The sandy beach at La Ciotat sits between Marseilles and Toulon in the south east of the country. The mayor took the decision after frustration with the constant build-up of cigarette butts. The beach is popular with families of small children.
A spokesman for the mayor, Noel Collura, told AFP that the ban was working “very, very well.” Explaining the reason for the ban, he said “we got here because even handing out ashtrays wasn’t doing the job.”
The ban was put in place ten days ago with large signs at the entrance to the beach announcing the new rules. Those flouting the ban will face a 35 euro fine.
Like most countries in Europe, France has a general ban on smoking in public places. The ban came into force on 1st January 2008.
The spaces in front of bars, cafes and restaurants are exempt, which means most have created covered sections where smokers can still puff away happily even in the French winter.
There are no signs yet that France is about to follow the example of New York which implemented a smoking ban in all public places last month.