December 8, 2010 / 6:06 PM / in 9 years

Snowstorm paralyses, enchants Paris

A passer-by photographs a snowman in a street in Paris December 8, 2010 as winter weather and sub-freezing temperatures continue in northern France. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier (FRANCE - Tags: ENVIRONMENT TRAVEL TRANSPORT)

PARIS (Reuters) - The biggest snowfall in close to a quarter of a century forced Paris’s Eiffel Tower and airports to shut briefly on Wednesday.

An exceptionally heavy afternoon snowstorm paralysed the bus network, snarled up roads and motorways and even disrupted the underground train network.

Some people were happy to see the capital city’s parks and the gardens of parliament draped in white after what the Meteo France weather forecasting agency said was the biggest fall of snow since 1987.

“This is marvellous. I didn’t think it could snow so much in Paris and that these gardens could be so beautiful,” said Didier Mathus, one of many members of parliament enchanted by a snowfall of rare intensity for the heart of Paris.

The national aviation authority had asked airlines ahead of Wednesday to cut back on flights, and Charles de Gaulle airport was forced to shut for a period as the snowfall peaked and Orly airport shut two runways, according to the AdP airport body.

Reporting by Brian Love, Emile Picy and Elizabeth Pineau; Writing by Brian Love; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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