Paris: Paris faced seemingly endless traffic jams with a combined length of 730 kilometers (454 miles) Thursday evening, ahead of the second nationwide lockdown.
France imposed COVID-19 travel restrictions on Friday morning that will last till December 1.
Under the new rules people will need a certificate to move around and travel between regions is forbidden.
Thursday was also one of the last few days for people to return to their homes after France’s school half-term, which ends after the All Saints’ holiday this weekend.
Incredible traffic jam in Paris as people try to leave the city before 9 pm curfew and before confinement begins at midnight. Traffic is barely moving in every direction as far as the eye can see. Lots of honking and frustrated drivers. pic.twitter.com/6Zn2HCxuPl
— Michael E. Webber (@MichaelEWebber) October 29, 2020
French President Emmanuel Macron assured French citizens that people will be allowed by the authorities to return to their homes by Sunday evening.
“At the moment, it is impossible to tell for sure the traffic jam was a consequence of the lockdown or [people returning from] holidays,” a spokesperson for the Paris region traffic authority said.
The official said the traffic jam was in both directions, stretching in and out of Paris. “It is too early to confirm Parisian people are fleeing the capital,” the spokesperson added.
“This is way bigger than any holiday exodus, winter, summer, we almost hit our highest record which was 739 kilometers long total,” it said.