France to rebaptise last street named after Vichy leader

The last street in France named after the leader of the country's collaborationist World War II-era Vichy regime, Marshal Philippe Petain, is finally being renamed.

The street, in the tiny village of Belrain about 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the northeastern city of Verdun, was officially unnamed during a local council vote last month, Mayor Patrick Gondouin told AFP.

A public consultation with residents of the hamlet of about 40 people will be held this month to choose a new name for the street, he said.

"Petain Street had existed since the 1930s, without really causing a stir," Gondouin said. "But when I was elected mayor in 2008, it bothered me -- I suspected that one day or another it would be a problem."

Petain, a French military leader hailed as a hero of World War I, was the head of the government that capitulated to the Nazis and subsequently collaborated with their occupation of France, including the deportation of tens of thousands of Jews to death camps.