Two Belgian tourists who were forced to spend the night in a tree in Le Verdon, southeast France, to escape an angry boar, have been rewarded for their terrifying experience with…two fines.
The two 25-year-old men were on a wild camping trip the weekend of July 2-3, and had set up camp and made a fire between Castellane and Rougon (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence). In the middle of the night, they were attacked by a wild boar.
Panicked, the two campers felt they had no choice but to climb a tree three metres high to escape. Perching in the tree, they were able to call emergency services for help.
A gendarmerie team soon arrived.
A later witness said: “There were no branches on the tree; they had to grip onto it as much as they could before reaching the top.”
And while the gendarmerie saw that the boar was still present, and was charging at the tree in which the campers were hiding, they finally managed to encourage it to flee.
They then gave the terrified campers a fine of €135 for illegal wild camping, and another €135 fine for having made a fire.
Wild camping (le camping sauvage) is legal in France, but it is strongly regulated and campers should follow certain rules. For example, you are not allowed to camp on the coast, in protected nature reserves or around historic monuments.
In this instance, the campers got away relatively lightly, as fines can reach as much as €1,500.
Lighting a fire in most wild spaces in France is currently forbidden due to the heightened risk of forest fires, as a result of the dry weather.