A massive explosion struck Central Paris on Saturday causing several injuries.
The central Place de la Concorde and surrounding areas were locked down by police barricades, as thousands of officers stood guard on the Champs-Elysees and other areas where protesters have clashed with security forces.
"The explosion was so severe, windows were breaking three or four blocks away where I was", Luke said.
Two hundred firefighters were called and helped to evacuate buildings, according to Christophe Castaner, the interior minister.
Earlier, witnesses described an overwhelmingly loud blast and then hearing screams from people caught in nearby buildings. He said more than 200 firemen were involved in the rescue operation. Silver-helmeted firefighters and red firetrucks filled the street and inspected adjoining courtyards.
"Cars are overturned. glass broken everywhere". A vehicle from gas company GRDF was stationed nearby.
Pranav Chittur, who heard the explosion, told the Metro: "The fire woke me up in the morning". The hotel was "destroyed" by the blast, he said.
The building is around the corner from the Folies-Bergere theater and not far from the shopping district that includes the famed headquarters of Galeries Lafayette.
The explosion occurred around 9 a.m. local time on Saturday as city police braced themselves for the 9th consecutive weekend of Yellow Vest protests.