WHAT a wonderful surprise that was sprung on the 33 young women who arrived in Mauritius this week for the annual Miss France beauty pageant.

They were told they would have to take an hour’s written examination to demonstrate they had brains as well as looks.

Some of the girls, it is said, panicked when faced with such questions as: name the Prime Minister of France? And, what is the average price of a baguette?

Ooh la la, they said, when told: “You leave for New York on a flight at 2pm (French time) with a flight time of five hours and 30 minutes. What time do you arrive in New York local time given, that the time difference is minus six hours?

They shouldn’t worry too much. There are many young ladies who have done very well for themselves without having an IQ much bigger than their waist measurement.

Brooke Shields famously said: “Smoking kills. If you’re killed, you’ve just lost a very important part of your life.”

Jodie Marsh: “Is an egg a vegetable?”; Sam Fox: “I’ve got 10 pairs of training shoes - one for every day of the week.”; Lady Victoria Hervey on the homeless: “It’s so bad being homeless in winter. They should go somewhere warm like the Caribbean where they can eat fresh fish all day.”; Christina Aguilera (inset) : “So where’s this Cannes Film Festival being held this year?”

And then we’re back to Britney, (pictured) pondering on where she might start her theatre career: “I would rather start out somewhere small. Like London or England.”

Mind you, she has always been hazy when it comes to geography.

“Where the hell is Australia anyway?” she asked, whilst embarking on her first tour down under.

And she was extremely honest about the Far East: “I’ve never really wanted to go to Japan. Simply because I don’t like eating fish. And I know that’s very popular out there in Africa.”

Those French girls have nothing to worry about.

lAnd just in case you are wondering, I know. Blokes say daft things too. I’ll share some of them with you next week.