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Trained hawks will keep gulls away from Cannes VIPs

The last thing rich and famous visitors to Cannes want is a cheeky seagull swooping in to nibble their peanuts or steal their steak.

Trained hawks will keep gulls away from Cannes VIPs
Photo: John McKerrell/Flickr

So the Grand Hyatt Cannes Hotel Martinez has deployed a team of trained hawks to chase away opportunistic gulls who may be hovering a little too close to its outdoor dining areas.

In the middle of the world's premier film festival in the French Riviera town, a five-year-old Harris's Hawk named Tsunga is ready to swoop in and save the day.

“If a gull that weighs a kilo lands on a table, knocking over glasses – keeping in mind that celebrities walking the red carpet are wearing unique dresses – if a drink spills on a dress, it's all over,” said professional hawker Christophe Puzin.

“We basically send our birds of prey to attack seagulls. During the day, when we serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, we're watching to make sure no seagulls land on the tables.”

Tsunga is one of five hawks on the hotel's feathered security team. To the hotel the hawks provide an environmentally friendly  solution to the gulls who are so used to humans that they don't hesitate to come and help themselves.

“We have seen a gull try to take a guest's steak before. And others come to get peanuts or other things,” said Alessandro Cresta, general manager of the hotel. “Of course, it is also partly the guests' fault. They have started taming them by feeding them regularly. After a while, birds get used to the presence of humans and lose their fear.”

The birds are trained to fly above the hotel at an altitude of about 150 metres (490 feet). “The gulls can see their natural predator and understand that there is a new presence here… so that makes them stay away.”

Puzin said the hawks pose no threat to the hotel's guests. “A falcon would never attack or be aggressive towards a person because for them we're friends. We feed them, we take care of them, and we are prey that would be a bit too big for them.”

The Cannes film festival runs for 12 days and has brought some of Hollywood's biggest stars to town – like Julia Roberts, George Clooney and Kristen Stewart – as well as thousands of visitors who come to soak up the glamour.

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FILM

French films with English subtitles to watch in November

As days get shorter and temperatures drop, November is a great month to enjoy a warm and comforting moment at the cinema. Here’s a round up of the French movies with English subtitles to see in Paris this month.

Cinema in France
Photo: Loic Venance/AFP

The cinema group Lost in Frenchlation runs regular screenings of French films in the capital, with English subtitles to help non-native speakers follow the action. The club kicks off every screening with drinks at the cinema’s bar one hour before the movie, so it’s also a fun way to meet people if you’re new to Paris.

These are the events they have coming up in November.

Friday, November 5th

Boîte Noire – What happened on board the Dubai-Paris flight before it crashed in the Alps? In this thriller Matthieu, a young and talented black box analyst played by Pierre Niney (star of Yves Saint-Laurent among other movies) is determined to solve the reason behind this deadly crash, no matter the costs. 

The screening will take place at the Club de l’étoile cinema at 8pm. But you can arrive early for drinks at the bar from 7pm. 

Tickets are €10 full price, €8 for students and all other concessions, and can be reserved here.

Sunday, November 14th

Tralala – In the mood for music? This new delightful French musical brings you into the life of Tralala (played by Mathieu Amalric), a 48 years old, homeless and worn-out street singer, who one day gets mistaken for someone else. Tralala sees an opportunity to get a better life by taking on a new personality. He now has a brother, nephews, ex-girlfriends, and maybe even a daughter. But where is the lie? Where is the truth? And who is he, deep down?

The night will start with drinks from 6pm followed by the screening at 7pm at the Luminor Hôtel de Ville cinema. There is also a two-hour cinema-themed walk where you’ll be taken on a “musicals movie tour” in the heart of Paris, which begins at 4pm.

Tickets cost €10, or €8 for students and concessions, and can be found here. Tickets for the walking tour cost €20 and must be reserved online here.

Thursday, November 18th

Illusions Perdues – Based on the great novel series by Honoré de Balzac between 1837 and 1843, this historical drama captures the writer Lucien’s life and dilemmas who dreams about a great career of writing and moves to the city to get a job at a newspaper. As a young poet entering the field of journalism, he is constantly challenged by his desire to write dramatic and eye-catching stories for the press. But are they all true?

The evening will kick off with drinks at L’Entrepôt cinema bar at 7pm, followed by the movie screening at 8pm. Tickets are available online here, and cost €8.50 full price; €7 for students and all other concessions.

Sunday, November 21st

Eiffel – Having just finished working on the Statue of Liberty, Gustave Eiffel (played by Romain Duris) is tasked with creating a spectacular monument for the 1889 Universal Exposition in Paris. It’s ultimately his love story with Adrienne Bourgès (Emma Mackey) that will inspire him to come up with the idea for the Eiffel Tower.

After a first screening last month, Lost in Frenchlation is organising a new one at the Luminor Hôtel de Ville cinema, with pre-screening drinks at the cinema bar. 

Tickets cost €10, or €8 for students and concessions, and can be found here

Thursday, November 25th

Les Héroïques – Michel is a former junkie and overgrown child who only dreams of motorbikes and of hanging out with his 17-year-old son Léo and his friends. But at 50 years old, he now has to handle the baby he just had with his ex, and try not to make the same mistakes he has done in the past. 

The film will be followed by a Q&A with the director Maxime Roy who will discuss his very first feature. 

Tickets cost €10, or €8 for students and concessions, and can be found here.

Full details of Lost in Frenchlation’s events can be found on their website or Facebook page. In France, a health pass is required in order to go to the cinema.

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