Oddly Enough

Jet set hit by Saint-Tropez helicopter crackdown

PARIS (Reuters) - Jet setters in Saint-Tropez may be grounded after French authorities limited helicopter flights to the exclusive resort following complaints about the noise.

The decision to close a helipad accounting for about 30 percent of helicopter traffic to Saint-Tropez came after abuses of an agreement to limit flights, said Francoise Souliman, an official in the regional administrative centre of Draguignan.

A byword for international glamour since its discovery by film stars like Brigitte Bardot in the 1950s, Saint-Tropez remains a magnet for the rich and status-conscious.

Helicopters ferry passengers over the traffic jams into the town, and also to other villages and marinas along the coast.

“There’s a shocking noise at all times of the day and they’re quite often flying over the marinas at Gassin so you’ve got helicopters flying very low,” Souliman said.

A voluntary agreement last year authorized some 1,200 flight movements a year and set limits at certain times of the day. But Souliman said around 5,000 flights had been registered between June and August 2006.

“There are companies that respect the rules completely but there are one or two companies that don’t respect anything at all,” she said. “We’ve had times when the nuisance has been so great that we had to hit hard.”