Torrential rains along the French Riviera have inundated homes and roads, leaving at least one person dead and three missing.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve says rescue teams were searching for three missing residents after a woman was found dead in La Londe-les-Maures, not far from Hyeres, her car swept away by raging waters.

The principal of a school in the town of Grimaud in the Gulf of Saint Tropez, further east, told iTele TV that 23 children aged three to 10 were spending the night in the library of the Blaquieres school.

Temporary shelters were set up in several towns in the Var region where homes were flooded and roads transformed into waterways. Helicopters lifted numerous stranded residents to safety.