Page last updated at 13:09 GMT, Monday, 24 August 2009 14:09 UK

UK tourist trapped in French hall

Dannemarie town hall, image courtesy of Ville de Dannemarie website
Dannemarie's hotel de ville is one of the town's most impressive buildings

A British tourist has spent a night trapped in a French town hall after mistakenly thinking she could book a room at the "hotel de ville".

The hapless female visitor arrived in the Alsace town of Dannemarie on Friday and tried to find a bed for the night.

Spotting the impressive-looking "hotel de ville", the tourist popped in to use the toilet before trying to check in.

But as she was in the convenience, officials finished a meeting, left the town hall and locked its door.

The solitary traveller, said to be in her 30s, ended up with the inconvenience of spending the night on chairs in the building's lobby.

'Je suis fermer ici'

The woman tried calling for help and switching the town hall lights on and off to attract attention, Dannemarie's mayor, Paul Mumbach, told the BBC.


But her plight went unnoticed until Saturday morning when a passer-by noticed a message she posted on the inside of one of the building's glass doors.

"The note said 'Je suis fermer ici. Est ce possible moi la porte ouvrir?' (I am to close here. Is it possible me the door to open?)" said Mr Mumbach.

"The woman did not speak very much French, but she did make it clear that the next night she would find a proper hotel to sleep in," he said.

Dannemarie is a small town of some 2,500 people near the Swiss and German borders, but the nearest open hotel is in the neighbouring town, said the mayor.

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