MAP: Where in France will you find wolves?

Once hunted to extinction, wolves are making a steady comeback in France and now about a third of the country reports a regular or semi-regular wolf presence.

MAP: Where in France will you find wolves?
Wolves live in the wild in France. Photo: AFP

The wildlife group Réseau Loup Lynx (the wolf and lynx network) has recently confirmed that wolves are now permanent inhabitants of the Doubs département as well as the Jura.

This brings the total number of départements where wolves have been regularly sighted to 38.




Wolves are mostly concentrated in the east of the country, but are also frequently spotted in the Pyrenees along the border with Spain and in southern départements.

There are 23 départements where there is a regular wolf presence – mostly in mountainous areas along the border with Italy and Switzerland, and a further 15 places where they have been occasionally spotted.

The French Office national de la chasse et de la faune sauvage (national office for hunting and wildlife) which monitors wolves estimates that there are now around 530 adult wolves living in France.

In the Jura, after photos and videos were taken of the wolves living and hunting in the mountains, the area has been declared a permanent habitat for wolves and named the Zone du Marchairuz after a local mountain pass.

Wolves were officially declared extinct in France in the 1930s after hunting wiped out the last remaining populations.

But from 1992 onwards they were steadily reintroduced, starting with the regions bordering Italy, and their numbers have been increasing in recent years.

Their presence has not been without problems, however, especially from farmers who fear for their livelihoods when wolves start killing sheep.

French farmers Toulouse protest about the reintroduction of wolves and bears to the countryside. Photo: AFP

The French state authorises the culling of a certain number of wolves per year to keep the population in check, but the killings can only be carried out under strict conditions.

Last year 3,674 wolf attacks led to the deaths of some 12,500 animals, mainly sheep.

Under a “Wolf Plan” adopted in 2018, the “viability threshold” of 500 animals, the level at which the population is likely to avoid becoming at risk  of extinction over a 100-year period, wasn't expected to be reached until 2023.

Projections of rapid growth had already prompted President Emmanuel Macron to announce in March this year that 17 to 19 percent of the population would be culled each year, up from 10 to 12 percent.

However in June 2019 the cull limit was raised again after quicker than expected growth in the wolf populations.

“We now consider that the wolf is no longer a species at risk of extinction, which is a good thing in terms of biodiversity,” said Agriculture Minister Didier Guillaume.

“However in terms of the high levels of preying… we have to fully and strongly support our farmers. Their well-being is our priority,” he said.


Member comments

  1. Wow, 12,500 animals killed for food by wolves, set against hundreds of millions killed by humans for food in the same period. (750,000,000 chickens alone.) Makes one feel sorry for the farmers.

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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