Bugarach is tied in, at least in Internet rumors, to the supposed Mayan prophecy that the world will end Dec. 21, 2012, The Guardian reported.
Jean-Pierre DeLord, the longtime mayor, is not happy about the village's new fame. But he may have inadvertently helped fan the flames when he mentioned the online prophecy at a meeting and the local press picked it up.
DeLord, an independent leftist and farmer, has even gone to court to stop people from removing pebbles from the mountainside and selling them online.
Valerie Austin, who leads the local choir and owns a tourist cottage that she rents out, said she moved to Bugarach from northern England 24 years ago seeking a rural lifestyle.
She said she actually lost business this summer because of news crews and doomsday believers crowding the village.
"People come and look at us villagers as if we're all peculiar and in contact with some other world," she said. "I'm just waiting for one of them to give us a banana, I feel like a monkey at a zoo. We, the people that live here, have nothing to do with this."
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