Wednesday, 4 June 2008

"Jamais sans mon département"

One of the games almost anyone who has travelled long distances by road in France has played is spotting the departmental number at the end of French number plates. Each French "département" - the county, maybe in English - has a number, allocated alphabetically from 01 for Ain (where we happen to live) to 95 for the Val-d'Oise - and traditionally the last two numbers of the car's number plate is the number of the department - our 17 year old Golf sports 01, but when we bought it, it had a number plate 59 (as we then lived in the Departement du Nord). What better way of passing the time on a long journey by trying to guess if 46 is the Departement of Lot or Lot-et Garonne, for example. Anyway, in the name of efficiency, the government is planning to replace the traditional number plate with a national number plate which would belong to the car "for life". I'm pleased to say that there is already a citizens' action group, "Jamais sans mon département" (Never without my department) which is mobilising against the proposal and has attracted cross-party support from the Communists to the ruling conservative UMP party, and now has its own Facebook page.