By 17:50 on Wednesday evening thousands of Parisians took to the highways to escape the capital as a new lockdown was set to be announced.

The Paris ring road was taking the brunt of the traffic, with a total of 400 kilometres of traffic jams reported on the A10 and A6 as well as the Périphérique.

As the exodus gathered pace, President Macron was due to make a televised announcement at 20:00 on Wednesday evening on a tightening of coronavirus restrictions and a five-week lockdown.

Unlike during the first lockdown this spring, schools and many businesses will remain open in order, as much as possible, to save the battered economy.

FILE PHOTO: The infamous Périphérique Reuters