Three robbers wearing balaclavas and carrying handguns and hatchets entered the hotel in the swank Place Vendome from the rear and smashed jewelry display windows.
They tried to escape the same way but found the doors blocked and so before they were seized passed loot through a window to two accomplices outside. One fled by car and the other by motorbike but dropped one bag of jewels.
Several luxury brands display valuables in street-front windows of the Ritz, and Place Vendome with an array of jewelers has been the scene of various audacious daytime robberies. Security was boosted there in 2014 after several armed raids, but in March 2016 jewels worth about 6 million euros were stolen from top brand Chopard by robbers who threatened employees with a gun and grenade.
That was the same year the Ritz re-opened after a big fire and nearly four years of renovations. The hotel founded by Swiss entrepreneur Cesar Ritz in 1898 was the lodging of choice of Charlie Chaplin, Coco Chanel and Ernest Hemingway,