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Thursday, 22 August, 2002, 17:23 GMT 18:23 UK
Death 'banned' from French town
Le Lavandou
Staying alive is an added attraction in Le Lavandou
The mayor of Le Lavandou on the French Cote d'Azur has banned his fellow citizens from dying.

It is a simple solution to a complicated problem.

The existing cemetery is full and the mayor, Gil Bernardi, has been refused permission to establish a new one.


People die nonetheless, it's terrible

Gil Bernardi Mayor of Le Lavandou
"No-one has refused the order, we are unanimous in support for this," he told BBC News Online.

But he admits the ban, which has been in place for two years, is not without its difficulties in a town where about 50 people normally die per year.

"People die nonetheless, it's terrible".

Permanent residents of the town who have already staked a claim to a family plot are still allowed to be buried in the cemetery.

But people with second homes, or visitors to the town, die in Le Lavandou at their peril.

They face being shipped to their home region, or finding their final resting place in a faceless "pigeon-hole" for urns.

Currently, Mr Bernardi is wrestling with the dilemma of where to put a homeless man who has died in the town.

New attraction

Mr Bernardi had plans for a new cemetery in a tranquil spot by the sea.

But a Nice court ruled it a site of extraordinary interest, and refused him permission.

"There is room for the living but not for the dead," he says, adding that the rest of the town is already heavily built up and he sees no alternative location.

Although his ban on dying is hardly a long-term solution, at present he sees no alternative unless there is a change in the law.

And it has certainly added to the town's assets.

"It's created a lot of interest and people find it attractive," Mr Bernardi says.

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