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A Glance Around France: Dordogne residents warned and Paris gets new street bins

In our Glance Around France on Wednesday there was a warning to residents from the gendarmes in Dordogne and a look at the new state of the art, anti-rat street bins in Paris.

Paris rolls out new anti-rat bins
 
New bins specially designed to keep out the city's rat population have started popping up around the French capital. 
 
The move is part of a €1.5 million plan to fight the French capital's growing rodent problem. 
 
The idea is that the new model which is made of Plexiglass will prevent rats coming to feed directly from the bin bag by piercing it as they have been doing with the previous version. 
 
About 20 of the new closed bins can be found in front of one of Paris' most popular tourist destinations, Notre-Dame Cathedral and they will soon be rolled out to parks and markets across the city. 
 
Eventually a total of 30,000 will be on the streets of the French capital. 
 

 

Auchan supermarkets to open allotments

French supermarket giant Auchan intends to launch a huge project that will see giant allotments or urban farms as they are called, built around 50 of its stores around the country.

And it won't just be small patch of the car park that will be turned into a vegetable patch, but several acres of land.

The first one should be ready by 2020.

The supermarket giant already owns farmland around its stores but wants to make better use of the land by growing seasonal vegetables that can then be sold in stores.

Although if you live in the Paris region don't expect your local store to be part of the scheme. The land is just too expensive, Auchan says.

For more on this story CLICK HERE

Hyperloop capsule heads to Toulouse

Can you imagine travelling from Paris to Rome in just one hour?

Nope, nor can we, but it's the idea behind Hyperloop Transportation Technologies which unveiled its first prototype of a passenger capsule named “Quintero One” that's headed for testing in Toulouse.

The hyperloop system would, if it ever gets off the ground, see passenger capsules as seen in the image below travel at lightning speeds – around 1,000 km/h – in vacuum tubes levitated by electro-magnets.

The capsule measures 32 metres long including the interior cabin which measures 15 metres. It weighs 5 tonnes.

Next year testing will take place at the Francazal airbase near Toulouse with a 1km tube set to be erected, 5.8 metres off the ground.

Dordogne residents warned of calendar thieves

Police in the Dordogne have warned residents to be wary when people come to their door trying to sell calendars.

It's quite common for people to come knocking on your door in France towards the end of the year trying to get you to buy a calendar. The pompiers and rubbish collectors do it routinely.

But there are a few sellers you might need to be wary of. The gendarmes in the Dordogne are warning residents after two homes were burgled in the villages of Excideuil and Bassillac this week.

In each case two “sellers” robbed cash from their victims, with one creating a diversion while the other rummaged around the house.

Residents are advised to ask for a identity card or a professional card or call the police on 17 if they are in doubt.

For more on this story CLICK HERE

Insect farm set to open in northern France 
 
A rather unusual farm is set to open in northern France at the end of 2019. 
 
The new farm which will produce products made from a species of fly from southern Europe will be located in the town of Nesle in the northern Somme department.
 
But these insects are not part of a bug-related food revolution in France, instead the flies will be destined for the mouths of farmed trout and salmon.
 
And the people behind it see it as a positive move for the environment.
 
“Currently, farmed fish eat plant protein and fish protein that comes mainly from fisheries in South America and Africa. Our product has the ability to replace this,” said Clément Ray, the co-founder and president of InnovaFeed, the company behind the new farm.
 
“We can support the development of quality aquaculture with low environmental impact.”  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

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LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

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/cartesfrance.fr
But while the map – created by cartesfrance.fr – 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 cartesfrance.fr
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