LILLE, France — A group of French tourists who had just visited the southern Alps and northern Seine-et-Marne on a recent sunny day, were surprised to find the temperature in the town’s downtown building was nearly 40 degrees below zero, according to a report in France’s Le Parisien newspaper.
As they drove past a large, vacant church on Sunday, a man in a suit wearing a black ski mask approached them and asked them to sit down on the ground.
“It was very cold,” said one of the men, who did not want to be identified because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the incident.
“I felt very cold.
I had no idea what it was like to be cold,” he added.
The man explained that it was raining outside and he had not taken his clothes off and that he had been sitting in his car.
He then said to the group, “This is the second time I have come to this place,” as the temperature had plummeted to below zero in just a few minutes.
When the group asked him to return to the car, he said he could not because the temperature was still above zero.
He said that if he was in France, he would “go to the hospital.”
The group of about 20 people then took off in a taxi to the nearest hotel, where they stayed for several hours.
A hotel employee told Le Parisiens that the temperature dropped below zero for about 20 minutes before it reached the 40-degree mark.
“There were people wearing masks,” the employee said.
The hotel manager later told the newspaper that the man was not wearing a mask and that the hotel was not equipped to handle the temperature drop.
A spokesperson for the French Embassy in Paris confirmed that the Paris Hotel and Conference Centre, the building where the incident took place, was not in compliance with the hotel’s rules regarding temperature and humidity, but declined to elaborate on what was wrong with the building.
The Paris Hotel & Conference Centre was built in 1929, according the hotel website.
The city of Lille, in northern France, was the first to issue an official permit for a hotel, and it has been in operation since 1963.