Nestled in the rolling foothills of the French Pyrenees, market day in the tiny farming community of Bugarach has never been busier.
But shoppers aren’t there to sample the fresh meat, wine and dairy for which the town is locally famed, they are there to pick up their own piece of end-of-the-world memorabilia.
It is because Bugarach – population 176 – has been earmarked by doomsday cults as the only place in the world which is going to survive Armageddon, scheduled for December 21 this year by an ancient Mayan prophecy.
Modern interpretations of the forecast, heavily stoked by internet rumour, predict that aliens will emerge from their ‘spaceship garage’ hidden deep within the town’s imposing Pic de Bugarach mountain and pluck anyone in the vicinity to safety.
Now, Armageddon tourists and UFO spotters hoping for salvation are swarming to the two-street hamlet to collect a slice of Last Day history.
And it is an opportunity the village’s shrewd inhabitants are eager not to pass up.