Heavy snowfall has caused major travel disruptions in the northern half of France and in Paris as the weather conditions caught authorities off guard.

France's national rail operator has been forced to reduce the speed of its high-speed TGV trains because of the snow, which reached up to 15 centimeters (6 inches) in the Paris region, and advised customers to postpone their trips.

Twenty-five French departments remained on orange alert over the dangerous weather conditions and ice on the roads on Wednesday morning, as school buses in several regions were halted.

Hundreds of car users spent the night trapped in their vehicle outside Paris after French authorities failed to clear roads on time. Paris police prefecture urged drivers to leave their cars at home to avoid creating more traffic jams.