Photo: Kirill Ts/Shutterstock

Mass Strikes and Protests in France Freeze the Country to a Stop

by Eben Diskin Dec 5, 2019

Today, France is experiencing its largest nationwide strike in recent memory. Changes to the pension system promised by Emmanuel Macron during his presidential campaign are coming, and in anticipation of the overhaul, rail workers, air-traffic controllers, teachers, firefighters, police, and public sector staff are taking to the streets all over the country.

For visitors to the French capital, this is bad news; sites like the Eiffel Tower, Musée d’Orsay, and Versailles have been shut down for the day. Eleven of the 16 metro lines in Paris are closed, and only a third of the buses are circulating.


International travelers will also be experiencing difficulties with half the Eurostar (trains to and from London, Paris, Brussels, or Amsterdam) and Thalys (trains to and from Paris, Brussels, Cologne, or Amsterdam) service canceled for the day. Air France has canceled 30 percent of its domestic flights and 15 percent of mid-haul flights, while EasyJet canceled 233 domestic and mid-haul flights.

In the rest of France, 90 percent of all high-speed trains are canceled, and only one in five regional trains will be running.

Although Thursday is planned to be the day with the most disruptions and protests, disturbances might last several days, so be ready to adjust your plans.

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