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Spot a rat: Real-time map aims to plot Paris rodent sightings

Rats have become an increasingly common sight in Paris over the past few years, but one local official wants to make sure everyone knows just how many are being spotted daily in his corner of the French capital.

Spot a rat: Real-time map aims to plot Paris rodent sightings
Photo: AFP

Geoffroy Boulard, who heads the municipal council of the 17th Arrondissement, has set up an interactive map where residents can signal rodent sightings in real time.

“It was the case of a daycare centre whose playground was infested with rats that convinced me that we had to try something else,” Boulard told the Parisien newspaper Monday.

READ ALSO: Chilling video of rats in Pars dumpster sparks alarm

He accused Mayor Anne Hidalgo of not doing enough to tackle a problem that regularly requires officials to close parks and other sites to carry out extermination programmes.

Hidalgo launched a 1.5 million euro ($1.8 million) campaign last year to wage a “war on rats” along with other measures to clean up the capital, promising new traps and plans to protect rubbish bins with wooden or plexiglass bases.

Experts say the rat population has in fact remained stable in recent years at 1.75 for every resident — of which there are some 2.2 million in the 
city's 20 inner arrondissements — but they periodically become more visible in some areas because of construction work which forces them from their dens.

Boulard said his office was often unable to get sanitation services to respond to rat sightings, which have become more frequent in his part of northwest Paris because of work on the new city courthouse and a metro line extension.

“If it's a priority for them then they need to be working twice as hard,” he told the newspaper.

He said the website, Signalerunrat.paris (“Report a rat”), would indicate each sighting with a rat symbol that would be replaced with a shovel once the authorities respond.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

Car, moped, public transport, or electric bicycle - which means of transport is the quickest way to get across Paris?

Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

One intrepid reporter for French daily Le Parisien decided to find out. 

The challenge was simple. Which mode of transport would get the journalist from the heart of Fontenay-sous-Bois in the eastern suburbs to the newspaper’s office on Boulevard de Grenelle, west Paris, fastest?

Over four separate journeys, each one in the middle of rush hour, the electric bicycle was quickest and easiest. More expensive than conventional bikes, electric bikes do come with a government subsidy.

The journey was described as ‘pleasant and touristy’ on a dry but chilly morning going via dedicated cycle lanes that meant the dogged journalist avoided having to weave in and out of traffic.

It took, in total, 47 minutes from start to finish at an average speed of 19km/h, on a trip described as “comfortable” but with a caveat for bad weather. The cost was a few centimes for charging up the bike.

In comparison, a car journey between the same points took 1 hour 27 minutes – a journey not helped by a broken-down vehicle. Even accounting for that, according to the reporter’s traffic app, the journey should – going via part of the capital’s southern ringroad – have taken about 1 hr 12.

Average speed in the car was 15km/h, and it cost about €2.85 in diesel – plus parking.

A “chaotic and stressful” moped trip took 1 hour 3 minutes, and cost €1.30 in unleaded petrol.

Public transport – the RER and Metro combined via RER A to Charles-de-Gaulle-Étoile then Metro line 6 to the station Bir-Hakeim – took 50 minutes door to door, including a 10-minute walk and cost €2.80. The journey was described as “tiring”.

READ ALSO 6 ways to get around Paris without the Metro

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