'Bum' town pushes Paris off Monopoly's top spot

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Pride of place on the new edition of the French Monopoly board, due out in the first half of next year, will not, as one might expect, go to Paris. The capital trails a sad 31st in the rear (quite literally it might be said) of the small south-western French town of Montcuq.

Hasbro, the maker of the well-known board game, launched an online poll last September to allow people to vote for the 22 towns which are going to take the place of the Parisian street names that currently fill the board.

Many of France's major towns have come out on top of Paris in the poll, with Dunkirk taking second place and Perpignan third. But sitting atop, with 55,000 votes in comparison to Paris's meagre 5,000, is the small yet infamous town of Montcuq. The town's name achieved notoriety in Le Petit Rapporteur, a satirical spoof news show, when the comedian, Daniel Prévost, highlighted its unfortunate spoken resemblance to the French "mon cul" which means "my bum". Thus, if the voters have their way, "Montcuq" will replace the current occupant of the number one spot on the Monopoly board, La Rue de la Paix: the equivalent of Mayfair or Park Lane in the English version of the game.

This is surely not what Hasbro had in mind when they decided to create, via the new edition of Monopoly, a "window on to France". Nevertheless, the company's marketing director has played down any irritation at the lewd humour displayed by Montcuq's supporters and instead has described its potential number one position as a fitting tribute to a man who was one of the main figures of television's Le Petit Rapporteur (as well as Cécilia Sarkozy's first husband), Jacques Martin, who died last month.

In Paris, a small group has launched a campaign called "Everyone behind Paris!" to try and keep it on the board.

In Montcuq itself, the news has done nothing to disrupt the ordinary pattern of life where the traditional games of boules continue peacefully in the village square. If the opinion of Franck, one of the boules players is anything to go by, Hasbro is not going to win a monopoly here: "It will be boules in the afternoon and then Monopoly in the evening."