Thousands of troops on Paris streets but are they France’s new Maginot line?

On the cobbled alleyways of Montmartre, as a busker warbled La Vie en Rose and street artists painted watercolours of the view over Paris, Master Corporal Jean-Claude had been up since dawn leading a platoon of soldiers on patrol in full camouflage and flak jackets with fingers resting lightly near the triggers of their assault rifles.

“Our mission is to protect, dissuade and reassure,” he said in clipped tones, as his men from the 3rd Marine Infantry Regiment, normally based in Brittany, snaked past pavement cafes, tour groups and couples kissing, scanning all around for bombs or terrorists.

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