FRANCE: Just Say Yes, He'll Do the Rest

The tiny French Alpine hamlet of Novel, 3,000 ft. above sea level, has no store of any kind and only 34 inhabitants. Yet in the past decade, Novel has witnessed a remarkable 800 to 900 weddings. Couples itching to be hitched flock there from all over France and neighboring Switzerland, only a mountain torrent and a small bridge away. What makes Novel the Elkton, Md., or Gretna Green, Scotland, of France is the hamlet's mayor, René Bouvet. An athletic, effervescent man of 42, Bouvet does not believe in the ten-day posting of the bans or the month-long residency required...

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