Glance around France: New plane routes from Bordeaux and a forest fire blazes near Paris

Our round-up of the stories from around France on Thursday include a low cost airline announcing new routes from Bordeaux airport, a forest fire south of Paris and a good year for wine in the Gard.

Glance around France: New plane routes from Bordeaux and a forest fire blazes near Paris
Photo: AFP
Fire destroys 80 hectares of forest south of Paris 
It isn't only the south of France that has to watch out for forest fires. 
A blaze which broke out in Senart forest in Essonne, the department directly south of Paris, has ravaged nearly 80 hectares of forest. 
Fires of this scale are extremely rare for the ile-de-France region, with 125 firefighters and 24 trucks specially equipped to deal with forest fires, arriving to put out the blaze. 
Luckily no people were hurt and no property was damaged. 
The fire was under control but not completely extinguished on Thursday. 

Low cost Spanish airline to launch three new routes from Bordeaux
Low cost Spanish airline Volotea is set to open three new routes from Bordeaux in 2019.
Planes on the new routes will fly between the south western French city and Vienna in Austria, Lanzarote in the Canary Islands and Pula in Croatia.
The airline will eventually offer a weekly flight to Lanzarote, two flights a week to Vienna one weekly flight to Pula.

Good year for wine in the Gard
The 2018 grape harvest has just wrapped up in the Gard department of southern France, with winemakers already hailing this year's crop as a high quality one. 
This year's harvest resulted in 3.3 million hectolitres compared to last year's 2.6 million hectolitres, which was the lowest level since 1945. 
Producers have said the wines from the first harvested grapes are mostly well balanced, fruity and very promising in terms of quality for white, rose and red varieties.
This year's first wines will land on tables at the end of October

Paris tops rankings for scooter accidents
The rising trend for using scooters is proving perilous… in Paris, at least.
It seems scooter users are becoming increasingly bold, venturing from the safety of the pavements and onto the roads in order to save time on their journeys and the fact that many of them are now electric means they are going faster.  
According to new road safety data, this has seen a 23 percent increase in the number of people wounded or killed on the streets of the French capital in just one year. 
That meant that in 2017, 284 people were wounded and five were killed on scooters and rollerblades compared to 231 wounded and 6 killed in the previous year. 

Regional train line set to close for weeks after stormy weather in the south
There are certainly going to be some unhappy commuters in the south of France this month. 
No trains will be running on the regional TER line between Marseille and Miramas in the south of France until October 20th due to the rockfalls and landslides seen at the beginning of the week between Estaque and Niolon in the south eastern Bouches-du-Rhône department. 

Meanwhile, this is what happened in Corsica…
82,000 homes experience power cut in Corsica
A whopping 82,000 homes in Corsica were affected by a power cut during the storms which hit the island on Wednesday. 
The power cut last just 20 minutes but affected one quarter of the island's residents, according to energy supplier EDF. 
Corsica had been placed on orange alert — the second highest warning — for storms on Wednesday and, according to EDF, was hit by “more than 500 lightning strikes” during the afternoon. 

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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