French Haunted House Auctioned Off on eBay for Just 1 Euro

A listing on the French version of eBay recently went viral after being picked up by major news outlets. Apparently, someone is selling a haunted house in Arbresle, Rhône-Alpes region, for just 1 euro.

It’s true that the place doesn’t look like much, if the photos are anything to go by, but still 1 euro for a 110 square meter home and a 350 square meter piece of land is really cheap. Maud69620, the person who listed the house does have her reasons for basically giving away the house for free. According to the description on eBay, a horrible murder took place there sometime during the 1950s, and now it’s haunted by troubled spirits. Paranormal phenomena observed inside the house include knocks on windows, strange voices and murmurs, weird noises and moving objects. All that’s missing from a complete haunted house package is a ghost. But Maud is not in the mood for jokes. In fact she specifically asks those who think her listing is a fake not to contact her, as the ad is only addressed to those who believe in the spirit world.

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French Company Offers Thrill-Seekers the Chance to Be Kidnapped

A basic abduction package in France will cost you about $1,300. No, not the ransom, but actually getting yourself kidnapped.

If you’re looking for an experience straight out of a Hollywood movie, Eastern France is the place you need to be, where a small company called Ultime Realite provides the unique service. The basic package consists of being seized by strangers, bound, gagged and bundled into a car, and kept in a dark cellar for four hours. Advanced packages include tailor-made services such as boat chases, helicopter escapes, and being kept for longer periods of time.

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French Artist Buries Himself in a Tiny Hole for Seven Days, to Read

How far would you go to find some peace and quiet for a nice read? French artist Abraham Poincheval stayed buried for a whole week in a tiny underground hole in the underpinning of a Marseille bookstore, with books as the only company.

On September 20, Abraham Poincheval began his unique performance, aptly entitled 604,800 seconds. Equipped only with a headlamp, some water, freeze-dried food, a camera and most importantly a small stack of books selected by the booksellers at the “Histoire d’un Jour” bookstore, he descended into a 62cm-wide and 1.7m-deep shaft dug in the underpinning of the Marseille venue. The size of the hole meant he couldn’t sit or stand up, making the claustrophobic experiment all the more difficult. He was covered with a stone lid and started enjoying his seven days separated from the outside world by reading. During all the 604,800 seconds he remained buried under the bookstore, Abraham filmed everything he did (which obviously wasn’t much, since he could hardly move), and the images were projected on the walls of the bookstore/gallery. He also stayed in touch with civilization via a microphone and speaker, which helped him communicate with visitors.

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Utopix – French Family Turn Barren Field into Outsider Art

Jo and Dominique Pillet’s home ‘Utopix’ is like something right out of a fairy tale. They started work on it about 30 years ago, and although it was completed as of 2010, it continues to evolve. The beauty of the house is not just in the construction, but the patience and perseverance put in by its builders, given that the land it stands on was considered to be barren. Utopix is located on an 11 hectare (27 acre) plot in Causse de Sauveterre, Lozere, France. Causses are sparsely populated plateaus of limestone. The limestone soil does not hold water and so the terrain is very much like a desert, but that didn’t stop this French family from fulfilling their dream.

The Pillets got married in the 70s and purchased their plot of land with the intention of building a beautiful home. Being artists themselves, they wanted to create something that was both functional and aesthetically pleasing. It’s been a long journey with several hurdles, but the couple has managed to complete the task and quite beautifully in fact. The construction project was started in 1979, and Jo Pillet mostly worked on it alone, or with the help of a few friends. He mostly made use of the abundant limestone in the region, structuring it in the form of igloos. The domed structures were then reinforced with concrete and wood, and later covered with stones to give them a cave-like feel. After two whole decades, the building finally began to take shape in 1992. Utopix has been quite popular since then, with local newspapers carrying stories, and several visitors coming to see it regularly.

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Hamster Villa Lets You Experience Life as a Small Rodent

According to French scenographer Yann Falquerho, sometimes people really do want to live like their caged pets. I’m not sure I do, but Falquerho must be right, because his creation – the Villa Hamster – is immensely popular. The hotel allows you to experience exactly what the life of a caged hamster is like.

42-year-old Falquerho had always felt that the hotel industry did not pay any attention to the animal transformation niche. So he decided to open his own hotel designed with a hamster theme. Villa Hamster opened in 2009 and has been very popular ever since then. Located in Nantes, western France, the hotel opened with a room tariff of $150 per night, but this was soon increased in accordance with the demand. “We have a lot of success with this little house. It is because of the concept to transform into an animal,” Falquerho told the press just a couple of weeks after the hotel was inaugurated.

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La Maison a Vaisselle Cassee – Outsider Art in Louviers, France

La Maison a Vaisselle Cassée or The Broken Crockery House, is a very special place located in Louviers, France. I took a look at a few pictures and couldn’t help being reminded of the gingerbread house from Hansel and Gretel. Of course, you can’t eat this one and there’s no evil witch living there.

This was the home of Robert Vasseur and his wife, who abandoned wallpaper and painstakingly decorated their home with mosaics made from broken crockery, seashells, twinkling china and glass. Born in 1908, Vasseur was a milk transporter and also worked in textiles. His strange passion for mosaic decoration started way back in 1952 when he first got the idea while doing repair work in his kitchen. He embellished an old cement kitchen sink with broken crockery mosaics and never looked back. Starting with that old sink, he expanded his idea to the interior of his house, the backyard, then the garden and later even the dog house. This went on for the next 50 years or so.

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Who Needs Privacy: 5 People Live in Paris Subway Station Apartment

Here’s another example of a bizarre business promotional strategy. This time it’s by IKEA and they actually took over a Paris subway station.

In a bid to prove that with IKEA furnishing you can make any living space comfortable, the company erected an apartment right in the middle of the Auber station in Paris. It was only 581 sq ft. in size and five people lived in it for five days (Jan 9th to 14th). The company tried a similar event around two years back when they decked subway platforms with IKEA furnishings, but this took things a step forward. Or maybe a giant leap. The apartment mainly consisted of IKEA storage products, clearly aiming at space management. Plain to view through huge clear-glass windows for the hundreds of thousands of people who use the subway, their publicity stunt sure didn’t miss any eyeballs. Time-lapse videos have been made of the construction of the apartment. Videos documenting the experiences of the five people living there have also been put up by the company.

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Chateau Guédelon – A 13th Century Castle in the Making

It is sometimes unbelievable how beautiful architecture was created in ancient times, without the use of modern technology. A medieval construction project in Treigny, France, aims at understanding exactly how this was possible. Guédelon Castle is a project that is being completed with only the materials and techniques that were available to man in the Middle Ages. Of course, it’s going to take decades to complete.

The construction of Guédelon Castle started back in 1997. Michel Guyot, the owner of the nearby Saint-Fargeau castle, first got the idea of the project when he was restoring his own property. Over the years, the project has matured in terms of complexity, and has become a major tourist attraction. Today, it has created over 55 jobs and draws around 300,000 people every year. It also acts as an educational backdrop for school excursions. The design of the castle is based on the architectural canons laid down by the King of France,  Philip II Augustus, in the 12th and 13th centuries. The work done is mostly manual and slow, involving materials such as wood, earth, sand, stone and clay. The blueprint of the castle includes a moat and six towers. What’s even more fascinating is that the workers dress in the garb of medieval times.

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The Amazing Oak Chapel of Allouville Bellefosse

The French village of Allouville-Bellefosse is famous for the Chêne Chapelle (Oak Chapel), which is literally a chapel built into an oak tree. The amazing architecture consists of a wooden staircase spiraling around the ancient tree, leading up to a couple of chambers. These rooms have always been used as places of worship, by the village locals.

The age of the tree has been a subject of debate, but everyone agrees that it is the oldest tree in France, without a doubt. The tree is known to have been growing as far back as the thirteenth century, during the rule of Louis IX, when France was a truly centralized kingdom. It is also known to have survived the Hundred Years War against the English, the Black Death, the Reformation, and Napoleon’s rule. Local folklore dates it a 1,000 years old, when it is said that the acorn took root. However, tree experts say it could only be around 800 years old, which means the thirteenth century saw it’s origins.

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La Pourcailhade – Becoming a Pig in France

La Pourcailhade is a festival dedicated to one of the most popularly eaten animal around the world, the pig. I’d like to mention that the Festival isn’t dedicated to pork as much as it is to the pig. There’s the usual “eat the most… to win” contest and a few barbecues go on but they’re far from being the main attractions at La Pourcailhade.

These would be the Best Pig Outfit competition, the “Cri do Cochon” and even the piglet race. The latter is self explanatory and it is made even more fun by betting on the side. It’s basically what the Koreans feel when going to the dog tracks.Where things during La Pourcailhade get even more interesting is in the Best Pig Outfit competition. It is also rather self explanatory but could you seriously imagine anything funnier than grown people walking around and showcasing their pig-like appearance? Especially French people, perceived as some of the coolest and snottiest people in the world.

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French Coffee House Owner Refuses to Sell His Life’s Work – A Story of Courage

Although his is the only standing building in what used to be an old neighborhood of Roubaix, in Northern France, Salah Oudjani refuses to sell the coffee house he has worked in for the last 46 years.

The title doesn’t sound like anything special, after all, many people refuse to have their property demolished, at least in the beginning, until they get a good price or they notice everyone else is selling except them. But for the 71-year-old business owner neither of the above reasons were good enough. The two-story triangular building once located at the intersection of two streets appears to be the only survivor of a serious air raid. Everything around it has been turned to rubble and taken to local landfills, brick by brick, and Oudjani’s place looks like it’s the only sign of life in a wasteland. Like all the other residents, the café owner has received numerous proposals for his property, but he never even considered selling it. “I will not sell! I worked for it, this coffee house. They will not make me go, I’m used to pressure” Oudjani says, and everyone knows he means it.

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French Town Inaugurates Bubble Hotel Rooms in Local Park

The French town of Roubaix, has recently opened a series of portable hotel rooms in a local park. They can be rented by people who want to feel close to nature in the middle of the urban jungle.

The bubble concept thought up by French designer Pierre Stephane Dumas aims to redefine the term temporary leisure accommodation, and is based on the following principles: minimum energy, minimum material, maximum comfort and maximum interaction with the environment. The unusual bubble rooms were launched in 2010 and have since then been made available to people who want to enjoy a unique experience in the middle of nature, for around $700 a night.

In the French city of Roubaix, a series of bubble hotel rooms have been installed in one of the local parks. They come with a clear view of the sky and offer nature lovers to be close to their environment without having to travel to far away. The bubbles are made of recycled plastic and, once inflated retain their shape thanks to an airlock at the entrance and a silent pump which creates constant pressure. Outside noises are reduced to a minimum while inside noises are maximized, so the visitors are encouraged to whisper to each other, in order to create a peaceful atmosphere.

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Controversial Rent-a-Girlfriend Website Proves Big Hit in France

Spoil yourself, rent a girlfriend! This is the line French site Loueunepetiteamie.com uses to convince male visitors to legally rent a female friend, for an hour, an evening, a night or for a weekend.

Tired of being alone? Are you looking for a female companion who can spoil you and make you feel relaxed? Have you tried a bunch of dating sites that left you disappointed? Don’t worry, help is just a few clicks away – Loue Une Petite Amie, which translates as “rent a girlfriend” actually allows guys to rent female companions, legally! The French website assures its clients they have nothing to fear from the law, because this isn’t actually prostitution, but a simple case of renting a person…which apparently isn’t illegal in France.

According to the controversial website, men using Loue Une Petite Amie can find the most beautiful women, invite them to dinner, a song…a nice evening…and more, for anywhere between 20 euros and 540 euros. The site is apparently addressed to all kinds of men, from bachelors who need a break from social pressure regarding their status, married men who are bored of the routine of their private lives, and even people who dislike their sons’ girlfriends and want to find them someone more suitable.

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French Aristocrats Launch Luxury Condoms

The ingenious idea of creating luxury condoms belongs to French aristocrats Prince Charles Emmanuel de Burbon Parme and Count Gil de Bizmont.

Inspired by a trip through the French town of Condom the pair decided to create a sophisticated, chic, useful and  eco-friendly product that wouldn’t make its users embarrassed to carry it around or leave it on the nightstand. Considering the success of luxury brands in our society, luxury condoms might just be the next big thing.

Count Gil de Bizmont says: “There [is] always a need for quality, good taste and beautiful objects. It is sexy to care about yourself and to want to pamper and provide yourself with the very best.”

While the condoms themselves are said to be more upscale than the competition, it’s the packaging that makes them special, as they have replaced the ordinary foil paper with an elegant little black box, similar to those used for jewelry. Count de Bizmont explains: “The luxurious presentation of our product removes any negative stigma associated with a woman who cares enough about herself to be sure to carry along an Original Condom box in her purse, or for a male to leave it on the nightstand without perceptions shifting about expectations, as they definitely should not nowadays.” I must say the that the price tag reflects all this, as a box with three prophylactics costs $13,50, one with six $20, and refills can be bought for  $2 a piece.

Part of the earning will be shared with non-profits that fight AIDS and HIV and their commitment to an eco-friendly environment was demonstrated through the development of new rubber tree forests and the placement of their condom factories on a plantation to reduce carbon emissions.

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Bugarach – The French Village That Will Survive 2012 Armageddon

Armageddon, the end of the world predicted by the ancient Maya for December 2012, is  a very popular subject these days. In fact, it’s so popular that places considered sacred and safe have become the target of many esoteric outsiders.

This is also the case of Bugarach, a peaceful French farming village, located on one of the “sacred mountains” and, believed to be an “alien garage” where aliens await, underground, for the world to end. Many believe that by coming here, they have a chance to be rescued by the aliens, while the rest of the world goes down in flames.

It might sound funny to you, but for mayor Jean-Pierre Delord, this isn’t a joke, as he said in an interview “If tomorrow 10,000 people turn up, as a village of 200 people we will not be able to cope. I have informed the regional authorities of our concerns and want the army to be at hand if necessary come December 2012.” And with all the sites and articles on the internet talking about the UFOs and advising people to go to Bugarach to seek shelter, the army may have their hands full when the time comes.

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