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France to Preserve the Sounds and Smells of its Countryside

France to Preserve the Sounds and Smells of its Countryside
Smells and sounds of the French countryside are sensory heritage now, Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Roosters crowing, cows mooing and the smell of manure—those travelling in the scenic French countryside will have to grin and bear it

OT Staff
February 28 , 2021
02 Min Read

In a landmark ruling that will forever serve as a statement to the urban and nouveau rural dislike of or objection to the rustic ways of life, French authorities have passed a law to preserve the sounds and smells of the countryside. This means, among other things, that no one, let alone weekend-trippers, would be able to sue locals over noisy cockerels anymore.

There have been quite a few instances of travellers and settlers complaining about croaking toads and horse droppings marring their rural experience in the tranquil French countryside. The case of the early-rising and loud-crowing cockerel Maurice on the island of Oleron got much press after an elderly couple with a holiday home complained of his cock-a-doodle-doos. Maurice may have won that case, but in a particularly shocking instance, another rooster, Marcel, from Vinzieux in Ardèche, was shot and clubbed by an iron rod by a man who could no longer stand the animal’s crowing.

Read: Is Sound Walks the Future of Travel?

Roosters have unfortunately been at the receiving end of humans' false sense of superiority and comfort in rural France

The ruling has effectively put an end to any doubts anyone may have had about interfering in the serenity and natural sounds and smells of the countryside. This regulation passed by French senators seeks to protect the sensory heritage of the rural landscape including “roosters or cicadas crowing, [and] the smell of manure or horse dung”, according to authorities.

Read: How to Not Exoticise Locals When You Visit a Remote Place

The move is a bigger step towards urging travellers and ‘neo-rurals’ to accept the sounds and smells of the rural scenery along with the picturesque sights on offer. With rural tourism and slow travel in the countryside on the rise, it also aims to set realistic expectations on what to expect, in addition to deterring tourists from disturbing organic patterns of life in these places. The authorities also expect to create goodwill between residents and travellers and come closer to bridging the notorious rural-urban divide in French society.


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