You Won't See This Newspaper for 4 More Years

France's satirical 'La Bougie du Sapeur' only comes out on leap year
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 29, 2024 6:43 AM CST
Leap Year Newspaper Publishes 12th Edition
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/Jupiterimages)

There have only been 11 issues of La Bougie du Sapeur since Valery d'Estaing was the French president, and on Thursday, locals welcome the 12th. What the BBC calls "the world's only quadrennial" satirical newspaper is out again this week in France, making its once-every-four-years appearance on Feb. 29 for leap year. The 20-page tabloid is available in print only at newspaper stands and stores, delivering comedic takes on international news, politics, sports, and celebrity gossip, among others.

La Bougie du Sapeur, or "The Sapper's Candle," was created in 1980 by a group of pals who "wanted to have a laugh," the paper's editor, Jean d'Indy, tells the BBC. "We meet in a bar and toss around ideas over drinks," he says of the tabloid's editorial process. "We have a lot of fun, and if the reader does too, that's the icing on the cake." Examples of articles in this year's edition—which d'Indy says tries "to be silly but not nasty"—include one on the "forgettable" UK PM Liz Truss, one on the "challenges" facing men who want to become women, and a serialized story whose next installment will arrive in 2028.

"It is French humor, and it does not translate into other languages," d'Indy tells the BBC, which describes the paper as "anti-politically correct." Picking up a copy of La Bougie du Sapeur, which has a print run of 200,000, will set you back about $5.30. Or, notes the Scotsman, you can purchase a century-long subscription for about $110; archived issues cost around $16. The Local notes that all profits from the sale of the newspaper are donated to charity. "I hope we are a bit of fresh air every four years," d'Indy tells the BBC. "These days people need to be able to laugh." (More leap year stories.)

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