A huge noise that panicked residents of Paris was caused by a sonic boom as a military jet broke the speed of sound, police in the French capital said.

"A very loud noise was heard in Paris and in the Paris region. It was not an explosion, it was a fighter jet crossing the sound barrier," police said on their Twitter account, urging people to stop calling emergency phone lines.

A defence ministry spokesman also confirmed that it was a sonic boom.

The noise shook windows and was heard in every part of the city.

It was clearly heard during the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros, where Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland and his German opponent Dominik Koepfer paused in astonishment and worry as the noise echoed around the stadium.

It was not immediately clear why a fighter plane was flying over Paris.

Additional reporting Reuters