The streets of Paris and eight other French cities were deserted on Saturday night on the first day of the government-imposed 9pm curfew that is to last at least four weeks.
The measure was announced this week by French President Emmanuel Macron to curb the resurgent coronavirus as new daily infections peaked last week to more than 30,000.
Macron said the curfews were needed to stop hospitals from becoming overrun.
Many restaurant owners are up in arms about the move that is forcing them to close early, something they say will devastate the industry.
In France, nearly 20 million people are covered by the curfew and eerily deserted scenes were observed in Marseille, Lyon, Lille and Toulouse as well. The curfew runs until 6am daily.
France has seen more than 33,300 confirmed deaths in the pandemic, the fourth-highest death toll in Europe.
Australian Associated Press