Work to improve Cannes’ heating and cooling system hits a smelly snag 

Digger and palm trees at sunset

Source: Drew McArthur

The weather was kind to Mipim last week. The steady spring sunshine rolled out a red-carpet welcome to the 23,000-odd delegates and 12,000-odd fringe-attending hangers-on at the show.

Mairie de Cannes, the local municipal authority, had a different welcome in store. Much of La Croisette, the city’s famous seafront boulevard, had been dug up for the occasion, meaning Mipim’s usual café-based chatter had to be carried out over the din of diggers.

The work is part of a commendable project to provide low-carbon heating and cooling for buildings along the shore, tapping into the thermal reservoir of the sea. But it is not without its hiccups.

One of Eye’s many café-based meetings was interrupted by a sudden commotion, followed by a wave of incredible stench. Evidently one construction machine had accidentally switched from laying new pipes to puncturing old ones, with very smelly consequences.

Waiters rushed to close windows to keep the stink at bay, only to trap it inside. Eye made a beeline for the door, and a brisk stroll upwind.