Well, the jury is in. The country with the most functional geography is… France. As proved by this diagram, France’s jagged, hexagonal shape makes it the ideal, multiple-use household utensil:
• The Pas de Calais, at the very top of the country, bordering Belgium and the English Channel, is transformed into a diamant coupe-verre (glass-cutter)
• Peninsular Normandy doubles as a handy décapsuleur (bottle-opener)
• Brittany, stabbing into the Atlantic Ocean, makes for a nice fourchette (fork)
• Broadening out into the Bay of Biscay downstream from the city of Bordeaux, the Gironde estuary is a coupe-ficelle (wire-cutter)
• The Pyrennées, the mountain chain forming the border with Spain, are transformed into a hâchoir (meat-mincer)
• The sharp edge where the Alsace-Lorraine region juts furthest into Germany serves as a pied-de-biche (crowbar)
• France’s interior is taken up by a gril (grill pan)
And while several US states and other countries boast purely geographical panhandles (e.g. Oklahoma, West Virginia, Namibia), France gets a real one stuck in its Franche-Comté region – probably Swiss-made, by the look of it.
This handy household item, named Le Gaulois (‘The Gaul’), looks like it could be a big hit on those all-night tv shopping channels. Wouldn’t you want one?
Merci beaucoup à Emmanuel Parfond de m’avoir envoyé cette carte.