Expedia said Wednesday that hotel reservations in France by overseas clients plunged during the recent unrest that spread through poor suburbs and towns across the country.

Expedia said that, while there was little change in the first week of unrest that began Oct. 27, its reservations by U.S. travelers decreased by 44 percent in the second week. Hotel reservations by Canadians fell by 33 percent, and by 27 percent for British and Germans.

"The impact of these events on French tourism was clear," said Fabien Bourdier, head of the French version of the site Expedia.fr, according to a statement.

There has since been a "timid" return to online bookings for France, he said.

French authorities have denied suggestions that the unrest, marked mainly by arson attacks, would have an impact on tourism. However, Tourism Minister Leon Bertrand said Wednesday on LCI television that there had been some cancelations, notably in the Paris region and especially at the "grand palaces" -- the luxury hotels "where tourists who come from far away" often stay.

"I'm thinking of Chinese. I'm thinking of Americans. I think, for example, of the Japanese," Bertrand said. The minister added, however, that no groups had canceled trips here, and "that is why I say that we don't have reason to fear."

He said a campaign would be launched directed, notably, at Japanese and Chinese.

Bertrand took a crack at the U.S. media, reiterating claims by other French officials that the American press, particularly television, had sensationalized the unrest, "showing images that were sometimes exaggerated."

During the unrest, youths set fire to warehouses, schools and other edifices and torched vehicles. At its height, more than 1,400 cars were torched in one night.