France commune

Are these the four “ugliest” towns or villages in France?

What do the 15th most populous French city and three villages with less than 6,000 inhabitants have in common? They all received a Prix France Moche.

The Paysages de France association awarded its Prix de la France moche to Migné-Auxances, a village of 6,000 inhabitants south of Lyon, Montalieu-Vercieu (3,400), east of Lyon, Dambach-la-Ville ( 2,100) near Strasbourg and Le Havre, where former Prime Minister Edouard Philippe is now mayor.

They announced the winners in a Press release and on Twitter.

The awards focused on four categories focused around billboards and billboards with a heavy dose of irony, puns and cultural references.

A price category, for example, is called ‘Fell into the trap‘, an expression meaning to have fallen into a trap, but with a pun on sign (which also means sign or billboard).

Another category is called ‘Advertising campaign, an expression which generally designates an advertising campaign, but which can also be understood here to mean a “campaign” full of advertising.

The winners were selected on the amount of ads they installed in their municipalities as captured on photos sent by members.

Migné-Auxances received the Fell into the trap prize for its abundance of billboards at the entrance to the city, Dambach-la-Ville was selected because of a large billboard near a medieval village gate, while Montalieu-Vercieu has’ won ‘the’Advertising campaign category for a photo of billboards covering walls and a hedge.

Photo : Landscapes of France

“In Montalieu, place your ads wherever you want”, quips Paysages de France in its press release.

The association awarded Le Havre its Advertising without moderation category price (advertising without moderation) for a profusion of alcohol-related advertisements.

“Advertising has become very aggressive and intrusive in our daily lives,” said actor Olivier Saladin, 69, spokesperson for Paysages de France. “It’s harassment in the public space,” he added.

Mr Saladin said he wanted to raise awareness about the invasiveness of advertising and called for the abolition of in-ground advertising and the reduction in the size of billboards.

He said the association had received around 60 photos from 30 different cities.

This is the second time that Paysages de France has awarded its Prix de la France ugly, probably inspired by articles by Telerama, a French cultural magazine that initially published in-depth coverage of places it deemed ugly in 2010.

However, the association itself has been around since 1992 and billboards have long been a major focus of its campaigns.

“From the point of view of the photo, I admit it’s ugly,” responded Florence Jardin, mayor of Migné-Auxances. The New Republic on November 3, 2021. However, she said that current French regulations make it impossible to avoid what she called a “forest of billboards at the entrance to our city”.

Mr. Saladin said that none of the mayors of the selected municipality had yet contacted the association, but that some had done so in 2020.

“They often claim there is nothing they can do about it. This is completely wrong, ”he said.

According to the association’s statement: “The mayors of these municipalities have the means to fight against this advertising invasion which has such a strong impact on the daily landscape, by setting up, or by modifying, local regulations on advertising, or by asking the prefect to intervene where there are advertisements that go against the rules.

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