Jellyfish on French beach
© Screengrab France 3/YouTube
A popular beach in the south of France has been invaded by billions of purple creatures and it's made for an impressive sight.

Residents of the southern French seaside town of Palavas-les-Flots, got a shock when they took their usual morning stroll along the beach this week. On Tuesday morning the sand at the town just south of Montpellier on the Mediterranean coast looked a little different. A lot more purple than sandy brown.

That's because billions of jellyfish-like creatures known in French as the "vélleles" (Velella in English), recognised for their oval shape and purple colour had washed up on the shores. "I first thought petrol had spilled in the sea, seeing as all the beaches are covered for miles, but no, these are jellyfish" one resident told FranceInfo radio.

In fact the Velella are not officially jellyfish although they are lumped in the same family of creatures known as Cnidaria. They are often called "by the wind sailors" or "sea-rafts". The strange incident happened because these jellyfish, which usually move together in large groups in the sea, have been pushed for three weeks by heavy winds towards the shores.

It's reportedly the first time an invasion of this type of jelly fish has happened in the south of France. These kind o jelly fish are normally found further north of the coast of Britain and Ireland. A clean-up operation was due to take place on Wednesday and Thursday.