Described as the worst upheaval since the 1968 student riots, the country's economy has received a battering worth one billion dollar.

People run away from a burning car during clashes, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 in Marseille, southern France. The grassroots movement began as resistance against a rise in taxes for diesel and gasoline, but quickly expanded to encompass frustration at stagnant incomes and the growing cost of living.
People run away from a burning car during clashes, Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 in Marseille, southern France. The grassroots movement began as resistance against a rise in taxes for diesel and gasoline, but quickly expanded to encompass frustration at stagnant incomes and the growing cost of living. (AP)

With French protests entering its fifth week, the economy is likely to suffer in the coming weeks.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Sunday: “We must expect a new slowdown of economic growth at year-end due to the yellow vest protests"

The country's growth rate may even come to a standstill in the final quarter as anti-government protests show no signs of abating, the French central bank estimated on Monday, downgrading its outlook.

The Bank of France forecast the euro zone’s second-biggest economy would eke out growth of only 0.2 percent in the quarter from the previous three months, down from 0.4 percent in a previous estimate and from that rate in the third quarter.

Many well known business establishments, including shops, restaurants, cars and private properties were vandalised during the protests across the country. So far the worst hit area is the French capital, Paris.

Shops along the Champs-Elysees and central department stores stayed shut with their windows boarded up to avoid looting.

Workers reinforce store windows on the famed Champs Elysees avenue to prepare for an expected protest by the
Workers reinforce store windows on the famed Champs Elysees avenue to prepare for an expected protest by the "yellow jackets" on Saturday as a protest last weekend degenerated into violence, in Paris, Friday, November 30, 2018. (AP)

The iconic Eiffel Tower, major museums and many metro stations were also closed as parts of Paris went on effective lockdown.

People began blockading French roads on November 17 over rising fuel prices - partly due to taxes aimed at helping the country transition to a lower-carbon economy.

But the demonstrations have since swollen into a broad movement against ex-banker Macron, whom the protesters accuse of favouring the rich.

Nationwide, 89,000 police officers were on duty in towns, cities and on numerous motorways which caused havoc on France's road network, including a blockade of a border crossing with Spain.

The French retail federation(FCD) told on Friday they lost around $1.1 billion in revenue since the start of the “yellow vest” protests.

Paris is third most visited cities across the world with 17.44 million tourists, after Bangkok and London, in 2017 according to Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index.

Average spending per day for a tourist in Paris is $301 that contributes French tourism and its affiliated sub-sectors.

Amid the ongoing unrest some countries issued alerts to their Paris-bound citizens, asking them to avoid the city due to clashes. The perception is hurting the image of Paris as well as affecting revenues generated by the tourism sector.  

The US embassy in Paris released a warning for its citizens to avoid crowds and to consider relocating in advance to another area from expected or ongoing clash zones on December 6. 

Turkey also issued a warning for its citizens to avoid crowds and being careful in Paris on December 2.

Portugal, Czech Republic, and Belgium also published travel warnings to Paris.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies