Almost 67 years ago, the mayor of Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Vaucluse) issued a decree forbidding the "flying over, landing and taking off of flying saucers on the entire territory of the commune." A good way to create a buzz, half a century before the invention of the Internet.
November 1954: Lucien Jeune, mayor of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, issued a decree forbidding the flying of saucers and flying cigars over the entire territory of the town. The offenders will be fined by the local gardener, the text specifies. And their machine will be confiscated and given to the pound.
Today, everyone agrees that this decree is a great publicity stunt for Châteauneuf-du-Pape, just like the son of the former mayor of the town, Elie Jeune:
"My father had this idea of arrest during a congress with other mayors of France. At the time, there was a lot of talk about aliens and UFOs, it was all the rage. Great stories were circulating. My father had the idea of using them to advertise Châteauneuf. It was a great publicity stunt...and free."
And it worked: media came from all over the world to interview the mayor and his constituents. The name of Châteauneuf circulated far beyond the wine industry. And even today, the anti-ovni decree is still the subject of much ink.
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