Paris is often depicted in literature and films as a beautiful place that is perfect for relaxation or dreamy romance. Even the 2007 animation, Ratatouille, which was about a Paris rat struggling to become a chef, did not dislodge that image of Paris as first and foremost a beautiful place, in the heads of many foreigners.
It would seem, however, that Ratatouille was spot on about a serious problem in Paris; RATS. The City of Light has a big rat problem. Parisians are apparently tripping over rats even on their sidewalks.
Professional exterminators who have been on the job for long say that they are hard pressed to recall any rat infestations that have been as impressive. The rat problem has led to the closure of Paris parks, where squirmy clumps of rats brazenly feed in broad daylight, looking like they own the place.
Journalist monitoring the situation said that on Friday, City Hall threw open one of the closed parks, the Tour Saint-Jacques square a block from the Seine. The park authorities intended to show their latest anti-rat drive. Still, rats were all over the park seeming unmoved by the activities of people but instead, focused on the pigeons competing with them for breadcrumbs.
The rats were also quite uninterested in recently laid traps baited with poison. The exterminators also complained that European Union regulations governing the arsenal of poisons and traps that can be used against rats have complicated the job of extermination.
A former technique where they would drop biscuits of poison directly into rats’ nests and seal them up is no longer allowed and so the exterminators instead have to lay black plastic boxes of poison, which tend to be ignored by the rats, among the bushes.
Although it remains unknown just how many millions of rats reside in Paris, Reynald Baudet, who works in the city’s most famous pest-control store that actually appeared in the Ratatouille movie, noted that one rat couple can produce hundreds of offspring and so rat populations tend to grow quickly if left unchecked.