European summit in Versailles: 1,500 police officers mobilized to patrol the castle

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Versailles has not seen such a commotion since the G7 of 1982. On Thursday and Friday, the city welcomed 27 heads of government on the occasion of the European summit chaired by Emmanuel Macron. An event that requires an exceptional security system, with its share of restrictions on the people of Versailles.

“We need to find the right balance to ensure the safety of diplomats in a very sensitive period with all kinds of threats, and to find appropriate solutions to limit the impact on the population,” explains Thomas Lavielle, office director of the prefect. from Yvelines.

War in Ukraine, global warming, vaccination pass, rise in fuel prices, there are many sensitive topics in the news. Which could disrupt the event. It was therefore decided to barricade the castle and its surroundings.

To approach, it will be necessary to show white leg

No one can move around the Place d’Armes from Wednesday midnight and until Friday 8 pm. Within a radius of 800 meters around the entrance to the castle, only pedestrians will be able to circulate, but they will be monitored.

“The person will have to live there or have a medical appointment with proof,” continues Thomas Lavielle. In order not to have to close the shops, it is allowed to go there. People who are excluded are mainly walkers. †

No vehicle will be able to move in these so-called “red” and “orange” zones. Residents and traders must therefore make agreements. “I’m going to park my car in a street 500 meters from my house, but I hope there is room, because we are all going to do the same,” predicts a resident of the orange zone. For several days, the agents of the prefecture have been available at any time to answer questions from Versailles.

Companies apply early closures

Supplying companies is a recurring topic. “Technically it’s complicated because we normally deliver on Thursday mornings,” says Christophe, deputy director of the crêperie la Place. We choose to close Thursday and Friday because many people will think it is not accessible so it will not be profitable enough for us. †

His neighbors at the Guinguette and the O’Paris pubs had the same thought. “We are going to close on Wednesday night after the football game and we are going to take advantage on Thursday to unite the team,” explains Arnaud, the director of O’Paris. We will open again on Friday at 7:00 PM. It’s limiting, but we’ll fix it. Within a week, it would have been catastrophic with St. Patrick’s Day. †

Traffic will be blocked on other busy roads. Parts of the Boulevard de la Reine, Avenues de l’Europe, Saint-Cloud and the United States are particularly affected. The police, in collaboration with the Versailles municipal police, will regulate the flow of cars in these sectors. In total, no less than 1,500 police officers are required to ensure the security of the summit.

Service also… in the air

Two large tents have been set up in front of the castle for between 500 and 1,000 journalists from all over the European Union. The Versailles-Rive gauche station (RER C) is closed from Thursday 10am to Friday 6pm and buses are diverted. Access to Satory wood is also prohibited.

Versailles (Yvelines), March 8, 2022. The tents set up in front of the castle will accommodate 500 to 1,000 journalists from all over the European Union.
Versailles (Yvelines), March 8, 2022. The tents set up in front of the castle will accommodate 500 to 1,000 journalists from all over the European Union. LP/JM

Since Monday and until the end of the summit, aircraft and drones are no longer allowed to fly over Versailles and its surroundings within a radius of 15 km. Finally, the consumption of alcohol on public roads, outside restaurant terraces, is prohibited from this Wednesday at 8 am to Friday at 10 pm in the communes of Versailles and Saint-Cyr-l’École.

The prefecture of Yvelines will answer all your questions by email at [email protected]† A dedicated telephone line is open on Thursdays and Fridays at 07.85.58.86.93.