Just as the people of the south coast of France are dealing with the aftermath of the violent storms which struck at the weekend, rats in the resort of Cannes are also struggling to survive in the wake of the freak weather – and they’ve come to the beach for refuge.
Scores of rats have been seen on the plage, particularly near the tourist hotspot of boulevard du Midi. They've been attracted by the debris and litter created by the storms, that forced them out of the usual homes.
One member of the clean-up operation told Nice Matin: “It’s not that there are more rats than usual, the problem is that they have come above ground.
“Once the underground networks fill with water, the rats don’t hold their breath: they go elsewhere in search of food.”
The plague of rats is a far cry from the usual glitzy image of the city on the French Riviera, well-known for being a haunt of world's rich and famous, who stay its luxury hotels and dine out in the pricey restaurants.
Only time will tell how the after-effects of the storms will affect tourism on the South coast, as many touristy areas of Antibes and Biot were deeply affected by the storms.
Michae Tschann, President of the Hoteliers Union in Nice, said they have not received any cancellations for future bookings as of yet, despite the possibility that the photos of the damage could have a dissuasive effect on potential tourists.
Tourists currently in Cannes are perhaps not experiencing the high life they expected, with one German visitor telling AFP: “Since the storms, the beach is dirty and we no longer feel safe walking on it at night. The sooner they fix it the better.”
The death toll from the storms has now risen to 20, after a man was found dead in a park on Monday night.
An enormous clean-up operation by the Cote d’Azur council and its inhabitants is now underway, with 32 areas of the coast being declared as natural disaster zones.
by Ellie O'Driscoll