Snow forces Eiffel Tower closure, traffic disruptions as bad weather hits France

Credit: AFP PHOTO / ALAIN JOCARD

 

The Eiffel Tower has been closed because of bad weather conditions amid snowfall that has covered the French capital.

Visitors, clutching umbrellas, had to admire the snow-covered, wrought-iron lattice tower from the now-white fields near the Paris monument.

French meteorologists reported snowfall accumulation in Paris could reach 10 centimetres by the end of the day.

PHOTO: A couple kiss in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. (AP: Thibault Camus)

Twenty-eight French departments, including eight in the Paris region, were placed on orange alert over the dangerous weather conditions and ice on the roads.

The heavy snowfall was also causing major travel disruptions in the northern half of France as the weather conditions caught authorities off guard.

PHOTO: A man wearing a rabbit mask rides his snowboard down the Montmartre hill in Paris. (AP: Francois Mori)

Hundreds of people spent the night trapped in their vehicles or in improvised shelters outside Paris after French authorities failed to clear roads on time.

Several flights from Paris airports were cancelled or delayed, while Paris police prefecture urged drivers to leave their cars at home to avoid creating more traffic jams.

PHOTO: A snow-covered fiat 500 is parked in a Paris street. (Reuters: Gonzalo Fuentes)

On the A1, one of the main highways in France, trucks were immobilised for more than 30 kilometres on the two left rows, driving towards Paris.

On metro services in Paris, commuters faced long journeys in packed carriages.

France’s national rail operator, SNCF, was forced to reduce the speed of its high-speed TGV trains because of the snow, and advised customers to postpone their trips.

But tourists did not seem to mind.

Yu Jian and his newlywed wife Chen Yiyun could not have hoped for more romantic scenery for their wedding photo session.

“It’s beautiful when it snows. And we are so excited because this is our first time in Paris and in front of the Eiffel tower,” they said.

In anticipation of the cold, the “Grand Froid” plan — which translates as “Big Cold” — was launched earlier this week in 22 departments in order to create about 1,000 extra housing places for homeless people.

Source :

ABC

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