Preserving the Countryside: France's Landmark Legislation

Elise Baarsma,  Thursday, 11 April 2024

Village in the French Elsas

In an era where the French countryside increasingly becomes a haven for urban escapees, France has taken a significant step to safeguard the quintessence of rural life. A groundbreaking law now protects the characteristic sounds and smells of the countryside from complaints by newcomers, referred to as "néoruraux." This legislation aims to foster harmony between the traditional inhabitants and those seeking the rustic allure of rural France.

Catalysts for the Legislation

The need for such a law was highlighted by several incidents that underscored the tension between rural communities and the newcomers. In a notable case, néoruraux called the police to lodge complaints about the "noisy" cricket chirps, a sound that epitomizes the charm of the French countryside for many. Another poignant instance involved draining a 92-year-old woman's pond after complaints about frog croaking were lodged, sparking national outrage.

Key Aspects of the Law

By introducing this unique piece of legislation, France seeks to resolve such disputes once and for all by officially recognizing that noises such as frog croaking, cricket chirping, church bell ringing, and the rumble of agricultural machinery are integral to rural life and must be protected. These sounds and smells are now considered part of France's cultural heritage.

Implications for Future Homeowners

For those considering purchasing a second home in the French countryside, this law provides crucial insights:

  • Managing Expectations: Be prepared for the real sounds of countryside living, now protected by law and beyond grounds for complaint.
  • Cultural Integration: View these aspects of rural life as an essential part of French countryside culture, rather than an inconvenience.
  • Sustainable Relationships: Building good relationships with neighbors and the local community is key to harmonious coexistence.


The enactment of this law highlights France's commitment to protecting its rural culture and traditions, offering a pathway to understanding and respect between original inhabitants and newcomers. It marks an important step in preserving the rural heritage and serves as a lesson in appreciating the full spectrum of countryside life.

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French village in the countryside
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