France

Paris, northern France blanketed in snow as cold snap bites

Paris city hall covered in snow, 10 February 2021
Paris city hall covered in snow, 10 February 2021 © Mike Woods/RFI
3 min

Large parts of northern France have been blanketed in snow overnight, making for picture-perfect winter photos but causing difficulty for transport in the Paris region.

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Paris saw two centimetres of snow overnight, with daytime temperatures on Wednesday not expected to get above freezing. Méteo France warned of black ice on roads and sidewalks.

In parts of the Paris region, which were expecting 2-7 centimetres of snowfall, authorities cancelled school buses and urged parents to keep children at home.

Because of the precautions, rush-hour traffic Wednesday morning was lighter than anticipated, with only 300 kilometres of traffic jams in the Paris region – considered almost normal.

In 2018, nearly 1,000 vehicles were blocked by the snow overnight on the N118 highway, which was closed Wednesday to clear the snow.

The snow froze the Eiffel Tower, and workers had to use blowtorches to melt the ice collecting on its surfaces.

The city of Paris has opened gymnasiums to house homeless people during the cold snap.

The regions winter plan includes 5,200 beds, half in Paris, with some 600 extra beds added as of Monday as part of the "Grand Froid" plan for extreme cold weather.

(with wires)

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