Updated by HIP Paris staff October 12, 2023 Strikes are part and parcel of French life. France is bracing itself for upcoming strike action. French people are well versed at adapting. But that doesn’t mean cocooning is all there’s left to do! If you’re in Paris or France, or planning a visit during strikes, here are our best tips to make the most of your stay and get around efficiently.
WHY ARE THE FRENCH STRIKES HAPPENING?
Many French unions have called for demonstrations and industrial action throughout the French capital and the country on Friday, October 13, 2023. Amongst demands from labor unions and French workers: gender equality, better salaries, reforms to the pension system and benefits.
WHICH SECTORS ARE IMPACTED BY THE NATIONWIDE STRIKE?
The transport sector (including air travel, local and regional trains and Paris metro lines), education, government offices, and medical services.
WHAT DATES ARE THE FRENCH AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL ON STRIKE?
Check with airlines for more information for flights between the evening of October 12 and morning of October 14. 40% of flights at Paris Orly Airport, 25% of flights at Marseille-Provence and 15% of flights at Paris Beauvais are expected to be cancelled. More French airports could be affected. Most long haul flights are unaffected, along with flights to and from Charles de Gaulle Airport.
FRENCH STRIKE ACTION – OCTOBER 12-14, 2023: WHAT ELSE TO KNOW
- EDF workers will strike on October 12 though minimal disruption is expected
- National Strike on Friday, October 13 – transport workers, teachers and other professions are striking
- GPs and other self-employed doctors may be on strike on Friday, with some self-employed doctors extending their strikes. For medical emergencies call 15 (SAMU – Service d’aide médicale urgente) and a doctor will give you advice over the phone or transfer you to a hospital if you need further help. Do not call for non-emergencies.
- The transportation strike will effect railways and the metro on Friday. Due to the train strikes a full time table will be available from SNCF and RATP by Thursday afternoon.
- If your flight or train is cancelled you may be entitled to a new ticket or compensation
- Reconfirm all appointments and schedules at government offices, healthcare facilities and other public sector agencies, including public transport scheduled for October 13.
- Check flight schedules for travel dates from October 12-14.
- Allow extra time for travel plans.
IS IT SAFE TO TRAVEL TO PARIS DURING STRIKES?
Yes! Strikes are part and parcel of French life. It is inconvenient to travel during strikes and best to avoid this, but generally speaking safety concerns are rare.
CHECK THE SNCF, RATP AND CITYMAPPER WEBSITES FOR DETAILED INFORMATION
What is the difference between SNCF and RATP?
SNCF – France’s National Railway Company
The national rail operator SNCF is run by the government and regulates train lines in France with the exception of the metro. Typically from Paris, refer to SNCF trains for travel to another French or European city although it controls some RER trains too. TGV Trains are operated by SNCF.
RATP – For the metro, RER, buses and trams within Paris and its suburbs
RATP is responsible for transport in the Greater Paris region. This includes the metro, trams, buses and most RER lines. For up to the minute news about the upcoming strikes check this page for an overview of the impact of the strike on the RER and metro. You can also enter information for a specific bus, metro and RER itinerary, timetables, and more.
The France train strike schedule is often only updated a few days in advance, sometimes even just the evening before, so it’s a good idea to check as near to the time of travel as possible.
Citymapper – For when you need help planning your journey
Within Paris, Citymapper is incredibly useful, strike or no strike. Its daily updates let you know the train timetables and the app will provide routes that navigate you around affected lines. Citymapper will also suggest alternative transit options, including scooter, moped, bicycle, and ride share—all with estimated fares.
RENTING A CAR
If you need to get around France, renting a car during the strikes is an option worth considering, although not advisable in Paris where parking is very difficult. The best way to get around Paris is by foot, and by checking the updated timetables from RATP.
GETTING TO AND FROM THE AIRPORT
If your flight is impacted by the strikes you should receive notification from your airline. Nevertheless it is wise to check the status online before leaving for the airport.
Public transportation to and from the airport during the strikes
For public transportation to and from the airport the RATP website provides info on the various routes into Paris from its airports. Identify which route you prefer and search City Mapper or enter the specific itinerary into the RATP route planner for up to the date information.
Paris Insider’s Guide has a wonderful guide to taking taxis in Paris including set rates by some companies. Ride-sharing, as well as the G7 taxis (which takes credit cards and has an English language website) have also been options. Be sure to check schedules regularly online as service times may be subject to change.
GET READY TO WALK AND CYCLE (OR EVEN RIDE YOUR SCOOTER)
Paris is a compact city, and it’s easy to move from one neighborhood to the next. Plan your days so that your activities are generally in the same area, minimizing the need for public transit. Several public transit lines are operating at reduced service so you can cross the city when really needed though it is advised to avoid travel unless absolutely necessary. Also be prepared for congestion on walking and cycling routes due to trash on the roads and increased numbers of people choosing to get around this way.
Paris is a city made for meandering, so don’t let the lack of transport discourage you. Discovering the best the city has to offer often comes from wandering!
- On a more positive note: it’s October and there are a myriad of great things to do in Paris this month.
- Visiting Paris and looking for some place to eat? Check out these 5 restaurants.
- Find out what to do on a Sunday in Montmartre.
Written by Marissa Wu for HiP Paris. Looking to travel? Check out Plum Guide and our Marketplace for fabulous vacation rentals in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long or short term, or buy in France? Ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates or click here. Looking to bring France home to you or to learn online or in person? Check out our marketplace shop and experiences.