Thousands of people in France danced Sunday through Monday wearing facemask and no regard to social distancing, the first time since February when the coronavirus pandemic hit the country.

The annual midsummer Festival of Music usually brings millions of people out onto the streets across the country for impromptu concerts in cafes and on street corners that go on long into the night.

Despite emergency measures which ban gatherings of more than 10 people, thousands thronged the trendy Canal Saint Martin and the Marais districts of Paris late Sunday to dance and sing along to bands and DJs.

Not even heavy showers could dampen spirits, with few beyond those serving spicey merguez sausages from street stalls bothering to wear masks.

“The Festival of Music is important, it’s a national event,” 28-year-old reveller Violette told AFP as she boogied to a band in northern Paris.

And she laughed at the idea that people would be strictly respecting social distancing. “Not at all,” she said.

Disgraced politician Patrick Balkany — whose lawyers persuaded a judge earlier this year that he was too ill to serve a five-year jail sentence for money laundering and tax evasion — was also spotted dancing in the street without a mask in the chic Paris suburb of which he is still the mayor.


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