French ‘daily’ paper sells first issue in four years

A French “daily” newspaper that is only published once every four years - on February 29 - has released its eleventh edition.

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The newspaper, named La Bougie du Sapeur, only comes out during a Leap Year (such as this year), when the calendar adds one more day to the month of February, once every four years.

The paper is published in time for the February 29 date and is now available.

A 20-page array of puns, real and fake interviews, satirical commentary, and “more or less serious” accounts of the main news over the past four years, it describes itself as “proudly politically incorrect”.

The latest edition features stories on famous cockerel Maurice; the use of English in the era of Brexit; and interviews with the chef Hélène Darroze, comedian Philippe Chevallier, and the eccentric Paris mayoral candidate, Cédric Villani.

Chief editor Jean d’Indy explained to French public news service FranceInfo: “The main headlines are like those you would find in a daily newspaper; political life, economics, international news.

"The further you go into the paper, the lighter the subjects become: entertainment, sport, and the ‘icing on the cake’ for a newspaper published as rarely as ours: the ‘last minute’ page.”

The newspaper is available in normal newsagents and newspaper kiosks, and 200,000 issues will be printed - up from the 130,000 printed four years ago.

It sells for €4.80 in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Switzerland. The sales go on to finance the next issue.

A portion of the profit also goes to help the charitable association A Tire d'Aile, which supports people with epilepsy and autism.

The editions are put together by a team of around a dozen volunteers, including several journalists. New contributors joined the team this year, including a group in their 20s, for the first time.

Mr d’Indy said: “We have reduced the average age because we have to prepare the next issue!”

New journalist for this year, Melchior Riant, who is 25 and usually works for monthly culture magazine Technikart, said: “I appreciate the ‘liberal tone’ [and] the editorial meetings that take place at restaurants with good wine.”

Mr d’Indy added: “La Bougie is a mainstay of French humour. There are puns about the same old things; there are all kinds of humour in the French tradition. We must continue it, and we must ask young people to get involved in our universe, and continue what we are building.”

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