It’s pretty easy to hoax people. We all want to be deceived, but only up to a point. Some hoaxes are fun and pleasant, others malicious and unpleasant. We’d like a way to tell the difference (Robert Carroll).

Nov 29, 2011

15 Strange and Funny Laws in France

In our previous posts, we observed the strange and funny laws in USA and UK. While the French legal system is different from USA and UK, it does not mean that it is fool-proof from the cases, when it might be considered funny or strange to the modern individual.

France has a civil legal system. This means that the law arises from statues and judges can only interpret this law (they are not to make law). England (the United Kingdom), the United States, Australia and Canada all have common law systems. This means that judges make (or declare) the law, as well as interpret statutes. In common law systems, judges are bound to follow previous decisions in the same way (hence, the name ‘common’ law).

The basis of the French legal system is laid out in a key document originally drawn up in 1804, and known as the Code Civil, or Code Napoléon, (Civil code or Napoleonic code) which laid down the rights and obligations of citizens, and the laws of property, contract, inheritance, etc.. Essentially, it was an adaptation to the needs of nineteenth-century France of the principles of Roman law and customary law. The Code Civil remains the cornerstone of French law to this day, though it has been updated and extended many times to take account of changing society. There are other codes, including notably the Code Pénal, or Penal code, which defines criminal law.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

So, some really unusual French Laws with some comments and background information:

1. Between the hours of 8AM and 8PM, 70% of music on the radio must be by French artists.
This law was naturally adopted to promote and preserve French musical culture and French language because the young generation tent to turn to a more American/British culture. More precisely, the law actually applies only to French language radio stations (as in ones who’s DJs and radio hosts deliver their broadcast completely in French).

2. It is illegal to kiss on railways in France.
In French the term "rail" designates the actual rail track, and it is a security measure as lovers kissing on or by a railway track might be so absorbed in what they were doing that they might not hear a train approaching. 

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

3. No pig may be addressed as Napoleon by its owner.

One of the reader commented that you want to call your pig Napoleon, but you do not like to be prosecuted, you can just call it Emperor Bonaparte, which is probably legal.

4. In Antibes, it is illegal to take photos of police officers or police vehicles, even if they are just in the background.

5. It is forbidden without a cemetery plot to die on the territory of the commune.
The mayor of a French Mediterranean town, faced with a cemetery "full to bursting", has banned local residents from dying until he can find somewhere else to bury them. Yes, the town officials actually knew this was a dumb law when they passed it, but they passed it to make a point.

6. An ashtray is considered to be a deadly weapon.
A deadly weapon, sometimes dangerous weapon, is a statutory definition listing certain items which can inflict mortal or great bodily harm. In addition, deadly weapon statutes often contain "catch all" provisions which describe abilities used to designate other implements as deadly weapons. In 19-th century France, a closed fist was considered a deadly weapon and thus combatants would kick or strike each other with an open-palmed slap. But ashtray still remains on the list in row with shotguns and propelled grenades.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

7. It is illegal to shoot Englishmen as they cross the English Channel towards France - unless they are sailing in a 'boat of war'.
This is definitely a sign of friendship between France and Britain. 100-year war is long over!

8. In France, it is legal to marry a dead person!
While this law may sound funny at the first glance, it is quite serious and can lead to the significant consequences. It happened in December 1959, when the Malpasset Dam burst in southern France, Charles de Gaulle drafted a law which would allow a widow to marry her dead husband. President de Gaulle promised a young woman called Irène Jodard that he would think of her, after hearing about her fiancé’s drowning and her wish to carry on with her marriage plans. The law says that the French president can authorize a marriage when one of the future spouses has died after the start of official formalities which confirm that he/she would have consented. There must be serious grounds for the marriage, which would then be "backdated" to the day before the death. The marriage brings no rights of inheritance, or financial benefit to the surviving spouse. A child born to the couple will be legitimate.

9. In France, if an athlete doesn't play for the national team he/she can be banned from playing for his/her club.

10. In France, it is against the law to sell dolls that do not have human faces. 
Frankly, I could not confirm the existence of this law in France, might be just one of the urban myths.

11. Paris: It is illegal for women to wear trousers.
The rule banning women from dressing like men – namely by wearing trousers – was first introduced in 1800 by Paris’ police chief and has survived repeated attempts to repeal it. The 1800 rule stipulated than any Parisienne wishing to dress like a man “must present herself to Paris’ main police station to obtain authorisation”. In 1892 it was slightly relaxed thanks to an amendment which said trousers were permitted “as long as the woman is holding the reins of a horse”. Then in 1909, the decree was further watered down when an extra clause was added to allow women in trousers on condition they were “on a bicycle or holding it by the handlebars”. In 1969, amid a global movement towards gender equality, the Paris council asked the city’s police chief to bin the decree. His response was: “It is unwise to change texts which foreseen or unforeseen variations in fashion can return to the fore.”

The latest attempt to remove the outmoded rule was in 2003, when a Right-wing MP from President Nicolas Sarkozy’s UMP party wrote to the minister in charge of gender equality. The minister’s response was: “Disuse is sometimes more efficient than (state) intervention in adapting the law to changing mores.”

But while there is acting law banning women in trousers, there is no objections to go without pants at all.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

12. Paris: Any man carrying onions must be given right of way in the streets.

13. Paris: Criminals can apply for sanctuary in Notre Dame Cathedral and must be 'fed and watered' for up to six weeks.

14. Paris: Touching a woman's bottom is considered illegal on Paris's Metro underground system, but touching their breasts is still allowed.

15. In a region of the Rhone, it is illegal for UFOs to fly over vineyards.
It is probably still OK for UFO to fly over Paris…

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Sources and Additional Information:

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...