• Harriot Grinnell-Moore

Facts About France (Part IV)

Each neighbourhood in Paris has their own community bulletin boards, that showcase everything from bulky collection dates to the date of the organ recital in the local church. Maybe it's just me, but back in the UK I'm sure you only find these sorts of boards in peaceful rural villages, so I love the fact that they have them in Paris! Anyway, I love finding out what's going on in my quartier (the city hall always has interesting talks on that are free for under 25's) and whilst perusing the board the other day I saw a call for blood donors at the local blood drive in a couple of weeks. I alway give blood back in the UK so I was really interested to find out if I could over here, and I can, but there was a very strange rule I came across, which made me think what other odd laws there are in France.

I know there are several bizzare laws in the UK, such as: "You can shoot a welshman with a longbow if they're inside the city walls on a Sunday", or that "a pregnant woman is allowed to relieve herself in a policeman's helmet". So I went on a search to find France's equivalents.

1.Whilst I'm fine to give blood, being born in 1997, if you were alive before 1996 and lived in the UK you might have a problem! France does not accept blood from people who lived in the UK for a year or more between 1980 and 1996. This is due to the risk of a possible spread of the human form of mad cow disease, yet if you stayed for 11 months and 29 days you're all good?!

2. I'm not sure what the rules are in the rest of France, but in Paris, small dogs who can be carried or fit in a bag can travel on the metro for free. The strange law comes for dogs that are too big for this, because legally you have to buy them a child's metro ticket before they can travel!

3. Probably the most famous 'strange law' in France is in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, whose Mayor passed a law in 1954 that it was illegal for an UFO to pass over or land in their town! To be fair to them, there haven't been any UFO landings...

4. It is, apparently, illegal in France, to kiss on a train platform! This is supposedly due to the overly amorous French causing regular train delays when the train couldn't pull out of the platform as people were still smooching through the window! The train companies had enough of the cost it racked up with all the delays that they made it an offense to kiss on the platform.

5. In France, it is legal to marry a dead person, so long as there is strong proof that the couple planned to marry before the death. This law was created in 1954 after a burst dam killed 420 people, a pregnant woman whose fiancé had died was so distraught that President Charles de Gaulle penned a law that allowed them to be married.

Are there any other strange French laws you've heard of? Let me know!

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© 2017 by Harriot E.L. Grinnell-Moore

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