Police in Paris have smashed a prostitution ring that was operating in one of the city's most upmarket areas.

Three men are under formal investigation for their alleged roles in selling women for sex.

The prostitution ring was said to have operated in several apartments which had been rented out on the holiday accommodation website Airbnb.

Police closed in after a client blew the whistle after he was arrested the BRP, a police division that targets prostitution rings, The Local reports.

Selling sex was legal in France until 2016. It is against the law to be caught soliciting or running a brothel and those who pay for sex are criminalised.

The three suspects are aged between 30 and 42. They were pimping the women in the eighth arrondissement, one of the most expensive in France.

The area, which straddles the River Seine, is home to the Champs-Élysées, Arc de Triomphe and the official residency of the French president, the Élysée Palace.

The prime suspect is a 30-year-old man who took 50% of the money the women earned. That amounted to €100,000 (£88,000) over three months.

In total there were 10 sex workers in the apartments. They charged clients between €200 and €300.

Police also recovered large amounts of illegal drugs when they searched the apartments.

Clients of prostitutes, if found guilty, can be fined up to €1,500 which can increase to €3,750 for repeat offenders.