9 of the quirkiest French news stories so far this year

9 of the quirkiest French news stories so far this year

2021 in France has brought us Bordeaux wine from space, a man from Alsace who can predict the weather with onions, and much more…

1) There’s more in common between Mars and Dordogne than you might expect

A robot from NASA which has been exploring the Red Planet has discovered that both Mars and Dordogne share a special mineral, nontronite. Since the connection has been revealed, NASA has named some of Mars’ craters and rocks after villages in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine department.

More ondx this story on sudouest.fr

2) A year after this cat went missing from his home in Germany, he was found across the border – and on the other side of the Rhine – in Alsace

Mogli, a wayfaring kitty from the south-western German state of Baden-Württemberg, was discovered wandering in woods in Ribeauvillé, Haut-Rhin. After being taken to a local vet, he was able to be reunited with his astonished owner. How he crossed the river remains a mystery!

More about this story on L’Alsace.

3) French donors can give blood amid the grand setting of the Fine Arts Museum of Dijon

A special blood donation centre has been set up at the city’s Musée des Beaux-Arts, where donors can admire works by the masters of the art world during their session.

More on this story on France Bleu.

4) A year after some wines and vines from Bordeaux were blasted into space, they’re soon to be tasted

12 bottles and 320 vine canes launched on a SpaceX cargo craft came back down to Earth in January – more specifically, into the Atlantic Ocean – after a year in the ISS. After some scientific analysis, the wines are set to be sampled at a private tasting this month.

More on this story on Decanter.

5) It’s been a record year for cheese consumption in France – but the biggest success story isn’t even French

With restaurants closed, French people have been enjoying more cheese than ever in 2020, according to new figures from FranceAgriMer–Kantar. Sales of raclette, the skiers’ favourite, were up by 12.2% and comté up by 8.2%. But it was mozzarella that won the hearts of the French last year, with sales up by a whopping 21.2%.

More on this story on Les Marchés.

6) An Alsace retiree uses onions to predict the year’s weather forecast

With the help of a sprinkle of salt, Rémy Gullung has predicted that a humid spring, a mixed summer and a dry autumn is in store for France in 2021. On Christmas Eve, he cuts six onions in half, puts a bit of salt on them and leaves them for a few hours to see how much water each has given off, which helps him make his forecast. The pensioner has been using his unusual method since 2006 and he describes it as ‘more or less reliable’.

More on this story on France 3 Grand Est.

7) A French woman has been trying to prove she is not dead for three years

Jeanne Pouchain, from Lyon, has been embroiled in a dispute with her former employer for a decade, and has been considered dead in the eyes of the state since 2017.

More on this story on The Guardian.

8) A French teenager had the police called on him by his parents for refusing to clear his dinner plate

The parents of a young man in Limoges resorted to an unusual method of disciplining their son after he refused to remove his dish from the table after dinner. The police later said: “It was rather a lack of authority than a police matter.”

More on this story on Midi Libre.

9) A message in a bottle dating back to 1910 was discovered at an old leisure centre in Haute-Loire

Some lucky construction workers demolishing the leisure centre in Solignac-sur-Loire happened upon the old letter, dated 19 May 1910. The letter-writer had added “1910 année de la comète” – the passage of Halley’s Comet a few weeks earlier had caused quite the stir.

More on this story at L’éveil.


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