We drove a Renault Mégane from Menton, the pearl of France to Gisburn, Lancashire. Can a car change a town? See what happened.
The Mégane Experiment stars Claude who goes to Gisburn, Lancashire where there are no Méganes, and convinces villagers he is a ‘joie de vivre’ expert from Menton, Côte d’Azur, France, where there are many.
Over the course of the week, he calls a meeting to explain that villages and towns with more Méganes have higher fertility rates, berates the locals for their lack of ‘joie’, convinces the proprietor of the White Bull to convert his pub to the ‘Boeuf Blanc’ complete with an accordion player, teaches the meaning of ‘joie de vivre’ to the primary school, gets interviewed by a member of the local Press and, finally, puts on the ‘Festival de Joie’ on the local playing fields.
The film was directed by Oscar-nominated director Henry-Alex Rubin, who shot 48 hours of film over five days and described Claude as a “French Borat with a heart.” Over the course of the shoot, the actor offered raffle tickets in exchange for test drives in his Mégane, which he gives away at the ‘Festival de Joie’.
Despite taking place in the rain, it still attracted an impressive 300 locals, from its total population of only 500.
A short documentary with behind the scenes footage of the campaign is hosted on the TheMeganeExperiment.com website, which also gives people the chance to win prizes, a ‘Joie de Vivre’ psychometric test and a chance to compare how joyful their community is with others.