France passes law to protect ‘sensory heritage’ of smells and noises of its rural areas


France has passed a law protecting “sensory heritage” of its countryside, after there were grouses about the smells and noises typical of the rural areas.

Senators in France voted to approve the bill which is designed to defend aspects of country life against complaints by vacationer or new arrivals, dubbed as “neo-rural.”

Joël Giraud, the Minister for Rural Affairs, said he celebrated the adoption of the law, which aims to “define and protect the sensory heritage of the French countryside,” according to

In 2019, a court in western France rejected a bid by neighbours who had purchased a holiday home to have a rooster named Maurice, silenced. 

It was a cause of celebration for activists in France, fighting to preserve the countryside in the face of residents claiming that loud animal noises native to the place, were a nuisance. 

Months later, a court in western France also ruled in favour of a duck and goose farmer who was sued by her neighbour for the animals’ quacking.

Giraud was quoted as saying that, understanding the typical “sounds and smells” of rural areas will be useful in “preventing disagreements between neighbors.”

Lawmakers said the legislation would stem the threat to France’s agricultural lands, as the number of social conflicts between long-term residents of rural communities and new arrivals is on a hike.

Under this new law, singing cicadas, croaking frogs, whirring tractors, church bells, cowbells, noisy tractors among other rural sounds and smells will be considered a part of France’s natural heritage.

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