It's a 2 euro coin. André undertakes to dig it up with a small shovel. His metal detector warned him: it is deeply buried in the sand. So he digs. And falls on a can. A beast box of soda orange, crushed. This is the risk because the 1 and 2 euro coins do not contain only brass. They are also made of scrap, like the aluminum of this can, that the pensioner leaves buried.
André, 77, walks the shores of Cannes, Juan-les-Pins, Antibes to make some money. Good days, for example "After the fireworks," he can recover up to forty euros, and collects on average between 300 and 400 euros per month, which is added to his retirement pension. "Most people who think it's a good plan buy a detector and give up after two hours," he smiles. Not him. It has been thirty-one years since he has been walking on the sand, several hours a day, almost full time.
He sometimes exhumes jewels, mostly in toc. He also helps some stunned swimmers find their car keys – the other day he received 20 euros as a reward. He knows the good times – late morning, evening – but also interesting moments. "There are a lot of wrecks not far away, he explains pointing to the bay. Underwater searches are prohibited. But when there are big storms, in January-February, the sea rises and brings a lot of things to shore. "
He has already found a denier of the XVe century and pieces of the nineteenthe. The pensioner is perfectly entitled to engage in such "detections". Information taken, no municipal decree prohibits it. Moreover, Andre has in the pocket of his bermuda a copy of the texts of law. And if the police ask him to leave in case of influx of bathers embarrassed by his fake movements and his metal stove, it runs.
Ah! The detector rings in its earpiece. André searches. 2 euros? Almost: 50 cents. He slips the coin into the pocket of his jacket Quechua and resumes his walk. During the Festival, he worked overtime and went on strike until 2am. He sees an unusual gallery scrolling. Drunkards, homeless, party-goers, sleepy festival-goers. "One time, I came across a disabled person who wanted to commit suicide because he had been robbed of his wheelchair. He was drunk, he was with a bunch of guys, drunk too, who had put his armchair back on the Croisette to make a joke for him. "
André has an accent. His life seems complicated: he was born in Isère, but he was raised in Central Europe, he roamed, speaks five languages. Tortuous. He has a yellow complexion and skin tanned like old leather, lacerated with deep wrinkles that sometimes meet in a star. A dry body on twig legs. He picks up the 5 cents he just discovered, talks about cinema, Melody in the basement, de Verneuil, with Delon, shot partly at Palm Beach, at the very end of the Croisette. There is less going on now: the establishment, operated by the Partouche Group, closed two years ago. Slot machines moved lower at 3.14 Casino. The three Cannes gaming houses are found at a stream of coins. Those who want to make a fortune have not far to look for.
André, he finds his treasures in front, on the sand on the other side of the street. That late afternoon, he picked up 75 cents. He points to Van Cleef and Arpels in the distance, where it was shot Happy New Year of Lelouch, with a Ventura playing the robbers. Andre also points the Croisette, gently. And if at Cannes all that glitters is not gold, he still believes in it.