FRANCE: Arsenic & White Wine

"The devil is active in Chatellerault, in Chinon and in Domfront, but above all he is active in Loudun." So said Rabelais four centuries ago; at least, that's what the people of Loudun say he said. Some people suspect that Loudun, a town of 5,313 in western France, is still a little proud of its reputation for casual wickedness. "I think," said a bookseller of Loudun last week, "it is because of our fine white wines. One can drink liters, like water, but suddenly it hits like a coup de fusil and even the old feel young."

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