FACT! France has no New or Old towns

Did you know there is no French City, Town or Commune beginning with the letters OLD or NEW? Or am I wrong??

And yes, my wife has already given me the full etymology behind this, but I still thought it was interesting.

Villeneuve (y’en a tout un tas !) … :wink:


Are we talking O L D and N E W as the letters, or the meaning ?

Nouvelle Ville 57000 Metz (OK a district, not a whole town, but…)

Neuf-Brisach in Alsace; a grid layout built in a Vauban octagonal fort Neuf-Brisach - Wikipedia


This is a complete list of French towns Toutes les villes de France
There are none starting “New” or “Old”
but quite a few Neu/Neuf starting on this page Les villes de France commençant par Ne, page 2
But only this Nouvelle-Église (62370)]

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But why would they? There isn’t new or old in French language.

I actually meant the letters in the order quoted. N E W, not New or nouvelle or any other translation or interpretation. Same applies to O L D

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whoops should have said
I actually meant the letters in the order quoted. N E W or New, not nouvelle or any other translation or interpretation. Same applies to O L D

Precisely, just thought from an English perspective it was interesting that even with the French language lacking the words, even the letters in the same order are never used as the start letters of a place name.

30250 Villevieille ?

OK, er

French does not use “old” at the start of any words never mind place names - it just isn’t a sound combination which occurs.

Similarly it only uses “new” at the start of a word for some borrowed and proper nouns (eg “les news”) - if it wanted that sound at the beginning of a place name or word it would use “neu”.

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? Isn’t it amazing, from a French perspective, that there aren’t any English towns or cities starting with VIEUX or NOUVEAU, even those letters in the same order, which really is quite surprising seeing England was invaded by French-speakers and even the monarchy didn’t speak any English until the 15th century.

Not many place-names anywhere contain the letters sib-zamin in that order (potato in Persian) isn’t that weird!!


I find it extraordinary that no UK towns start with ‘Pffffft…’


“Letters in the same order” are exactly those words. That’s what words are, letters in a particular order.

That’s how god and dog don’t mean the same thing even though they are the same letters.

We don’t have those words in our language, so we aren’t going to have that arrangement of letters either, because that would be a word, which we don’t have.

Blows your mind, doesn’t it (what are you smoking by the way?).


Surely there’s somewhere  in Wales that starts ‘Pffffft…’?


As that old war criminal Dubya said “the French don’t even have a word for entrepreneur” :slightly_smiling_face:

Many of them, the ones with high streets full of pound and charity shops, are ending with a Pffffft sadly. It was heartbreaking to see so many town centres dying before Covid, goodness knows how many more are wastelands now.


Lots of Vielles Villes and Nouvelles Villes as parts of cities around France. We have two Vieux Port hamlets near us on the Dordogne.
But yes, the modifier adjective is usually placed after the noun, historically.
Tons of Villeneuves all around France.
L’Abbaye-Nouvelle hamlet near Leobard, Lot.
Château-Ville-Vieille commune in the Hautes Alpes.

That isn’t what was meant though. The discovery was that there aren’t any towns in France that start with the letters o.l.d. or n.e.w. and that in spite of those words not existing in French, those letters, (o.l.d. and n.e.w., in that order) never appear at the start of a word.
Another word thing you may have noticed, no town in the UK starts with nuovo or vecchio, how weird is that eh.