After some people reacted to the relaxation of prohibitions by staging late-night street parties, French officials advised civilians not to relax their guard against COVID-19.
Beginning on Wednesday (May 19), cafes and restaurants were permitted to service customers outside, and the nighttime curfew was extended by two hours, to 9:00 p.m. (1900 GMT).
A huge crowd of people danced around a bonfire in a central square in Rennes, 350 kilometres west of Paris, after the 9:00 p.m. curfew was lifted on Wednesday evening, according to video footage shared on social media.
In one street in Paris lined with pavement cafes, large numbers of people were still sitting at tables nursing drinks after the curfew, undeterred by a police patrol.
In the city of Bordeaux, south-west France, crowds of young people – many of them without masks – drank and danced in a central square until at least 11:00pm on Wednesday, French public television reported.
Responding to those scenes, French Prime Minister Jean Castex urged people to show collective discipline, and to respect the rules that are still in place.