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GLANCE

Glance around France: Dordogne drivers warned and French fighter jet crashes in the Jura

Dordogne drivers have been warned after a tragic start to the year on the region's roads and a French fighter jet has gone missing in eastern France, plus other stories from around France.

Glance around France: Dordogne drivers warned and French fighter jet crashes in the Jura
Photo: AFP

Fighter jet disappears from radars

A breaking news story on Wednesday afternoon concerned the disappearance from the radars of a French fighter jet in eastern France.

The Mirage 2000 aircraft disappeared in the mountainous Jura region of eastern France near the border with Switzerland.

“We're looking for this plane which disappeared from the radars” in the Jura, the prefecture administration said.

 

 

The jet disappeared in poor weather conditions and helicopters were initially unable to take off to join the search due to thick fog and snow. Gendarmes in the area appealed to the public for help and launched a huge search operation.

Later on Wednesday there were reports of debris and a parachute being found on the border between the departments of Doubs and Jura, near the village of Mignovillard, suggesting the plane had crashed. The plane had two pilots on board, a man and woman. Both remained missing.

Witnesses reported hearing an explosion in the area at the time the plane disappeared. The plane was on a training mission and was unarmed.

Drivers warned in Dordogne

Authorities in the Dordogne department of south west France have taken the step of warning drivers after a tragic start to the year on the roads.

Two drivers have been killed since the start of 2019.

“Despite calls for vigilance launched by the prefect and the police, despite the controls carried out daily, despite the prevention operations implemented, the roads of the Dordogne continue to take lives,” read a statement from the prefecture.
 
The authority appealed to the public for a “collective consciousness and change in behaviour” noting that over half of all deaths on French roads are caused by drink or drug-driving as well as speeding.
 
“All road users must feel concerned and responsible. We are all potential victims but we are all equally likely to be responsible for a serious accident,” the statement said.
 
Paris hands out record Airbnb fines

Paris City Hall has reported that courts have handed out a record €2.1 million in fines to property owners who have been illegally renting out their apartments on Airbnb.

Paris has strict rules on how long property owners can rent out second homes for and the City Hall says most of the fines have targeted owners of multiple properties who have been renting them out illegally to tourists.

 

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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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