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A L'Oreal executive really hates the smelly chip shop below his Alpine retreat

The smell is an “abnormal disturbance to the neighbourhood”, apparently.

Image: Flickr/Els

A “CLASH OF cultures” has erupted in a French court as former L’Oreal boss Lindsay Owen-Jones brought a case against the manager of a chip shop he accuses of stinking out his luxury ski apartment.

The millionaire ex-cosmetics boss, who was not present in the Alpine town of Albertville and was represented by his lawyer, and four of his neighbours are asking the court to shut down and destroy the “La Cabane” chip stand for causing “abnormal disturbance to the neighbourhood.”

The 68-year-old Briton owns an apartment at the foot of the slopes in the Val d’Isere resort. He and his neighbours — a notary, a retired lawyer and investment fund managers — say the smell of chip fat drifts up from the stand to their balconies and into their apartments.

Today, chip shop manager Valerie Maertens, 39, told reporters that Owen-Jones only came to Val d’Isere “three days, three times a year”, whereas her stand welcomes seasonal workers and municipal employees daily.

But Laure Sauthier, Owen-Jones’s lawyer, said that he and his neighbours were merely trying to apply the law.

She said the stand was “built without authorisation and run completely illegally.”

According to Sauthier, the chip stand is very big, covered by a marquee and built on a no-building area.

“When you are in Val d’Isere in front of the slopes, it’s a shame not to be able to take advantage of your balcony, of this remarkable view, and to constantly have the smell of chips under your nose,” she added.

But Francois Bern, the lawyer for the chip stand owners and its manager Maertens, said the latter was trying to keep a job that supports her family.

He compared her to the plaintiffs “who live in very sleek, sanitised places, and are only used to seeing wonderful things,” pointing to a “clash of cultures.”

Bern said the illegality surrounding construction of the chip stand had been straightened out in January 2008.

Referring to complaints by the plaintiffs of “noise and visual pollution” emanating from the chip stand, he said they cannot expect total calm at the foot of the slopes.

“What do we want today? Mrs Maertens to go on the dole?”, he asked.

The court gives will give its verdict in February.

© – AFP 2014

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