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TEST : How good are you at understanding the humour of the South of France?

TEST : How good are you at understanding the humour of the South of France?

Pour le savoir, start answering the questions below.

You’ve probably heard the expression “That was the sardine that blocked Marseille harbour”. It’s used to qualify a somewhat exaggerated or eccentric story. But do you know where it comes from?

A – From a true story. In 1712, a whale was stranded on the dyke which protects the entrance to Marseille’s Vieux-Port, paralysing maritime transport for several days. The Marseillais, who knew nothing of this imposing marine mammal, talked of nothing else and mistook the whale for an “overweight sardine”.

B – From a misunderstanding. In 1780, a ship named “La Sartine” was stranded not far from Marseille harbour, preventing the other ships from moving around. The grapevine did the rest.

C – From a stupid legend. There are no sardines in the Mediterranean.

D – I didn’t understand the question.

In a number of villages in Provence, you can find a “Rue Rompe Cuou”. But what does “Rompe Cuou” mean?

A – Absolutely nothing. It’s an expression that Parisians on holiday in Provence use to “seem more typical”. The Provencal people, who have never dared admit it to the Parisians, even decided to christen some streets with this name so as not to embarrass them.

B – Quite simply “Break bottom”. It’s the term for a very steep street where… there you are. You’ve got it.

C – The Rompe Cuou are a great Provencal family who have been making quality paving stones since the 19th century. All the cobble stones in the “Rompe Cuou” streets and many other streets in Provence, come from their factory in Salon-de-Provence. Charles-Henri Rompe Cuou was even deputy-mayor of Marseille in 1922.

D – Sorry, I still haven’t understood the question.

A novelty called “Pompon” has appeared in the Alps in the last few months. What is it?

A – Pompon is a little tame marmot which became the mascot of the Pelvoux-Vallouise ski resort. This winter, it even learned to ski and earned its first skiing snowflake test.

B – Pompon is the name of the new “nature” vintage of the Domaine Allemande winegrowing estate, in the Hautes-Alpes. The vintage bears the name of the horse that tilled the parcels.

C – Alphonse Pompon is the new mayor of Embrun.

D – Without wanting to be a killjoy, your quiz is really stupid!

The people of the Alps never give in. Especially the inhabitants of the Briançonnais valley, known to have successfully countered a project that did not meet their approval. What was the project?

A – In 2003, a famous American brand of ready-to-wear clothing, won over by the undeniable charm of this valley, wanted to set up a factory. It had even found its slogan: “Briançon, les fringues qui te rendent trop canon”.

B – In the 1st century A.D., Julius Caesar, who had launched his conquest of the Gauls, decided not to persevere with his idea of conquering this provincial land. He was absolutely terrified by the rebellious character of the people of Briançon.

C – At the start, Arendelle, the magical kingdom of the “Frozen”, in the Disney movie, was to be inspired by the snowy landscapes of the Briançon valley. When they heard of this project, the inhabitants countered the project with a categorical “no”. Because we have to admit it, but the idea of a talking snowman is totally grotesque.

D – You must be joking?!

A famous detective story by Agatha Christie, the Blue Train takes place, on board the train of the same name taking its occupants to the beauty of the Côte d’Azur. Which of the following characters led the investigation:

A – Ulysse Navet

B – Hercule Poirot

C – Achille Courgette

D – I can’t take this test any more (even if I’m still reading)


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There is a festival evey year in Nice. What is it called?

A – Les Pince-sans-rire

B – Les Plages du rire

C – La foire aux délires, a huge market where everyone can auction their maddest ideas by selling their intellectual property to the purchaser, all controlled by a judicial officer.

D – None of them, I’m not completely stupid.


  • You got a majority of As :

Sorry, you don’t master Southern French humour. But this is not inevitable. A little holiday in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur will rapidly put this right.

  • You got a majority of Bs :

Bravo! You completely master the subtlety of Southern French humour. Tell everyone.

  • You got a majority of Cs :

Sorry, you don’t really get Southern French humour, but you have bags of imagination and that’s really positive.

  • You got a majority of Ds :

You definitely do not understand the humour of the South of France, nor any other form of humour.

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