Young rioters have set fire to at least 150 vehicles in the Seine Saint Denis area northeast of Paris, on the eighth night of unrest in a row.
Attacks on a school and a bus were also reported. Police said that around the capital there were fewer incidents overall than on Wednesday night.
They attributed the relative calm to the presence of around 1,000 riot police.
They have been patrolling areas hit by the unrest, which started after rumours that two teenagers who died after entering an electricity sub-station had been chased by police.
Yesterday, as an investigation concluded the rumours were wrong, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin told the Senate that violence would not prevail.
He said: “I refuse to accept that organised gangs lay down the law in certain neighbourhoods, I refuse to accept that criminal and drug trafficking networksprofit from this disorder, I refuse to accept that the strong intimidate the weak.”
Villepin has struggled to end cabinet squabbling over how to handle the disturbances. Yesterday he and Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy met mayors from the affected areas.
Meanwhile a mosque spokesman from one affected town repeated the government’s appeal for order. Imam Mohamed Hassi said: “We’re asking everyone in Aulnay and all our brothers for a return to calm. We won’t get anywhere through violence.”
On Wednesday shots were fired at police and fire crews.
Authorities hoped festivities ending the fasting month of Ramadan would calm rioters, many of whom are of North African origin, but last night there were incidents in other cities including Dijon.