DRYING laundry on a balcony overlooking the street is now an offence in the historic centre of the Hérault town of Béziers.
The town’s far-right mayor Robert Ménard, who was elected into office in March with the support of the Front National, has signed an order which prohibits residents - for aesthetic reasons - leaving their washing outside to dry in case it is visible from public roads, between 6am and 10pm.
Mr Ménard said that buildings in the town’s historic centre play an important role in the perception of the town and said that their “facades have a significant impact on the economic and tourist attractiveness of Béziers”.
The order also prohibits residents beating their carpets and rugs near windows after 10am. Anyone caught flouting the new rules will be subject to a fine, though the amount of the penalty has not been revealed.
It may, however, be as high as €38, as that is the amount people have risked paying for drying their washing outside in the Bords-de-Seine area of Mantes-la-Jolie, on the outskirts of Paris since 2009.
This latest bylaw comes after Mr Ménard ordered a curfew on on young people in certain neighbourhoods, decided that halal meat would no longer be served in municipal restaurants, and increased fines to €35 for dog owners who allow their animals to foul the streets.