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Environment

Turn down the volume on those cicadas, tourists tell Provençal mayor

media A cicada Open access/Bruce Marlin

Cicadas, the sound of summer in the Mediterranean ... but the mayor of one pisturesque village in south-east France says visitors have been complaining they are too loud. And, to make matters worse, the malcontents aren't even foreigners.

Male cicadas "sing" - in fact producing sound by vibrating part of their anatomy - to attract a mate, and with this summer's extreme heat their importuning has been particularly persistent.

To locals that is the soundtrack of Provence, as Beausset mayor Georges Ferrero puts it.

But not to some visitors.

Ferrero says that several visitors to his village have complained to him that the cicadas make too much noise, waking them up early and drowning out their conversation during the rest of the day.

Some have even asked local shopkeepers for pesticides to kill off the insects, to bemet with a polite refusal.

"They couldn't understand why we say 'song' of the cicadas," Ferrero said.

"It goes crac-crac-crac, it's not a song," the out-of-towners moaned.

The tourists were not foreigners but from other parts of France, not just Parisians - whom the rural French love to hate - but also from the east of the country and Brittany, according to the mayor.

"For us in Provence, they're part of our emblem, cicadas," Ferrero told France Bleu radio. "We're proud to have them."

Earlier this month holidaymakers in central France asked for the bells of a village church to be silenced because they kept waking them at seven in the morning.

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