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France tells people to enjoy Christmas, but stay vigilant

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By Seamus Kearney
France tells people to enjoy Christmas, but stay vigilant

Have a relaxing Christmas, but keep personal safety in mind when out in public.

This year we haven't noticed any difference in our customers' behaviour

That is the message from French authorities as they step up security in popular outdoor places.

Up to 300 extra soldiers are on patrol after three acts of violence in as many days left one dead and 30 wounded.

In two of the attacks vehicles were rammed into pedestrians.

But that has been far from the minds of many people shopping on Christmas eve.

And some stores say there is still big spending going on, despite difficult financial times.

Agnes Vigneron, a manager at the Galeries Lafayette Haussmann department store in Paris, said:
“I think we are more likely to spoil our friends than ourselves at Christmas, so if one has to save money, it’s for yourself and not for others.

“So for Christmas people spend their money like in previous years. This year we haven’t noticed any difference in our customers’ behaviour.”

And there are always those who shop right up until the stores close.

Shopper Claire Kung said: “Yes, we’re short of time, shopping right up until the last minute. This store is big enough to find what we’re looking for.”

And while we may be inundated with depressing footage of bad news around the world, it is good to know there is also no shortage of heart-warming images this festive season.

Christmas trees, Santa Clauses, ice-skating rinks and festive lighting have been big hits in many cities.