Sacré blanc! Eiffel Tower remains closed as snow disrupts Paris
Traffic chaos in French capital as wintry weather hits country’s north.
The Eiffel Tower has turned away tourists for a second day in a row as snow swept across northern France, causing transport chaos in Paris.
The French capital’s roads were unusually quiet after police urged people to leave their vehicles at home after 12cm of snow fell on the city overnight, with up to 20cm reported in nearby suburbs and rural areas.
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Public transport was disrupted, with some tram and commuter rail lines shut down and almost all bus services halted in the capital.
Evacuations were under way on Wednesday for at least 900 of the nearly 2,000 people stranded overnight on the N118 highway south-east of Paris, prompting anger from drivers who said the route should have been closed to traffic sooner.
One driver, Antonio De Lemos, said he had been “stuck in the snow since 5pm” on Tuesday evening and had spent the night in his car.
A record 740km (460 miles) of traffic jams were recorded on Tuesday night as the snow began to settle, according to the regional Sytadin traffic authority.
Officials opened 46 shelters in the greater Paris region for people stranded by the snow, while about 700 people spent the night at Montparnasse and Austerlitz train stations in Paris.
The Arc de Triomphe as snow falls. Photograph: Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images
About 230 people had to spend the night at Orly airport south of the capital.
Flights were disrupted at Orly and Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris on Wednesday morning owing to de-icing operations and because many staff were unable to make it to work.
The cold snap marks a sharp contrast after weeks of mild and rainy weather across northern France in recent weeks, prompting flooding in several areas and pushing the Seine to more than four metres above its normal level.