Yes, that's right – there is a weird smell in Paris and the surrounding area and no-one is quite sure what is causing it.
Now Paris does have its own very distinctive aromatic bouquet most of time – in which urine features quite prominently.
But on Sunday night, residents in the northern part of the city and its suburbs noticed a strange smell of sulphur hanging in the air.
Odeur de soufre ressentie sur plusieurs départements vraisemblablement liée aux récentes intempéries. Prise en compte, cette odeur ne correspond a aucune intervention particulière en cours. Merci de ne composer le 18-112 qu'en cas d'urgence avérée. pic.twitter.com/oIwODSbgzY
— @PompiersParis (@PompiersParis) May 10, 2020
Firefighters received a large volume of calls about the smell and by Monday morning reports were coming in from as far as Melun and Meaux, around 50km south and east of Paris respectively. There were even some calls from the Hauts-de-France and Pays-de-la-Loire areas.
The Paris Police Préfecture laboratory has taken air samples and is in the process of testing them, but in the meantime several solutions have been suggested, from a link to the heavy storms the city saw on Sunday night to a pollution leak or discharge from the sewage system.
Emmanuel Grégoire, deputy mayor of Paris, commented on social media: “The smell of sulphur was recognisable but the concentration was very, very low. Several hypotheses are being considered; sewage wastewater or a cloud of sulphur dioxide arriving from abroad.”
But Airparif, the regional body that monitors air pollution in the Paris region, said the sulphur dioxide cloud theory was unlikely.
“There is little risk of imports and there would have been other reports in other regions,” Airparif engineer Pierre Pernot told Le Parisien.