Freeze brings Paris to a stand­still

The Pak Banker - - 6international -

PARIS: Icy roads left much of the Paris re­gion paral­ysed on Thurs­day af­ter the heav­i­est snow­fall in al­most 25 years, with driv­ers ad­vised not to use their cars un­less ab­so­lutely nec­es­sary.

In­te­rior Min­is­ter Brice Horte­feux asked driv­ers to leave their ve­hi­cles at home the day af­ter 11 cen­time­tres (more than four inches) of snow fell on Paris, the most since 1987.

Thou­sands of pas­sen­gers spent the night at Roissy Charles de Gaulle air­port af­ter their flights were can­celled, and thou­sands more stranded mo­torists were put up in mu­nic­i­pal halls and school sports halls around the Paris re­gion.

In Velizy, south­west of Paris, be­tween 7,000 and 8,000 peo­ple spent the night in com­pany of­fices, at a shop­ping cen­tre and in a sports hall.

"Peo­ple were fa­tal­is­tic, sur­prised and some­times shocked," a town hall spokesman told AFP.

Au­thor­i­ties at the Eif­fel Tower said they would re­open the land­mark's first floor in the morn­ing, and the rest of the mon­u­ment pro­gres­sively dur­ing the day af­ter the weather forced its clo­sure on Wed­nes­day.

Salt can­not be used to fight snow or ice at the 324-me­tre (1,063-feet) tower be­cause it would dam­age the iron struc­ture that at this time of year gets around 12,000 vis­i­tors a day.

Amid ris­ing pub­lic anger at the au­thor­i­ties per­ceived in­abil­ity to deal with the sit­u­a­tion, Horte­feux post­poned a trip to Morocco.

The weather hit pub­lic trans­port in the sub­urbs hard, with around 50 of ser­vices af­fected, op­er­a­tor RATP said, in­clud­ing buses to Paris air­ports. The traf­fic sit­u­a­tion was ex­pected to re­turn to nor­mal on Thurs­day af­ter­noon, au­thor­i­ties said. -Afp

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