Paris saw near-record levels of traffic on its roads as the start of France’s second national lockdown loomed.
Data downloaded from Sytadin, which measures traffic in the capital, showed that there were more than 700 kilometres of traffic in the French capital on Thursday night before 9 pm, which marked the start of the regional curfew and also the beginning of a new national lockdown.
The mad rush to leave and return to the city could continue throughout the weekend, with the government stating that they would be tolerant of people returning from holidays.
“Traffic is barely moving in every direction as far as the eye can see. Lots of honking and frustrated drivers,” tweeted author Michael E Webber, who posted a viral video of large swaths of traffic.
Others on social media called the traffic jams both a “mess” and “legendary”.
The start of France’s lockdown coincides with the end of school holidays for Toussaint on November 1, which is a bank holiday.
Many who live in large cities will likely also try to flee to country homes to ride out the second wave, which the government has said is impacting the entire country.
France’s second lockdown will restrict people to their homes until at least December 1, President Emmanuel Macron announced on Wednesday in a speech that was watched by more than 33 million viewers.
The country, as during its first lockdown will require citizens to have a form explaining the reason they are leaving their house. People may only leave in order to go to work, school, medical appointments, essential shopping, or care for vulnerable family members.