In 1954, the mayor of the village of Châteauneuf-du-Pape issued an order prohibiting the overflight, take-off and landing of flying saucers and cigars for the entire town. It is specified that any UFO that does not comply with this order could be fined by the gardener and confiscation of the vehicle.
Art1. The overflight, landing and take-off of aircraft known as flying saucers or flying cigars of any nationality whatsoever, are prohibited on the territory of the municipality.
Art 2. Any aircraft, known as a flying saucer or a flying cigar, which will land on the territory of the municipality, will be immediately impounded.
Art 3. The rural guard and the private guard are responsible, each as far as he is concerned, with the execution of this decree.
A wave of observations throughout France
Admittedly, this "coup" was primarily a free media operation to publicize the wine village, but the idea of using the UFO topic to attract media attention followed the multiple sightings of UFOs made in France. During the months of September, October and November 1954: thousands of people observed "flying saucers". More than 1,700 reports of UFO sightings have been recorded.
The observations take place in September in Quarouble, Bayonne, Lencouacq, Tulle, Ussel, Gelles, Vichy, Chabeuil, Tromborn, Forbach, Moulins, Marcilly-sur-Vienne…In October, UFOs are observed in La Ferté-Macé, Lavenay, Ballon, Montlevicq, Cassis, Corbigny, Puymoyen, Marcillac, Ambleteuse...
UFO caught on camera, scientists get involved
Émile Turpin, inspector at the SNCF, sees a disc in the sky of Ambleteuse and manages to photograph it twice.His testimony is collected by the french police and these photos will make the headlines of many media. One of the founding fathers of space flight, astronautical physicist Hermann Oberth, claims in the press that the craft are piloted by intelligent plants, the Uranids.
In November, the observations decrease, the press gets bored.The Academy of Medicine will eventually evoke a "collective psychosis" to explain this wave of UFOs.Among all the sightings, some turned out to be hoaxes, others natural phenomena, others remain unexplained ...
More than 50 years after this wave of observation, in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, no mayor has removed the anti-UFO decree which continues to apply in the wine village.