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France's "favourite village" has winning plaque stolen

France’s “favourite village”, Kaysersberg, in the Haut-Rhin, is calling for witnesses and information, after its golden winning plaque was stolen overnight.

The village was named the country’s “favourite” ("Le village préféré des Français”) in the 2017 competition of the same name, run by the French television channel France 2.

It beat Saint-Valery-sur-Somme (Hauts-de-France) and La Roque-Gageac (Nouvelle-Aquitaine) to the title.

Now, the town’s Mairie (town hall) and tourism office have called for witnesses to the theft of the golden plaque, after receiving reports that it had vanished overnight on Saturday August 5.

The theft is probably due to a “useless and stupid dare”, said Christophe Bergamini, director of the tourism office of the Vallée de Kaysersberg, reported in the French newspaper Le Figaro.

The plaque is usually fixed to a stone column in the village centre and has become a tourist attraction, as the village has seen a 40% increase in visitors this summer due to its victory, according to the tourism office. 

“This plaque is a symbol of all the efforts made by the residents and the tourism office to show off the beauty of our village,” Bergamini explained. “People that come to Alsace on holiday pass by here, and want to see the plaque.”

On a post update on its Facebook page, the village's tourism office wrote: “Yes, there are more serious things, but this is still the theft of something that belongs to all the residents of Kaysersberg, Alsace, France, and that is why we are so disappointed and exasperated by this act, [which shows] such lack of respect.

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