Snow and ice have paralysed much of the region around the French capital Paris, stranding thousands of motorists and air passengers for the night.
Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux asked drivers to leave their vehicles at home after 11cm (4in) of snow fell on Paris, the most since 1987.
The traffic situation is expected to return to normal by Thursday afternoon.
The bad weather also hit air, rail and road traffic in Germany overnight.
About 3,000 passengers at the country's biggest airport, Frankfurt, had to be booked on to other flights.
Berlin airports were said to be running low on de-icing fluid.
A concert due to be given by Colombian pop star Shakira in Frankfurt on Wednesday evening was cancelled after she was stranded in Paris, Germany's Focus news website reports.
The singer's Here Comes The Sun show was rescheduled for the spring.
'Standing still or barely moving'
In France, air passengers spent the night at Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport after flights were cancelled.
Municipal halls and school sports halls around the Paris region put up stranded motorists for the night.
So heavy was the snow in the city on Wednesday, that top tourist attraction the Eiffel Tower was shut down.
The snow rapidly turned to slush, paralysing the bus network.
Ashley Wheeler, a BBC News website user from Wokingham in the UK, was travelling through Paris on business.
He gave up trying to get his connecting flight out of Paris due to the weather conditions.
"I was on a flight into Charles De Gaulle," he said.
"The pilot aborted the landing at the very last moment, later reporting that 'the runway was too slippery and we were diverted to use a different runway instead'.
"I gave up trying to take my connecting flight and took the TGV [high-speed train] instead.
"I watched the chaos on the roads, as the train left Paris without any problems. There were queues of traffic standing still or barely moving."