Authorities in Nice have shut down what is being dubbed ‘France’s nicest squat’ after 30 police officers raided the building earlier this week.
The squat’s entrance was hidden and the building - located on Nice’s Avenue Jean Lorrain, one of the most expensive streets in France - was only accessible via a small path running through thick shrubbery.
The building – an annex to the city’s administrative court – had been unused since 2018, with squatters taking their chance and installing themselves last year.
The three-storey building, which housed 30 people in a space that was up to 300m² in size, had running water and electricity, but also stunning views of the city’s port and the glistening Mediterranean.
“I can see why they moved here!” quipped Nice’s deputy mayor Anthony Borré, after the evacuation, which had been planned since its discovery by the authorities this January.
Sun, sea and… suits
Avenue Jean Lorrain is nestled between the hills and the sea in the eastern part of Nice, along the footpath to Villefranche-sur-Mer, and is known as an exclusive and prestigious neighbourhood.
It is the only street outside of Paris where prices reach more than €10,000 per m².
After the eviction, the apartment’s interior was described as “rather clean,” with many of the makeshift rooms containing equipment for relaxing at the beach – but also suit jackets.
“The inside is certainly rather well maintained, but the outside is very run-down, with dangerous connections,” said the deputy mayor, pointing to piles of rubbish and alcohol bottles strewn in the grass outside.
Some less glamorous photos of the squat can be seen below:
Alors que nous avons évacué le #squat hier et que les travaux de sécurisation ont commencé, les mêmes individus se sont introduits en dégradant le bâtiment.— Anthony Borré (@anthony_borre) May 24, 2023
Je salue l'efficacité de la @PMdeNice. La mise sous alarme des bâtiments municipaux vacants est en cours.#Nice06 https://t.co/nuiFGnRXZv pic.twitter.com/Wps22N3eAu
The squatters came from a host of countries including Italy, Portugal, Russia, Georgia and Tunisia.
After the evacuation, some of the squatters have been sent to a nearby centre to “have their administrative status checked”, said authorities.
The entrance to the site will be walled-off to prevent further squats, whilst the city searches for an alternative use for the building.