French Stench

I have a finely cultivated sense of smell. It sometimes works for me, like in a bakery or it can trip me up, like when I deployed on an aircraft carrier and sniffed jet fuel all day long. In England, they are suffering from the French stench. Apparently, the stink has spread:

French StenchA cloud of harmless gas smelling of sweat and rotten eggs leaked from a chemicals factory in northwest France and drifted across the English Channel as far as London on Tuesday.

The leak occurred on Monday morning at a Lubrizol France plant near Rouen, 120 km (75 miles) northwest of Paris, and winds blew the invisible gas cloud south over northern France on Monday night and then up into England on Tuesday.

The fire brigade in the county of Kent, southeast of London, warned residents to keep their doors and windows closed due to the gas, which may make some people feel nauseous, and police said they had reports of an acrid smell in the capital.

It was due to start an operation on Tuesday evening to stop the fumes, a process that could take hours or days, Pierre-Henry Maccioni, head of the Seine-Maritime regional government, said.

“It’s not so much a leak as a product that has decomposed, which smells very bad and which is escaping,” the firm’s internal operations director, Pierre-Jean Payrouse, told RTL radio.

“An investigation is under way but our priority is to deal with the problem.”

London tabloids, quick to seize on historical animosity between the British and French, went to town with the whiff. A Daily Mail headline lambasted a “French stench” while an article in the Sun cited a “mystery pong” that was “blamed on France”.

French FlagMeanwhile, authorities in France and Britain assured affected residents the gas was not a health threat.

The Paris police department issued a statement saying the gas posed no health risk but warned that it smelled like a mixture of “sweat, garlic and rotten eggs”.

Is not mystery pong when you’re unfamiliar with your opponent in table tennis?

7 thoughts on “French Stench

  1. B.P. Captain, it’s so concentrated that a 5 gal. bucket will treat the natural gas of a town of 3,000 for six months.
    Whenever we had to refill the odor-pot for our City Gate, we had to leave that can in the middle of a 50 acre salt flat for three weeks or we’d be getting leak complaints for a week wherever the duty truck would go.

      • Kurt P is right in what he says about the concentrate smell; it will knock a fly of a dung bucket 10 miles away!

        But with France, we never know whether we are getting their ‘summer drain’ or just pure ‘French’ coming across the English channel.

        Ah for the pure sweet air of Yorkshire…

        Yours Aye.

  2. Around here when you smell the rotten egg stink of natural gas, you say, “smell the money.” Of course, they say the same thing in West Texas when they smell the feedlots.

  3. In various locations around the country there is a similar stench that emanates from paper mills; I lived in one while stationed in St. Mary’s, GA…the smell of sulphur is obnoxious and I had to live with it for eight years there….it’s in the water…and while driving up to Maine for many years we would travel through a town referred to as ‘stinkin’ Lincoln….not an uncommon sight or smell…k

    • Somehow I lived my whole life without ever smelling these kind of smells. I have smelled Harris Ranch on the 5 Freeway. Wow. Steers galore.

Comments are closed.