top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon
Explore
arrow down

Nice changes traditional cannon to honour visiting Scottish rugby team

The city’s long-standing 12:00 midday cannon shot was altered at the weekend to celebrate its Scottish links

The origins of this tradition are disputed Pic: Azer Achmedov / Shutterstock

The French city of Nice changed its customary midday cannon shot last weekend, in honour of the Scottish rugby team choosing the city as its base for the Rugby World Cup.

The Rugby World Cup is currently being held in France, with major cities including Lyon, Bordeaux, Lille, and Marseille among those hosting matches.

The Scottish team has based its operations in the Alpes-Maritimes capital.

The city of Nice fires a cannon shot everyday at midday, in a long-running tradition known as ‘lou canoun de Miejour’, which started in 1863.

On Saturday (September 9), the shot was fired three minutes late, with a second shot sent immediately after. The second shot was fired by Maree Todd, the Scottish Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing, under the watch of the Mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi.

The shot marked the first game played by Scotland in the Rugby World Cup (which the team lost). The game ended 18-3 against South Africa at the Marseille Stadium.

Scotland’s next game, against Tonga, will take place in Nice on Sunday, September 24.

Lunchtime reminder?

The city’s midday tradition is very similar to the ‘one o’clock gun’ of Edinburgh, which was established in 1861 to signal ships in the harbour.

The precise origins of the tradition in Nice, however, are slightly murky.

Most stories found online say that the tradition was initiated in 1862 by a Scottish man named Sir Thomas Coventry-More, who was based in Nice. It is said that he was exasperated by his wife’s tardiness after her morning walk, and persuaded Nice’s mayor to shoot from the cannon to remind her to come home in time for lunch.

However, although that colourful story has been mythologised and shared through word-of-mouth, it is unverified and seen as unlikely by most researchers. Mr Coventry-More is more likely to have instigated the cannon firing as part of his work on time measurement.

Yet, this shared tradition serves as a reminder that Nice and Edinburgh have been twin cities since 1958, and the Saturday firing helped to confirm the link once more.

The Rugby World Cup began on September 8 and is set to continue until Saturday, October 28. The final will be held at the Stade de France in Paris.

Related stories

See all dates and cities in France for Rugby World Cup 2023

Three world cup All Blacks delight Lyon restaurant - and eat for 12

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Healthcare in France*
Featured Help Guide
- Understand the French healthcare system, how you access it and how you are reimbursed - Useful if you are new to the French healthcare system or want a more in-depth understanding - Reader question and answer section Aimed at non-French nationals living here, the guide gives an overview of what you are (and are not) covered for. There is also information for second-home owners and regular visitors.
Get news, views and information from France