Massive waves have hit the French Riviera between Nice and Cannes causing major material damage to the densely-populated coast. The freak weather struck as the region is preparing to host the 63rd Cannes Film Festival.
Freak waves battered the southern French coast between Cannes and Nice on Tuesday afternoon, causing major damage to beach constructions only a few days before the Cannes film festival is set to begin.
Ten-metre-high waves (33 feet) battered the coastline, leaving one woman with a fractured leg and causing major material damage.
"There were very big waves this afternoon that caused major material damage to beach constructions, but there were no disappearances," regional authorities told AFP.
In Cannes, some 20 restaurants were damaged and several cars overturned.
In Nice, not only the beaches were closed but also part of its famous Promenade des Anglais.
The timing of the natural disaster – days before the opening of the tourist season – could spell economic disaster for the French Riviera.
The owner of Castel, a trendy beachside restaurant in Nice, told local daily Nice-Matin he was unsure whether his business could reopen this year.
“It’s terrible. We feared for our lives when the waves turned into seven to eight-metre-high monstrous bombs. It was out of question to resist”
The Cannes Film Festival is set to begin on May 12.
In pictures: Freak waves smash French Riviera
Freak waves break onto beaches near the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, south-east France, on May 4, 2010. (photo AFP)
Huge waves also hit beaches near Cannes's famed Croisette, where the 63rd Cannes film festival is set to begin on May 12.
Six-metre waves battered the Riviera coastline between Cannes and Nice (photo AFP)
Local authorities said no one was seriously hurt or washed away by the waves. But bad weather caused major damage along the densely-populated coastline.
Such enormous waves are unusual in the French Riviera region. (Photo AFP)
Beach restaurant owners said the devastation was like something out of a "disaster movie".
Date created : 2010-05-05