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Glance around France: 75 drought-hit French departments to declare ‘agricultural disaster’

Monday's round-up of stories from around France includes news of how 75 departments are preparing to declare a state of "agricultural disaster" due to devastating drought that hit much of the country this summer.

Glance around France: 75 drought-hit French departments to declare 'agricultural disaster'
Photo: AFP

Agricultural disaster across France

Some 75 departments across France are to file for “agricultural disaster” status with the country's farming ministry due to the devastating drought that has hit parts of France since June.

According to the farming union FNSEA the damage caused by the repeated dry weather has caused between €250 million and €300 million in losses.

Farmers have talked of individual losses of between 30 and 60 percent.

If the government recognises a state of agricultural disaster in a department then farmers must apply for compensation on an individual basis. Many, however, are worried that the criteria for any payout is so strict that it may mean they don't qualify for compensation.

Diesel cars banned in Paris suburbs

Authorities in Paris and the surrounding suburbs voted on Monday to ban diesel cars registered before 2001 from the capital and surrounding region from next summer.

The ban will apply to all roads within the A86 outer ring road and will come into force in July 2019. Some 79 of 131 communes that make up the so-called “Grand Paris” (Greater Paris) area will be affected by the ban.

It is believed some 700,000 diesel cars are affected, meaning their owners will have to change vehicle if they want to be able to carry on driving in these areas.

Tornadoes in the west

Residents in some villages in western France were left in shock after mini-tornadoes ripped up trees and left scenes of devastation on Saturday night.

The freakish weather phenomenon hit parts of Loire-Atlantique and the Vendee.

Trees were ripped up and roofs were torn off as these pictures below show.

Brittany town to turn off street lights

The Brittany town of Quimper has decided to turn off a third of its street lights during the night in order to cut down on the electricity bill.

The town's bill stands at around €80,000 but by turning off around 3,000 street lights, the town's authority hopes to cut the bill by around 15 percent.

The town centre will not be included in the experiment that will see lights go off between 1am and 6am.

 

 

 

Member comments

  1. A friend was in Paris on 11/11 and saw a young woman tear off her T-shirt and leap over the barriers between the policemen to face Trump with letters FAKE NEWS scrawled across her bare breasts! Not reported in the French press?

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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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