PARIS – Demonstrations, transport and garbage collector strikes, spontaneous marches. Since the end of January, Paris has been experiencing an intense protest movement against the pension reform, approved by the Borne government and wanted by President Macron. But even if the level of tension has reached such a point as to postpone the state visit of King Charles of England, scheduled for March 26 to 29, to a date to be defined, going to Paris for a tourist is safe (as usually, let’s say). This does not mean that there are several aspects to keep in mind to limit the inconvenience. Let’s see which ones, even if – given that the situation is constantly evolving – before leaving it is important to check the news sites for the latest updates.
Are trips to France not recommended?
On the Farnesina’s Safe Traveling website, travel to France is labeled “green”, therefore safe. However, “the utmost caution” is recommended due to the ongoing protests.
Does transport work in Paris?
The first problematic aspect of traveling to France in this period is certainly linked to transport. For weeks, public and private transport, especially short and long-distance trains and planes, have been affected by delays and cancellations. However, at the time of writing, March 29, the inconveniences in the transport sector are reduced: the metro is functioning normally, as are planes and trains. The national strike days are an exception: the next one is scheduled for April 6 and below we write what can be expected to happen on that day.
What happens to transport in France when there is a national strike?
April 6 will be the next (eleventh) day of national strike, when all unions and all labor categories mobilize and thousands of demonstrators march through the city. When there is a national strike obviously the inconveniences and risks are greater. On average, 20% of long-distance trains (therefore also those between Italy and France) and 20% of short-haul flights (therefore those between Italy and France) are canceled and the others can easily be delayed. Passengers are notified by the train and airline companies, but it is advisable to check the status of your flight/train independently via the website/app. A piece of advice for those who fly: give priority to those who land at the Parisian Charles de Gaulle airport, because strikes usually concern the Paris Orly airport. The metros operate but at a slower pace and with fewer trains, so it is preferable to get around on foot or by bike when possible. Traffic increases and it is better to travel in advance if, for example, you take a taxi to the airport.
What happens to the museums and monuments of Paris when there is a national strike?
On March 23, for the ninth day of the national strike, the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and Versailles were closed in solidarity with the protest. It is not said that it will happen again, and in any case, beyond the days of the national strike, the tourist destinations are open regularly. For greater safety, check the museum sites the day before.
Is it safe to participate in demonstrations in Paris?
No, and it’s not recommended for those who don’t know how they work, unless you stay on the sidelines and only participate at the beginning of the event, when the situation is usually less tense. Journalists following the marches wear helmets and are often accompanied by bodyguards. This is because clashes between protesters and police have become the norm and, even for those with experience, it is difficult to predict when the situation will escalate. The fact remains that it is very difficult to end up in the procession by mistake, even if it must be said that lately there have also been many spontaneous unauthorized demonstrations. If so, better get away. It is therefore important to check the route of the protest procession (you can search on search engines for “grève 6 avril parcours Paris”). It is communicated at least a day in advance and all the air involved becomes off limits for cars, while bike stations and metro stops are closed. It is good to know where the procession is also to avoid ending up in the middle by mistake. Usually, however, these are areas that are not highly touristic, such as Montparnasse or Place de la Nation.
Is the situation on the street in Paris safe?
Apart from the demonstrations, the city is safe as usual and even if there are more police around, this has no impact on tourism.
Is there a lot of rubbish around Paris?
The Paris garbage collectors’ strike ended on March 29, so the streets of the capital should be clean again in the coming days.