Google searches cause town to change its name

The French town of "Eu" believes it is losing tourism business because Google searches on its name first lead to the European Union and to the past participle of the French verb 'to have'.

Eu. It's the sound you make when someone forces their fist into your imperfectly-conditioned gut. It's the sound that some might describe as a large, dissatisfied grunt.

Which is what its mayor seems to be emitting every time she looks at Google search results for her beloved French town.

When you google 'Eu', you get plenty of results for that bastion of energy, the European Union. You get some that refer to the past participle of the French verb 'to have.' But you have to work very, very hard to find reference to this lovely market town in Normandy.

How lovely is Eu? Well, it has somehow eluded every vacation itinerary I have ever enjoyed. But Britain's cheery Queen Victoria visited it twice. That was in the days before the Web.

Eu is twinned with two other fine French towns. Ay and Is. Truly. The former is in Champagne, the latter in Burgundy. And Eu is also the place where William the Bastard married the heart-melting Matilda in 1050.

And this is what you get when you do a Flickr search for 'Eu'. CC Heart of Oak

The mayor, Marie-Françoise Gaouyer, believes that Eu has lost a third of its tourists because of its low Google search status. Her belief is that instead of spending money to improve that status- as many on these pages know, making oneself superior to the European Union is not easy- she believes the town must change its name. (Oddly, this has not been the strategy pursued by the Mayor of Intercourse, Pennsylvania)

Ville d'Eu (Eu Town) appears to be her favorite. But others include Eu-en-Normandie and Eu-Le-Chateau. (Yes, there's a wonderful chateau there)

However, the legal and political process involved in a name change will take five years. And think of all the marketing money they will have to spend to launch the new Eu.

Perhaps they might consider changing their name to Google. That would surely make Eu famous overnight.