Residents cower under restaurant tables as crowds run from Place de la République after firecrackers are mistaken for gunfire.

TV pictures show hundreds of people fleeing a Paris square in panic after loud bangs were reportedly heard in the area.

Residents were seen cowering under tables in nearby restaurants as crowds ran from Place de la République in the centre of the French capital.

A number of police vehicles were sent to the scene.

It turned out to be a false alert – the third in Paris since Friday’s terror attacks that left 132 people dead.

Police react to a suspicious vehicle near La Carillon restaurant following a series of deadly attacks in Paris

Police investigate suspicious vehicle near La Carillon restaurant

It is understood the stampede was caused by the sound of firecrackers being let off.

Sky’s Mark Stone, at the scene, said residents reported seeing armed police running down the street, shouting to people to get inside their homes.

Smashed plates under a table at the Cafe Republique, Paris, after a panic

He also saw around 15 police cars going in different directions.

“It’s undoubtedly a city that really is on the edge at the moment,” said Stone.

A police official at the square said: “There was crowd movement apparently with no reason.

“We hadn’t heard anything and all the people we questioned hadn’t heard anything either.”

Earlier, people had gathered around a monument in the square to remember those killed in the string of bomb and gun attacks.

Special church services were held at Notre Dame Cathedral to honour those killed.

The cathedral’s famous bells were rung in homage.

Paris Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois told church-goers: “Our country knows the pain of mourning and must face barbarity propagated by fanatical groups.”

Residents and tourists were searched before they were allowed into the building.

Francesca Gazzino, an Italian tourist, said: “This (the attacks) is unbelievable. It is unbelievable. But we must carry on, we should not let fear take over us.

“I’m here because it is the first time I’m in Paris and I think it was mandatory to pray in Notre Dame – firstly, because I’m Christian and, secondly, for all that has happened.”