The problem with the short name of the village “Eu”

Chateau dEuA few issues back we listed some of the French communes with very short names including the literally deprived Y in Picardie. In some of those places their brief appellation is regarded as rather amusing. Not the case of Eu in Normandy. This little town (8000 inhabitants, Château d’Eu, pictured) had until not all that long ago quite a good tourist trade. In recent years visitors have fallen by a third.

The reason? Those looking for information on the web find a less than infallible guide with all sorts of muddle involving the EU (English) and even the past participle of avoir. The town’s mayor is also not happy when she hears herself referred to as “maire d’Eu” (say it and see). She’d like to change the name to Eu-le-Château. But that could take four years and involve a massive bureaucratic operation; a council vote, a local referendum, an act of parliament and agreement of the cabinet. And that sort of thing we also owe to Napoleon.