Tourists complain French cicadas are 'too loud'

Male cicadas make a distinctive chirping sound as a way of attracting nearby females

It is the quintessential sound of the Mediterranean in summer, but for some French tourists the cicadas of Provence are just too noisy.

Several have complained to the mayor of the picturesque village of Beausset in the southeastern Var region that the insects are ruining their holiday lie-ins.

Some had questioned village shopkeepers about how to get their hands on chemical weapons to quieten the racket made by the male cicadas as they "sing" out in search of a mate.

"Five groups have come to see me because they were being annoyed from morning to night by the sound of the cicadas," mayor Georges Ferrero told French radio.

"They complained that the cicadas were making noise till 10 at night, and I tried to explain to them that it was the soundtrack of Provence, part of our folklore, but they wouldn't have it.

"For them the song is an infernal noise -- crac-crac-crac -- and they cannot understand that it is like music to the ears of us southerners," he added.

Ferrero said the tourists had gone looking in local shops for chemicals to use against the cicadas.

"It's completely crazy, imagine spraying the trees under which they would later be taking their aperitifs..."

Rows over noise are often the bane of French city life, leading to long and bitter disputes between feuding neighbours.

Earlier this month holidaymakers in rural central France were ridiculed for asking for the bells on the village church to be silenced because they kept waking them at seven in the morning.

Mayor Ferrero said it wasn't just Parisians -- whom the rural French love to hate -- who had complained about the cicadas.

"They were also tourists from the east of France and from Brittany," he added.