Odd sights on French roads: A 400kg bull and tractor caravan

It has been a week of strange sights on French roads, after police reported finding both a Peugeot 206 carrying a 400 kg live bull, and a German tractor pulling a caravan for hundreds of kilometres.

Published Last updated

In the Gard (Occitanie), gendarmerie reported a driver of a soft-top Peugeot 206 transporting - yes - a real-life, fully-grown, 400kg bull, complete with huge horns, across the back seat.

Witnesses said the bull appeared calm and still, and could almost have been mistaken for a statue or model, but videos from the scene show it moving its head. It was loaded into the back seat of the convertible and tied to the driver’s seat with a rope.

The driver of the vehicle has been identified but, so far, not questioned by police.

The gendarmerie said: “We think that the animal must have got out of his enclosure, and the handler didn’t have any other vehicle to transport him in. We are asking ourselves how [the driver] managed to get the bull into the car.”

But people in the area who know the driver told local newspaper La Provence that the bull is tame, and would have been happy in the car.

One said: “he was bottle-fed. He is like a dog, so it would have been easy. I know that some people will speak about animal welfare, but [the bull] wasn’t at all worried. In any case, if he didn’t want to get in [the car, he wouldn’t have done]. You can’t force a bull to get in.”

The bull is reportedly doing well after his little car journey.

From ‘taureau’ to tractor

Over 700 kilometres away in Vitry-le-François (Marne, Grand Est), gendarmerie reported another unusual sight: an elderly man pulling a caravan by farm tractor.

Writing on their Facebook page, officers said that the retired driver was originally from Germany, and had set off on his journey on June 19.

He had already driven his slow-but-sturdy convoy to Rocamadour (Lot, Occitanie), followed by Mont Saint-Michel (Manche, Normandy), and had been passing through Marne - apparently on the return journey to Germany - when he was stopped.

A member of the motorbike police told local news source France3: “The tractor was being overtaken by several vehicles; it was dangerous. The driver did not speak French, and was not taking department roads. He had made a mistake [when we found him] and was lost on his GPS.

“He had an iPad with him and showed us his photos. He had visited Rocamadour, and Mont Saint-Michel. He was within the rules [of the road] but, because his vehicle is a farming tractor, it couldn’t be seen easily with the caravan attached to it. So we escorted him to [the commune of] Coole (Marne).”

With his vehicle having been checked for safety the driver was allowed to continue his journey, under police escort, towards Songy (Marne), and then continuing towards the west of France.

Another officer said: “It’s original - I had never seen that before. We spoke to him and found out it was the second tractor that he had converted. [His journey was] a kind of pilgrimage. He was wearing a scarf around his neck but did not have a mask.”

This did not appear to be the tractor driver’s first long-distance trip, gendarmerie said, noting a “Trecker on Tour 2020” sticker on his caravan.

They said: “This was not the slow-speed specialist’s first rodeo.”

Related stories

Driver speeding at 230kph arrested in central France

French speeder made false plates to punish cousin

Driver caught doing 202kph was ‘just testing his car’

Stay informed:
Sign up to our free weekly e-newsletter
Subscribe to access all our online articles and receive our printed monthly newspaper The Connexion at your home. News analysis, features and practical help for English-speakers in France