BUGARACH, France — The rocky mountain of Bugarach, rising just over 4,000 feet in the Corbières Mountains, in one of the poorest and least populated areas of France....

In recent years, the mystic beauty and remoteness of the mountain has lured another, less common variety of hiker. Residents call them “the esoterics,” people who believe that the end of the world is coming — don’t forget to mark your calendar — on Dec. 21, 2012.

Last month, the mayor of Bugarach, a tiny village at the foot of the mountain in the southern district of Aude, alerted the local authorities after he read on Internet forums that believers in the apocalypse planned to take refuge here in 2012.

“Some Web sites in the U.S. were selling tickets to come here,” said Jean-Pierre Delord, the mayor. “We are 200 locals; we don’t want 2,000 to 3,000 utopians showing up in Bugarach.”

Some French and international Web sites devoted to the apocalypse claim that the mountain of Bugarach is a sacred place that will protect them from the end of the world. Some even believe that, on doomsday, they will be spirited away by a group of aliens who live under the mountain. The date in question is when a 5,125-year cycle in the Mayan calendar supposedly comes to a close.

Many here, including the mayor, do not want to see Bugarach transformed into a safe haven for those he called “apocalypse believers and lunatics.”....

Mayor Delord is trying to figure out how to curb new influxes of utopians in the area, especially with the apocalypse coming....

Mr. Delord said, “it would be necessary to call in the army.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/31/wo...1bugarach.html

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