A total of 29 departments were placed on orange alert – the second highest warning – in France on Wednesday morning by the country's national weather agency Meteo France.
Twenty-five departments in the north and central France were on alert for ice and snow while four in the south west were on alert for avalanches.
The departments on alert for ice and snow were Aisne, Ardennes, Aube, Cher, Côte-d'Or, Eure-et-Loir, Loir-et-Cher, Loiret, Marne, Nièvre, Nord, Oise, Pas-de-Calais, Saône-et-Loire, Paris and the area immediately outside the city known as the “Petite Couronne”, Seine-Maritime, Seine-et-Marne, Yvelines, Somme, Yonne, Essonne and Val-d'Oise.
Meanwhile the Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Hautes-Pyrénées, Ariège and Haute-Garonne were on alert for avalanches.
The alerts are expected to remain in place until Thursday at 6 am and people in these areas are advised to be vigilant due to the risk of dangerous weather.
Map: Meteo France
On Wednesday the department of Ardennes in the Grand Est region and the historical region of Burgundy in the east are expected to see snowfall of between 5 and 10 cm, or up to 15 cm locally on high ground.
And according to weather forecaster François Gourand, the snow “will hold because it is so cold”.
People in the northern French city of Lille and Reims in the north east, woke up to a coating of snow on Wednesday morning.
In Lille there was 9 cm of snow early in the morning, a level of snowfall which hasn't been seen in the city since 2013 while in Reims there was 6 cm of snow.
Many local authorities had decided to suspend school transport, including in the departments of Ardennes, Yonne, Meuse, Nord, Pas-de-Calais, Somme, Aisne and Oise.
In the greater Paris region of Ile-de-France, where snow showers were expected, and in Burgundy maintained the 80 km/h speed limit imposed on Tuesday as well as the ban on vehicles weighing more than 3.5 tonnes and vehicles carrying dangerous goods.
In the Hauts-de-France region the speed limit was reduced to 110 km/h on the motorways until midday on Wednesday.
Weather forecasters have predicted that the risk of avalanches will increase on Wednesday in the mountains of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques, the western Hautes-Pyrénées, the Hautes-Pyrénées. and in the mountains of Haute-Garonne and western Ariège.
The risk will become even higher on Thursday due to increased snowfall throughout Wednesday.
“Many large avalanches, sometimes very large, may occur and affect roads or infrastructure, including at medium altitude,” warned Météo France.