Christmas shopping has been disturbed in the heart of Paris where France’s “yellow vest” protests continue over rising living costs. The finance minister described the current situation as a “catastrophe”.

“It’s a period when commerce is usually brisk, just before Christmas – but this, this is a catastrophe,” Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said as he visited Parisian shopkeepers.

He promised “direct” help for businesses affected, as Emmanuel Macron prepares to address the nation this week in a bid to end the deepest crisis of his presidency.

As reported by Agence France-Presse (AFP), the Eiffel Tower, museums, department stores were also closed on December 8 – on what would normally be a bustling Saturday in the run-up to Christmas.

The luxury jewellery shops on the Place Vendome were boarded up, the diamonds and watches gone from their windows.

According to AFP, shopkeepers targeted by the rioters are counting the costs.

In the north-western 17th district of Paris, an optician surveyed the contents of his ruined store. Far from the touristy centre, authorities and shopkeepers alike had expected this area to avoid trouble.

“They took everything. Everything,” the shopkeeper told AFP.