A small town in France that built the country's only council-funded UFO landing pad has received its first craft after a 34 year wait.
Arès, near Bordeaux, southwestern France, has decided to try and attract Martians to its triangular "UFOport" with its very own fake Martian craft.
Made by a local artist, the man-made UFO "landed" on the strip yesterday and, it is hoped, will entice any hesitant extraterrestrials in search of a runway. A plaque reads: "Reserved for voyagers of the universe".
The operation has been dubbed: "'Allo Arès, ici UFO." Arès built the pad in 1976 after a local airport electrician and UFO nut complained to local authorities that France had no alien craft strips.
The local mayor liked the idea and decreed that extraterrestrial visitors would be exempt from airport tax and could take part in any local boules or mud-skating competitions.
Mud-skaters are attached to the feet and used to stay on the surface of mudflats while looking for cockles – a local pastime in the seaside town, situated next to the Arcachon basin.
More than anything, the strip was ploy to attract tourists, up to 20,000 of whom visit every year.
But other UFO-watchers took it seriously. "One American even complained that he held it against Ronald Reagan that he hadn't followed suit," Jean-Guy Perrière, the mayor, told Le Parisien.