The tiny commune of Quirbajou

When we visited the village Quirbajou yesterday I was surprised to see it has a mairie (town hall). It therefore must be a commune, which is an administrative level in France. There is, as far as I know, no equivalent in New Zealand. Communes in France have a town hall, a mayor, and a town council. They have responsibility for many of the functions that in New Zealand would be carried out by district or city councils. But Quirbajou is so tiny! At the last census it had a population of 36. How can such a small population support a mayor and town council?

A few minutes research has revealed that France has some even smaller communes than Quirbajou. The commune of Rochefourchat has a single resident. He is the mayor, of course. I suppose he has no choice about that. Does he bother with council meetings, and if so what are those meetings like?

There are another six communes in France that have no residents at all. They have apparently been preserved as communes as a mark of respect ever since they were destroyed in the Verdun battle in 1916.


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