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Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Twin honour for France's first lady

Just before the New Year is ushered in, here's a story that might just tickle the fancy of anyone wanting a respite from serious breaking news.

A French village in the Auvergne region in the south of the country is looking to "twin" with a village close to the Italian city of Turin, to honour France's first lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy.

The French village in question - Carlat (pronounced Carla) and the Italian? Well you've probably guessed - Bruni.

The idea is the brainchild apparently of the Communist mayor of Carlat (population 300), Alain Cousin.

He told Agence France Presse that he had been looking for a while for a village named "Bruni" and although while surfing the Net he had found several alternatives in the United States, Switzerland, Austria and Portugal, in the end he had plumped for the Italian option.

"I've no idea of the political leanings of the mayor of Bruni," he said.

"But all the indications are that the two villages have a lot in common," he added.

"It (Bruni) is a village in the mountains, makes good regional products and has a strong folklore culture - just as we do."

What's more, Turin is the city in which Bruni-Sarkozy, who celebrated her 41st birthday on December 23 was born, although her family moved to France when she was just six years old.

The plan reportedly has the backing of the entire council of Carlat and as far as the mayor is concerned would help draw attention through cultural and economic exchanges to the picturesque village famous for its "Rocher de Carlat" or rock of Carlat, once home to a chateau razed to the ground in 1604.

Twinning is of course a concept widely practised throughout the world, and in the European Union at least, is a chance for a city, town or village to organise cultural links with a counterpart in another country.

Cousin said that he had sent an email to the mayor of Bruni just before Christmas, and was hoping for a reply shortly.

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