Only in France: Ten of the year's most French stories

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Only in France: Ten of the year's most French stories
Photos: AFP

Our selection of the year's most French stories feature wine, cheese, nutella... and, of course, a spot of naturism.


When four tuxedo-wearing Frenchmen sat down for a meal of cheese raclette on the Paris Metro of all places, naturally news spread fast.
The diners chose the unusual spot of line 5 of the Paris Metro at Place d'Italie to enjoy their meal washed down by a few glasses of fine wine. 
And it won't come as a surprise that amused commuters took a moment to stop laughing and capture it. 
We all know how much the French love their pharmacies. 
But in one town in south west France, all 17, (yes 17!) pharmacies must remain closed on Mondays despite the fact that shops bars and restaurants are often closed on Mondays... and it all dates back to 1973...
These particular 'riots' might have happened at the very beginning of 2018 but if you're anything like us, they've lived on in your memory. 
The scenes of hysteria and reports of consumers "acting like animals" in French supermarkets as a result of discounted pots of Nutella at Intermarche supermarkets made international headlines in January. 
And although the country's passion for Nutella hadn't exactly been a secret before, the 70 percent discount on the famous chocolate hazelnut spread really showed what the French are willing to do to get their hands on a pot of the stuff. 
'They were like animals': Nutella promo sparks 'riots' in French supermarketsPhoto: AFP
When a French baker received a hefty fine, it would have been understandable to jump to the conclusion that it was down to the fact he'd put something sinister in the baguettes. 
But this is France, so the real reason for the €3,000 fine was that baker Cédric Vaivre was working too hard. 
And unsurprisingly he wasn't too happy about being handed such a severe punishment. 
Sheep carcasses - check. Blood - check. Scuffles - check. All outside one French village town hall. 
This story really showed why you shouldn't get on the wrong side of French farmers and how far they are willing to go to protect their sheep. 
What's the story? Sheep carcasses, blood and scuffles in a French village
Photo: AFP
The long battle against the English language in France is a well documented one. 
One of the best examples of that in 2018 was the French language guardians attempting to rid France of the word "smartphone".
However, like many of their previous attempts to banish English tech words from French, it seems this one also fell on deaf ears. 
It's fair to say that France's World Cup victory bestowed a feeling of pride and joy across much of the country this year.
But a couple of apparently football-obsessed parents took their passion a bit further when they decided they wanted to name their baby "Griezmann Mbappe" after two of the national team's heroes.
Cue the French name police who stepped in to say that such an eye-catching name could cause the child problems in life. 
French name police to ban parents from naming baby after France's World Cup heroes
Photo: AFP
The French capital's flourishing nudist scene was given a "day to remember" this year when a Paris gallery gave nearly 200 people a rare chance for a clothes-free visit weekend.
The Palais de Tokyo, a contemporary art museum in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, offered the guided tour, leading the Paris Naturists' Association to say that "a new chapter in naturism is opening." 
Can cheese really be "murdered"? Yes... if you're in France, that is. 
Back in May, a group of top French chefs and winemakers have blasted a deal between Camembert cheese makers that they say will lead to the death of the much-loved and world famous fromage by turning it into a "paste with no taste".
'Shame and scandal': Top French chefs blast 'murder' of real Camembert cheese
Photo: AFP
In most countries wine is considered as much of an alcoholic beverage as beer and vodka.
But in France, this opinion is controversial one, as the country's health minister Agnès Buzyn found out in 2018. 
She sparked anger and even shock on national television when she accused France's wine industry of practising “double standards” when it comes to selling wine as a soft alcohol.
Suggesting wine should be treated like any other kind of alcohol in France was always going to have people spluttering into their glasses but even her boss, President Emmanuel Macron came out against her.
Health risk or national treasure? Why France is warring over wine
Photo: AFP


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