Paris: Armed robbers launched a spectacular raid on the world-famous Ritz hotel in Paris, making off with an estimated four million euros worth of jewels, the latest in a string of high-profile heists in the French capital.
No one was injured in the robbery, but terrified guests reported being told to "get down" as shots rang out.
Three of the gang were detained while fleeing the scene and an AFP journalist said some roads around the hotel were sealed off by security forces following the incident.
A police official said Thursday that one perpetrator dropped a bag with jewels and hatchets when his motorcycle hit a pedestrian during his escape.
The getaway vehicle was found abandoned 12 miles north of Paris.
Police arrived on the scene during the raid, and managed to apprehend three of the five suspects.
A masked group armed with axes, sledgehammers and guns stormed the landmark Ritz Hotel in the Chic Place Vendome in central Paris.
But the audacious strike at one of Paris's most glamorous hotels could cast a cloud over the Ritz's image.
The former home of fashion designer Coco Chanel and author Marcel Proust, the Ritz was a favourite drinking hole of American writer Ernest Hemingway.
It was at the Ritz that Diana, Princess of Wales, spent her last night in 1997 before the auto crash that killed her and her lover Dodi Fayed, son of the hotel's owner Mohammed al-Fayed.
The hotel, opened in 1898, has been owned by Egyptian billionaire Mohamed Al-Fayed - father of Diana's boyfriend Dodi Al-Fayed who was also killed in the crash - since 1979.
Armed heists targeting jewellery stores are not uncommon in the area, where dozens of luxury boutiques align the streets.
The losses in those attacks ranged from 420,000 euros to two million euros.
And in October 2016, reality television celebrity Kim Kardashian was the victim of a robbery just 10 minutes walk from the Ritz, in which millions of pounds worth of jewellery was stolen from her.