French Told They Must Accept Noisy Church Bells, Cockerels, Tractors–New Government Law


Maurice the rooster–neighbours complained he was too noisy; a new law now protects his right to make … [+] as much noise as he would choose AFP via Getty Images

It’s become an increasingly common story in France. Urbanites looking to get away to the country complain about being woken up at 6am by cockerels or bemoan the fact that farm stays are so smelly.

The urban/rural divide has become more pronounced across France in the past couple of years as new residents, who had recently bought dream weekend homes in rural dwellings, began to formally complain.

In response, the government has now put a new law in place, that formally protects country noises and smells as part of France’s rural heritage–meaning that it makes it much more difficult to complain and helps to protect the character of small villages and ancient customs.

In May 2018, a resident in the 500-inhabitant village of Jettingen, Haut-Rhin wrote to the mayor to complain about the bell ringing which took place every morning at 05:40 am. Eventually, the mayor put it to a referendum and 70% of the 427 residents eligible to vote, turned out–77% said they wanted to keep it as it had been for centuries, before 6am. This was the time that daily mass was held, although this is no longer the case.

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