Iconic Paris restaurant burned out during ‘yellow vest’ protests is to reopen

The famous luxury Paris restaurant burned out at the height of the 'yellow vest' protests is to reopen.

Iconic Paris restaurant burned out during 'yellow vest' protests is to reopen
Le Fouquet restaurant burning on March 16. 2019. All photos: AFP

The expensive Fouquet bistro was burned out on March 16 – the day that the Champs-Elysées was looted and vandalised by people who were taking part in the weekly 'yellow vest' protest.

It was badly damaged by the fire, but owners now say they are ready to reopen and diners will find it has been “identically restored”.


The first-floor dining room will be available to those who wish to watch the traditional Bastille Day parade on the Champs-Elysées.

The high-priced brasserie has long been popular with well-off Parisiens and became a symbol of the wealthy class of France when Nicolas Sarkozy celebrated his election victory there in 2007, inviting rich friends and billionaire campaign donors to join him.

The demonstration of March 16 proved to be a defining moment in the 'yellow vest' movement, and both France and the world were shocked at scenes of destruction on the famed Champs-Elysées.

After that police took a harder line on demonstrations and protests were banned from parts of Paris, including the Champs-Elysées.

The movement dwindled, thanks in part to a package of measures from Emmanuel Macron to address the grievances of the protesters, and now although some Saturday protests continue, numbers are down to a few hundred from the 280,000 a week who turned out during the movement's peak.


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What happened to the rioters who trashed the Arc de Triomphe during yellow vest violence?

A court in France has finally handed out sentences to some of those involved in the vandalism and theft at the Arc de Triomphe in December 2018 - when 'yellow vest' violence in Paris shocked the world.

What happened to the rioters who trashed the Arc de Triomphe during yellow vest violence?
'Yellow vest' protesters clash with police by the Arc de Triomphe on December 1st 2018 in Paris. Photo: Abdulmonam EASSA / AFP

The French court on Thursday sentenced eight people to suspended jail terms and community service for taking part in one of the most violent episodes of the anti-government ‘yellow vest’ protests that rocked France two years ago.

A total of nine stood trial this week for the incident, but one of them, a former soldier, was cleared for lack of evidence, presiding judge Sonia Lumbroso said at the verdict.

The court ruled the suspects were neither the instigators nor the main culprits of the vandalism and looting around the Arc de Triomphe monument in Paris, when scenes of destruction and fierce clashes with police made global headlines.

Most of them had no criminal records.

They were sentenced to 70 hours of community service for entering the monument, but those also found guilty of stealing items such as postcards, Arc de Triomphe models or miniature Eiffel Towers from the gift shop, were fined €100 for theft.

A ‘yellow vest’ protester arrives at the courthouse in Paris to attend the trial of ten people on charge of destruction and theft around the Arc de Triomphe monument in Paris. Photo: Thomas COEX / AFP

One of the group, a man who was caught on camera trying to break down a door with a fire extinguisher, was handed the most severe sentence, a suspended prison term of eight months.

Dozens of cars were set on fire and businesses trashed all along the celebrated Champs-Elysées avenue on December 1st, 2018, the third Saturday of mass demonstrations against President Emmanuel Macron.

READ ALSO: Macron risks losing support from left against Le Pen in French presidential election

He was accused of ignoring the plight of struggling French families and after months of protests he abandoned a planned fuel tax hike and raised spending on the lowest earners.

The protesters had already skirmished with security forces at earlier rallies, but police were unprepared for the rioting that engulfed the capital just a few weeks before Christmas.

Despite firing volleys of tear gas and rubber bullets, the officers were forced to abandon their positions around the Arc de Triomphe, which honours France’s war dead.

Protesters snuffed out the eternal flame over the tomb of an unknown World War I soldier and spray-painted the stone walls with graffiti including “the yellow vests will triumph”.

Others forced their way inside the arch, ransacking the gift shop and damaging scores of artworks, causing damage that cost €1.2 million to repair.

READ ALSO: Is France’s ‘yellow vest’ movement really on its way back?