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Inside France For Members

Inside France: Bedbugs, international panic and local legends

Emma Pearson
Emma Pearson - [email protected]
Inside France: Bedbugs, international panic and local legends
View of the harbour at Marseille. Photo: The Local

From decoding the latest international panic about France (on the unlikely subject of bedbugs) to crime in rural France, holiday tips and a local legend, our weekly newsletter Inside France looks at what we have been talking about in France this week.

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Inside France is our weekly look at some of the news, talking points and gossip in France that you might not have heard about. It’s published each Saturday and members can receive it directly to their inbox, by going to their newsletter preferences or adding their email to the sign-up box in this article.

Punaise!

France appears to be at the centre of an international media storm this week on the unlikely subject of bedbugs - from panic-stricken headlines to endless memes and social media jokes, it seems that the US and UK are very interested in France's bug problem.

 

But does France truly have a worse bedbug problem than anywhere else? Evidence for this is rather sketchy - which of course has not stopped politicians and media pundits from getting involved.

Most of the memes have at least been amusing, but the debate has also taken a rather darker turn - a French right-wing media pundit asked if immigrants with "lower standards of hygiene" were to blame for the rise in bedbug reports, while foreign media have implied that it is the French themselves who are dirty and unhygienic.

Time for a factcheck - bedbugs have nothing to do with hygiene and can appear in even the most immaculately clean homes and tourist accommodation. In fact luxury hotels (including those in Paris and Las Vegas) have been the site of recent infestations. 

That's not to say that bedbugs aren't a problem - I know several people in Paris who have had an infestation at their apartment, and apart from the inconvenience and horrible itchy bites the biggest problem is the incredible cost of getting an extermination, easily up to €600. 

That's one of the reasons the Paris deputy mayor is calling on the government to create a national bedbug action plan (that's the guy who said that "no-one is safe" from bedbugs. Or did he?).

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Talking France

The Talking France podcast might have a few DIY sounds in the background this week, as I recorded it from my attic deep in rural Charente, but we still managed to have a good chat - crime in rural France, the new protocol for neighbour disputes, why Paris may be tripling its tourist tax and why baguettes taste different these days. Listen here or on the link below. 

 

Holiday tips

And if you're after a French holiday tip, I can highly recommend the night train from Paris to Nice. You hop on board in Paris in the evening (bring your own wine and crisps, is my recommendation as there is no buffet car), are lulled to sleep by the rocking of the carriage and then wake up just in time for breakfast in Nice. 

 

Icon of the week 

You'll probably remember the video of Irish rugby coach Ronan O'Gara's team talk in La Rochelle, with its distinctive English/French language blend.

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Well, if this flag - spotted at the World Cup - is anything to go by, the talk is well on the way to earning him legend status. Think I'm going to start using this in The Local's editorial meetings . . .

 

Inside France is our weekly look at some of the news, talking points and gossip in France that you might not have heard about. It’s published each Saturday and members can receive it directly to their inbox, by going to their newsletter preferences or adding their email to the sign-up box in this article.

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