There are plenty of regulations when it comes to end of life, but the French coastal town of Le Lavandou might just have the weirdest. That's because in 2000, this small village on the French Riviera made it illegal to die.

The bylaw may sound ridiculous, and in many ways its origins are just that. Faced with a scarcity of burial plots in town and frustrated with rejected proposals for a new cemetery within city limits, then-mayor Gil Bernardi decided to shed a light on the grave situation by passing a rather symbolic measure prohibiting townspeople to die if they have not yet acquired a post-mortem plot.

Le Levandou is not the first town in the world to enact such a restriction, but it gained instant fame with a series of Bernardi-led press conferences. The charismatic leader said he was disappointed that his town could not get approval for a new graveyard, and that while his anti-dying law was meant as a publicity stunt, it seemed to be having an effect on his constituents. "It's an absurd law to counter an absurd situation," he told the press back in 2000. "But it's working: no one's died here since it was passed, and I hope it stays that way."

 

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