Tourist litter blamed for invasion of rats in famous Paris garden
It is one of the most famous parks in the world, but now the Tuileries garden in Paris, next to the Louvre museum, is attracting another kind of visitor.
"It's horrible - we're scared of being bitten," said Audrey Hacherez, a gardener who was weeding a flowerbed yesterday in the formal gardens, which stretch along the Seine. "They're really big. Sometimes they fight each other."
Tourists' litter is being blamed for an influx of rats which was brought to the attention of Parisians last week after a photographer, Xavier Francolon, took pictures of the rodents scampering in the gardens. He told Le Parisien that he had seen about 30 in the space of two days, and had been surprised to see so many among picnickers on the grass in broad daylight.
"The tourists throw their scraps of pizza and sandwiches all over the place," said Hacherez.
Standing beside a lavender bed strewn with plastic bottles and discarded food wrappings, another gardener said they were using an "ecological" poison against the rats but it was proving less effective than chemical varieties. The gardeners said they had approached the Louvre's technical experts about the problem and were waiting to hear back.
The Louvre, which runs the garden, said on Monday that pest control was carried out twice a month, and more frequently in the summer months.