The French city of Carcassonne in the département of Aude is best known – and rightly so – for its medieval citadel, which actually has a history dating back to the Gallo-Roman period and is on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.
However, in recent days Carcassonne has become equally well known – in the Francophone world at least – for the poor quality of the local council’s spelling and its subsequent mockery on social media and in the mainstream print and broadcast media, as Midi Libre reports.
Like any French town or city, some of Carcassonne’s street names commemorate prominent local and/or national figures.
One of those luminaries so honoured in Carcassonne is the physicist Pierre Curie (1859-1906) In 1903, Pierre was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics along with his wife, Marie Skłodowska–Curie and another French scientist, Henri Becquerel, the man who discovered radioactity, all of them being jointly honoured in that year for their contributions to science and knowledge.
As stated by Midi Libre, the cause for the outbreak of mainstream media and social media mockery, not to mention the presence of red faces at the local mairie, can be summarised in one single sentence.
Cette semaine, deux panneaux ont été installés sur l’avenue Pierre Curie, dans la cité audoise, sauf que le célèbre physicien a été rebaptisé… “Pierre Curry” et a donc été orthographié comme la célèbre épice indienne.
Which is rendered in English as the following:
This week, two road signs were installed on Avenue Pierre Curie, in the city in Aude, except that the famous physicist was renamed… “Pierre Curry” and was thus spelled like the famous Indian spice.
The erroneous signs were quickly removed yesterday (Saturday). The council has stated that signs with the correct spelling will be installed from this coming Monday.
The mockery on social media took two forms: firstly, the culinary (it is not known whether Pierre and Marie invented the radioactive tandoori. Ed.), whilst Jo Zefka provides a typical post mocking the council’s poor orthographical skills.
“Avenue Pierre Curry, physicien”.
Demain, la “rue Arthur Rambo, poète” ?
“Avenue Pierre Curie, physicist”.
Tomorrow, “rue Arthur Rambo, poet”?
Your ‘umble scribe is pleased to note the speed with which Carcassonne town hall will be replacing the error-laden road signs. Here in the fair city and county of Bristol, the council – which is not known for its alacrity (except when pursuing council tax arrears .Ed.) – took all of four years to replace an erroneous road sign reading Morton Road (instead of Morton Street) in Lawrence Hill, perhaps because it lacked to comic cock-up quality of its Carcassonnais counterpart.