Woman gives birth in Paris supermarket

A 31-year-old woman gave birth to her fifth child in a Paris supermarket on Wednesday after her waters broke while perusing the shelves in the luggage aisle.

The woman contacted store personnel for help and was taken to the supermarket infirmary, a room normally used as a rest area for unwell shoppers, according to a report in the Le Parisien daily.

"She told me she was having contractions, so I asked her how long she had left to her due date, she replied that she was at full term," a security officer at the Auchan de La Défense supermarket told the newspaper.

Supermarket staff called the emergency services, who arrived just in time to assist in the birth of a little baby boy.

The woman and child were then taken by ambulance to the Notre-Dame de Bon Secours maternity clinic in Paris' 14th administrative district.

In the course of all the birthing commotion the woman lost her purse which was later recovered by store staff. The woman's seven-year-old son who had accompanied her to the store was furthermore entrusted into the care of supermarket security staff. 

"He stayed with us, we had lunch together, it was great fun," a security officer told the newspaper.

The young boy was subsequently handed over to police and later reunited with his father later in the afternoon.

Supermarket staff confirmed that Wednesday stands to be a day to remember.

"It was a nice event, a change from the routine," one remarked.

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France’s mystery rooftop panther stolen from zoo

A black panther rescued from rooftops near the northern city of Lille last week has been stolen from the zoo where it was taken after capture, officials said.

France's mystery rooftop panther stolen from zoo
Photo: AFP/ Sapeurs Pompiers du Nord

The feline was seized overnight from the zoo in Maubeuge near the Belgian border, the city's mayor, Arnaud Decagny, told AFP on Tuesday.

“This animal was the only target,” Decagny said, adding that “considerable efforts” were made to force locks and avoid security systems.

Zoo personnel are worried about the young panther's health, “which is rather delicate because he lacks strength,” the mayor added, saying the animal was just a few months old and weighed between 25 and 30kg.

The panther after its capture. Photo League Protectrice des Animaux de la Nord de France/AFP

The panther was going to be transferred to a centre specialised in rehabilitating wild animals that had been domesticated.

Firefighters caught the cat last Wednesday as it roamed rooftops in Armentieres after escaping through the window of a private apartment believed to have been its home.

The panther's owner is thought to have escaped through the same window, for fear of being charged with illegally harbouring a wild animal.

Police have not located the fugitive owner, who could face charges of endangering the public, which is punishable by up to a year in prison and €15,000 in fines, Decagny said.