been spreading around the Mediterranean.
So far, 20 cases of the virus have been recorded in two months and the regional health authority (ARS) has advised everyone to protect themselves against mosquito bites especially the vulnerable.

Eastern France 
There was some good news for women's rights advocates in the east of France on Tuesday.
From October 1st there will be 15 new housing units in the eastern French city of Besançon for violent spouses, allowing victims of domestic violence to stay in their homes instead removing the aggressive partner. 
“The goal is to reverse what was seen in the past when a woman was forced to leave her home in an emergency,” said Besançon's public prosecutor Etienne Manteaux. 
Transport authorities in Bordeaux have announced the introduction of a major new measure to tackle the scourge of sexual harassment and abuse on the city's public transport system.
Bordeaux is set to adopt 'on demand bus stops' across its network by the end of the year, becoming just the second city in France to do so. 
The move, which will see passengers able to hop off the bus even when the vehicle isn't at a designated stop after 10 pm, has been trialed in the city since last winter and will be rolled out to other lines from November.  

Scallops are making headlines once again, but this time their newsworthiness isn't to do with the war being fought over them
According to a new report, there have never been so many scallops in the English Channel, with a record number caught in the Baie de Seine off the Normandy coast this year. 
“In 2018, the situation in the baie de Seine is excellent, ” scientists said. “And the total usable amount of shells is at an all-time high, reaching almost 63,600 tonnes, far ahead of the 2017 level (nearly 48,600 tonnes) and more than twice the previous record of 2012.” 


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Snobs, beaches and drunks – 5 things this joke map teaches us about France

A popular joke 'map' of France has once again been widely shared on social media, sparking endless jokes at the expense of certain regions of France.

Snobs, beaches and drunks - 5 things this joke map teaches us about France
Image AFP/
But while the map – created by – is clearly intended to be comic, it teaches us some important points about France’s regional divides, local stereotypes and in-jokes.

Here are some of the key points.
1. Everyone hates Parisians
The map is purportedly France as seen through the eyes of Parisians, and contains a series of snobbish and rude generalisations about every part of France that is not maison (home) in the capital and its surroundings. The great majority of the country is labelled simply as paysans (peasants).
The general stereotype about Parisians is that they are snobs, rudely judging the rest of the country which they regard as backwards and full of ploucs (yokels) apart from small areas which make nice holiday destinations.
Like all sweeping generalisations, this is true of some people and very much not of others, but one of the few things that can unite people from all areas of France is how much they hate les parigots têtes de veaux (a colloquialism that very roughly translates as ‘asshole Parisians’)
2. Staycations rule
Even before Covid-related travel restrictions, holidaying within France was the norm for many French people.
As the map shows, Parisians regard the southern and western coastlines as simply plages (beaches) which they decamp to for at least a month in July or August. In the height of summer French cities tend to empty out (apart from tourists) as locals head to the seaside or the countryside.
In winter the Pyrenees and Alps are popular ski destinations.
3. Northerners like a drink
There is a very widespread stereotype, although not really backed up by evidence, that the people of Normandy, Brittany and the Nord area like a drink or two. Many suggest this is to cope with the weather, which does tend to be rainier than the rest of France (although has plenty of sunshine too).
Official health data doesn’t really back this up, as none of these areas show a significantly greater than average rate of daily drinkers, although Nord does hold the sad record for the highest rate of people dying from alcohol-related liver disease.
What’s certainly true is that Brittany and Normandy are cider country, with delicious locally-produced ciders on sale everywhere, well worth a try if you are visiting.
4. Poverty
The map labels the north eastern corner of France as simply pauvres – the poor.
The north east of the country was once France’s industrial and coal-mining heartland, and as traditional industries have declined there are indeed pockets of extreme poverty and high unemployment. The novel The End of Eddy, telling the story of novelist Edouard Louis’ childhood in a struggling small town near Amiens, lays out the social problems of such areas in stark detail.
However poverty is not just confined to one corner of France and the département that records the highest levels of deprivation is actually Seine-Saint-Denis in the Paris suburbs.
5. Southern prejudice
According to the map, those from the south are either branleurs (slackers) or menteurs (liars). 
This isn’t true, obviously, there are many lovely, hard-working and truthful people in southern France, but the persistent stereotype is that they are lazy – maybe because it’s too hot to do much work – and slightly shifty.
Even people who aren’t actually rude about southerners can be pretty patronising, as shown when south west native Jean Castex became the prime minister in summer 2020. 
Castex has a noticeable south west accent which sparked much comment from the Paris-based media and political classes, with comments ranging from the patronising – “I love his accent, I feel like I’m on holiday” – to the very patronising – “that accent is a bit rugby” (a reference to the fact that TV rugby commentators often come from France’s rugby heartlands in the south west).
In his first year as PM, Castex has undertaken a dizzying schedule of appointments around the four corners of France, so hopefully the lazy myth can now be put to bed.
And anyone tempted to take the piss out of his accent – glottophobie (accent prejudice) is now a crime in France.
For more maps that reflect France, head to