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ADVENT

French figures: The rodent that takes your teeth away

In France, mice don't just eat cheese and outsmart cats - they also have a very important function for the nation's children.

French figures: The rodent that takes your teeth away
Photo: AFP

While children in Anglo Saxon countries have their baby teeth taken away by the tooth fairy, in France it is la petite souris (the little mouse) that comes round.

When a baby tooth falls out, the child places it under their pillow and in the morning it has been removed by la petite souris and replaced with money.

The mouse has a busy schedule, because he doesn't just serve France, but many Francophone countries including Belgium, Switzerland, Morocco, Algeria, Luxembourg and the French-speaking parts of Canada. Spanish-speaking countries also have a mouse, but it is known as Pérez Mouse.

The tooth fairy, meanwhile, bases her operations mainly in Anglophone countries and some parts of northern Europe. 

But even magical international mice don't get to avoid France's famous bureaucracy, the below tweet is a response in French newspaper Le Monde to a child enquiring if the mouse could still visit during lockdown. The answer was yes, as long as he filled in his attestation.

 

This article is part of The Local France's 2020 virtual advent calendar – every day until Christmas we will be presenting you with a person or object that has a particularly significance to life in France. 

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ADVENT

French figures: The true spirit of France

This is the incredible story about the teenage girl who became a symbol of France for the ages.

French figures: The true spirit of France
Illustration photo: AFP

The story of Joan of Arc – Jeanne d'Arc in French – begun like many fairytales do: an unlikely hero is chosen to accomplish a dangerous task.

Born around 1412, Joan of Arc was an illiterate peasant girl convinced that divine powers had decided she would fight the English army in France. 

She then did exactly that. 

This was during the so-called Hundred Years’ War, when English troops battled for territory across the country that is now France.

Joan of Arc liberated Orléans city from English forces in a legendary and decisive battle that paved the way for the later French victory in 1453.

Joan of Arc paid for her heroism with her life. She was captured and sold her to the English army, who burned her at the stake in Rouen, northeast France, around 1431. She was approximately 19 years old at the time.

But her short life left a lasting mark on France and in 1920 she was made a Saint. Almost 600 years after her death she is still commemorated and celebrated in France and her spirit is invoked during difficult times for the country.

Known today as “the Maid of Orléans”, Joan of Arc's silhouette is all over the city, ingrained on medallions on the street, cast into sculptures and painted on the boxes of Cotignac, an Orléans culinary speciality.

READ ALSO: Ten reasons why you should visit the French city Orléans

This article is the final instalment of The Local France's 2020 virtual advent calendar – featuring every day a person or thing that has a special place in French culture. To see the whole calendar, click here.

 
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