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Glance around France: Alsace is back on the French map and Strasbourg gears up for Christmas

In today's round-up of news stories from around France we look at the return of Alsace to the French map (kind of) the fierce winds that battering Corisca (see videos) and how Strasbourg is already getting ready for Christmas.

Glance around France: Alsace is back on the French map and Strasbourg gears up for Christmas
AFP

Storm Adrian batters Corsica

Corsica was placed on red alert for high winds on Monday as storm Adrian blew in and forced residents to seek shelter indoors.

There were also warnings of coastal flooding and the videos below show exactly why residents on the island are being warned not to travel by car until the storm passes.

 

The alerts are due to remain in place until Tuesday morning. You can find out more information on the latest weather warnings across France, which include snow warnings in central France, by CLICKING HERE.

Alsace is back

Well in a certain manner it is.

The French PM Edouard Philippe was set to announce on Monday the merger of the two councils in the two French departments that make up the historic region of Alsace: Haut-Rhin and Bas-Rhin.

Many in Alsace were furious when the previous government under President François Hollande changed the map of French regions which involved theirs being swallowed up into the new mega region of Grand Est.

But local politicians were claiming Alsace is back on Monday with the expected merger of the two departmental authorities.

“It's much more than a fusion, it's the creation of a new council of Alsace, which brings together the competencies of the central state, the region and the departments,” said Frédéric Bierry, Chairman of the Bas-Rhin council.
 
 
According to him, in Alsace, “nobody has got over the creation of the Grand Est council”. “François Hollande decided to redraw the map of the regions of France from his office, the Alsatians have never accepted the disappearance of an Alsatian council,” he added.
 
“This is its long-awaited rebirth”.

CLICK HERE for more on this story

Walkers told to wear fluorescent jackets in Alps to help hunters

The shocking death of a British mountain biker at the hands of a French hunter continues to have knock-on effects in the Alps.

The 34-year-old Briton, Marc Sutton was fatally injured while out on a ride on a well used, but hard to access mountain track near the village of Montriond in Haute-Savoie.

While his friends and the community around Montriond and nearby Morzine have called for restrictions on hunting at weekends some local mayors have taken very different kinds of measures.

The mayor of the Alpine village of Jarsy has passed a decree that forces mushroom pickers and other walkers to wear fluorescent jackets while out in the mountains in order to make it easier for hunters to spot them and not mistake them for a wild animal, as is believed to have been the case with the shooting of Marc Sutton.

Although those who don't follow the words of the decree will not be fined.

But its hardly the response anti-hunting groups were after.

CLICK HERE For more on this story

Strasbourg gets its Christmas tree already!

It's not even November but the eastern city of Strasbourg is gearing up for Christmas with the arrival in Place Kleber of the annua sapin de Noel.

Last year's giant Christmas tree had to be replaced various times due to the trunk splitting but organisers are hopeful this year's sapin will be more sturdy.

The tree was felled nine days ago in the Wangenbourg forest in the department of Bas-Rhin.

The tree will be decorated in the coming days in the theme of “letters to Santa Claus”.

CLICK HERE for more on this story.

Hunt for rabbit serial killer in Brittany

Rabbit owners in a part of Brittany continue to fear for their animals as police continue to hunt for a those responsible a series of brutal killings

Who is responsible for murdering one hundred rabbits in the Côte d'Armor department in Brittany? Police have launched a call for witnesses after more rabbits were found dead in the area.
 
 
Since late August, around ten properties have been targeted by the rabbit assassin. “Cages are opened, then the animals are killed in cold blood with a pointed object and then just left there,” police, who also advised rabbit owners to lock up their rabbit hutches tightly, told Ouest France newspaper.
 
So far police have had no luck tracing down the serial killer and have little to go on. From the one sighting of the suspect the police were able to glean that he wore a rain coat and a hat.
 

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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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