Following our blog about Bill Wills’ travels to places with naughty names, he recently sent us this article about Bitche in the north east of France
Bitche is a beautiful town in the Lorraine area of France. Known as Bitcheland in Germany, it has a history spanning centuries. Its main attraction after being a chemical weapons testing ground is its beautiful golf course Golf de Bitche.
Important things to know about Bitche:
- The town of Bitche derives its name from the old stronghold, mentioned in 1172 as Bytis Castrum, or neutered female dog. This was a medieval practice of pulling the womb out of a female dog, which was used in fertility rituals and then eaten with garlic and snails.
- Citizens of Bitche are called Bitches from the Latin bitch meaning female dog or foul woman. This name was coined by Oscar Wilde on a summer holiday where he noted “Ah yes, the women of Bitche, aptly named and untamed, I would call them dogs but bitches is far the more suitable.”
- Many foreign visitors end up in Bitche by mistake. English speaking tourists rarely speak a second language and therefore will try and communicate with the locals expecting them to understand English. Shouting doesn’t help. The Department of Statistics at the University of Upper Alsace reported as a result of the French population’s stubborn resistance to any language other than French, and the English speakers stubborn resistance to learn other foreign languages and furthermore the French people’s sick sense of humor have sent tourists looking for the beach on the West coast of France to Bitche. Last week 30 tourists ended up in Bitche, 15 hours drive from their desired destination of Monaco.
- Bitche has the highest amount of natural polonium in the world. This has increased tourism especially from the Soviet Union, China and a plethora of African states. Because of the number of tourists prepared to pay anything to stay in the town a night in the Grande can cost your over $1,000 without breakfast, but does include a cheap hooker if asked.
- In 1986 when the people of Bitche first received electricity and running water they were dragged screaming in the 20th Century. Having lived with simple pleasures since the Dark Ages, they were reluctant to change their ways. Child sacrifice was finally abolished in 2002 and the last Cathar was burned at the stake in 2009. It is important to note that the authorities, mindful of guarding the cultural traditions and practices of the people of Bitche, do occasionally turn a blind eye and it is not unusual for outsiders to stumble on a sacrifice or other ritual considered ‘distasteful’ in 21st-Century Europe
The best way to reach Bitche is to start at the Gare Du Nord in Paris, go to the ticket booth and simply smile and say Bitche. If the woman looks confused say the word “bitch” with a foreign accent or shout it as loud as you can. Finally it always good to chant it a number of times walking around the ticket office until somebody helps you.