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Glance around France: Bull kills spectator in the Gard, pasta warning and mosquitoes in France for Christmas

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

Glance around France: Bull kills spectator in the Gard, pasta warning and mosquitoes in France for Christmas
Photo: AFP
Woman killed by bull at arena in southern France
 
A woman was killed in the Gard department of southern France after a violent collision with a bull at an arena on Sunday afternoon. 
 
The tragic accident occurred during the release of the bulls into the bullring in the town of Aigues-Mortes.
 
The female spectator, originally from Cannes, was injured when the bull jumped over the fence into an area between the ring and the stand before using the cradle of its horns to throw her several metres into the air. 
 
She then fell onto her head, causing injuries which later lead to her death.  
 
According to Pierre Mauméjean, the mayor of Aigues-Mortes, interviewed by France Bleu Gard Lozère, the woman had been warned several times by people in the crowd that it was dangerous to leave the stands at that time.
 

 
Another homophobic attack in Paris
 
Two men were attacked in the north of Paris for hugging in the second incident of its kind in recent weeks in the French capital.
 
The homophobic assault took place in the capital's 19th arrondissement at around 10 pm on Saturday.
 
The couple were violently attacked by two people over the fact that they were hugging and each suffered injuries in the ribs and face.
 
The scene was caught on CCTV and one of the two suspects was arrested and has been placed in police custody however the second suspect is yet to be identified. 
 
At the end of September people were left shocked in the French capital after the news of another homophobic attack took place in the 20th arrondissement of the French capital when a man hugged his male partner in public. 
 
 
Pasta, eggs and cheeses recalled across France
 
If you've been shopping in France recently, you might want to check your fridge and cupboards. 
 
France's Agricultural Ministry has asked for several pasta products by Panzani, as well as EARL branded eggs by Les Poulettes and certain sheep cheeses to be recalled.
 
Consumers have been told that Panzani pasta must not be consumed and brought back to the point of sale for reimbursement due to the risk of a bad odor and “earthy” taste.
 
Meanwhile Les Poulettes eggs labelled with the letters EARL have been proven to contain traces of salmonella. 

 
The products concerned were mostly sold in supermarket chains Carrefour and Auchan.
 

 
 
Mayors fight bears in the Pyrenees
 
The battle of the bears has ramped up another notch in the Pyrenees. 
 
Just a few days after two more bears were released in the Pyrenees 40 French mayors have formed a group to denounce the existence of the wild animals in mountainous area.
 
The new group will be dedicated to fighting back again the government's 10-year “Bear Plan” which aims to increase numbers to some 50 sexually mature bears. 
 
The elected officials met this weekend at the Laruns cheese fair to support farmers who marched for the same cause on Thursday and Friday. 
 
Some 40 brown bears currently live the range between France and Spain after France began importing them from Slovenia in 1996 after the native population had been hunted to near-extinction.
 
 
 
Storm alerts on the south coast
 
The Bouches-du-Rhône and Var departments in the south of France were braced for severed thunderstorms and torrential rains on Monday.
 
France's national weather agency Meteo France placed the departments on orange alert – the second highest warning – meaning that people should be very vigilant due to the risk of dangerous weather. 
 
The alerts could spread to other departments during the course of the day. 
 
 
 
Could mosquitoes be set to stick around in France until Christmas?
 
A hot and humid September has meant that the mosquitoes haven't disappeared quite yet in France. 
 
And it seems they might be sticking around until Christmas across France, even in colder areas such as the north and the east, due to the warmer temperatures which have allowed the females to lay more eggs. 
 

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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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