Riot police battled with Chelsea supporters in central Paris last night (Wednesday) after the windows of cafes and shops were smashed before the Champions League quarter final.
The worst of the violence was in Rue St Denis, a popular tourist street full of pubs and bars. According to onlookers, a large group of Chelsea chanted racist abuse before they started attacking Paris St Germain followers.
'We're trying to contain the violence but it's spreading,' said one police riot officer. Some of the troublemakers let off flares and the tight, packed streets were soon filled with thick black smoke.
'It's terrifying - I just want to get out of here,' said Sarah Avel, a 16-year-old French student. 'We could hear the chanting all afternoon but we didn't expect fighting.'
The fans had been drinking for most of the afternoon outside the Frog and Rosbif pub before they moved across the road to The Thistle. It was there that the fighting started with some of the fans singing English Defence League songs in front of black Parisians.
A group of around 100 fans then ran down the Rue St Denis, towards the Seine river, smashing up anything in their path. Tables and chairs were destroyed outside the McBride's Irish pub, and windows were broken. The outside of a clothes shop was also destroyed, while bottles were thrown at evening drinkers sitting in cafes.
Chelsea had around 2000 allocated tickets for the game, but many thousands of fans without tickets travelled to Paris anyway.