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Poissons d’Avril spotted in French press today…have you been fooled?

Have you heard?! The president of France will parade in an electric Citroën Ami car for July 14, and gendarmes are to start training cats for their ‘feline brigade’...or are they…?

A Citroen Ami electric car, and a cat in a police hat

Cars, cats…and fish: Sadly both stories about a Citroen Ami and gendarmerie cats were revealed to be Poissons d’Avril stories Pic: Sibuet Benjamin / Shutterstock

Good news for fans of small cars…and cats! The Elysée Palace has said that the president will parade in a Citroën Ami for July 14, while gendarmes in southeast France are to start training cats for patrol!

Electric par excellence

Car website Autoplus said that the Elysée confirmed the eco-friendly news in a statement this morning (April 1). It said: “For July 14, the president is going green. The government has decided to enact some significant changes for 2022.

“Faced with the challenges of climate change, the Elysée has decided to show an example by renouncing combustion engines. It is time to use an entirely electric vehicle for official trips by the Head of State.”

The current presidential vehicle is a DS7Crossback Elysée. The bulletproof, 300 horsepower, 3.2 tonne, four-wheel-drive vehicle was used for the first time by Emmanuel Macron on November 11 last year.

In contrast, the Citroën Ami is an eight-horsepower, totally electric car that can be driven without a licence and weighs just 489kg when empty…

The statement continued: “After several months of reflection, the Citroën Ami was finally chosen for the presidential parade. It is a popular electric car par excellence: very affordable, practical, and above all made in France!”

Feline good

Another story raising eyebrows today includes a statement by the gendarmerie in Digne-les-Bains (Alpes de Haute-Provence, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur) that they are to start training cats to take part in a “feline brigade” to match their long-standing canine rivals.

The presence of a cat on patrol could “soften up motorists” during speed checks and other routine patrols, said the statement on social media.

It comes after a gendarmerie officer posted a photo of a traffic patrol officer working with a grey-coloured cat standing guard next to him.

The post read: “Always at the forefront of progress, the Dignes-les-Bains unit is currently testing a feline brigade. While the long-term success of the plan against dangerous roads is uncertain, it should help catch motorists' attention…”

But are they? 

Sadly, both stories have of course been revealed as April Fools, or “Poissons d’Avril” in French. 

The Elysée statement was purely a joke, perhaps to raise awareness of eco-friendly driving; but the gendarmerie had an altogether more serious message to send.

They sought to remind drivers of the importance of paying attention and going slowly on the roads.

"Obviously, it’s not real,” admitted Paul Boulvrais, head of the Dignes-les-Bains brigade, to BFMTV. “I got this picture from a crew member in the field.”

“And we had this little idea for April 1. But the idea is mainly to raise awareness among the general public to limit road crime. In any case, with or without a cat, slow down.”

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Did you spot Poisson d'Avril jokes in French press?

Poisson d'Avril – did you get fooled?

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