Did you know…?
A whole host of useful information about the region for your reading pleasure, general knowledge or potentially a local quiz. So, did you know…
Snake in the grass
Among seven species of grass snake to be found in the south of France, the largest is the couleuvre de Montpellier, whose males can measure (exceptionally) up to 2,50 meters.
Newspaper ‘Le Réveil Catalan’ reported on 23 juin 1907 that a shepherd near Sournia village came across one of his sheep being strangled to death by an enormous 3 metre long ‘couleuvre’ or grass snake.
Unable to save the poor beast, he nevertheless went back a few days later with a gun and killed it. Calmez-vous! Grass snakes of this size are very rare in this region.
Le Petit Tambour
Have you seen the statue of the Little Drummer Boy in Le Boulou? This statue, by sculptor Gérard Vié, represents the first child to die for his motherland on November 1st, 1794, during the battle of Le Boulou (30 April-1 May 1794). This French victory in the eastern Pyrenees was fought against the Spanish who came close to conquering Perpignan but were obliged to retreat to the Tech River.
So here’s a weird one… until recently, it was illegal for people who wear prescription glasses to drive in Spain without a spare pair in the car!
Those damn scams
If your French is up to it, keep an eye on www.hoaxbuster.com, a site which lists and describes the latest scams and hoaxes, including a list of ‘hoax les plus consultés’.
It’s siesta time
In Ancient Rome, the hours of the day were counted from sunrise to sunset. Noon of the Roman day was six hours after sunrise. This sixth hour, (sexta hora in Latin), was nap time. As Latin developed into Spanish on the Iberian Peninsula, sexta became siesta.
According to researchers in America, the chemical citrulline found in watermelon has a similar effect to Viagra! Eating watermelon helps the blood to circulate more easily as well as being good for your heart and immune system. It also contains the anti-oxidant lycopene which is good for your skin.
Arles ahead of its times
The first real chocolate factory in France was created in 1814 in our very own Arles sur Tech. Arles was also one of the first villages in France to produce and use electricity!
Tax, tax, tax
Have you been incorrectly taxed by French income tax? What can you do about it?
- Check your tax declaration and make sure that the error is not yours.
- Pop into your local tax office and discuss it face to face.
- Submit a ‘réclamation’ (complaint) on line by logging in to your account and clicking on ‘Effectuer une démarche > faire une réclamation > réclamation sur l’impôt sur le revenu’.
- If you dont wish to make your claim on line, you can write directly to the address at the top of your tax form.
Prefer to trust your taxes to an expert? Check out one of the P-O Life registered partners offering help with your taxes here.
Petrol station security
Card cloning in self service petrol stations is on the up, and French police are asking drivers to be vigilant and to contact them on 17 (do not approach the person or people concerned) if any unusual activity around the pumps is witnessed.
A device fitted to the pump payment area reads the card details, while a small camera films the numbers being tapped in. All very clever, and not at all obvious, so usually you will not know it’s happened until you receive your next statement! Take care out there!
How much did you know? Have you got a useful, interesting, weird and wonderful fact to share? Let us know!