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France protests: Here’s everything you need to know about travelling to Paris right now

Visitors wait as workers of the culture industry demonstrate outside the Louvre museum.
Visitors wait as workers of the culture industry demonstrate outside the Louvre museum. Copyright AP Photo/Christophe Ena
Copyright AP Photo/Christophe Ena
By Euronews Travel
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Massive strikes and protests have been taking place across the country, often at short notice.

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Paris is a classic springtime destination.

But this capital city, along with the rest of France, is currently seeing protests and strikes over an increase in retirement age. Rubbish previously piled up on the streets of Paris, flights have been cancelled and public transport has been disrupted at times.

So what does this mean for anyone planning to visit the country?

Here’s everything you need to know about travelling to France right now.

What is happening in France and where are the biggest protests?

President Emmanuel Macron is raising the pension age in France from 62 to 64. A lot of people are angry about the change - particularly because Macron used his constitutional powers to push it through without a vote.

The pension reform has triggered massive strikes and protests across the country. Big cities like Paris, Lyon, Marseille and Bordeaux have seen the biggest actions with some leading to violent clashes with police in recent weeks.

People in most sectors including transport workers, rubbish collection and teachers have been taking part in the strikes.

AP Photo/Bob Edme
Demonstrators march against French President Emmanuel Macron's push to move back France's legal retirement age from 62 to 64.AP Photo/Bob Edme

How have strikes impacted travel in France?

Unions have announced that the next days action will be 28 April and 1 May, but walkouts and protests are sometimes taking place with very little notice.

Transport disruption has varied on strike days. Previous action has led to cancellations for Eurostar and TGV train services and protestors on the platform at Paris’ Gare de Lyon caused services to be delayed. But on some days servies used by tourists have not been affected.

The French civil aviation authority, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), sometimes asks airlines nationwide to cancel flights during strikes.

A majority of the affected flights have been short-haul trips within Europe and domestic routes. Most long-haul flights haven’t been impacted by the strikes.

If you are planning to travel to or within France while the protests over pension reforms are ongoing, it's worth checking with your travel operator to see what delays and disruptions you might face.

Is it safe to visit Paris right now?

Protest days have led to violent clashes with police in recent weeks with thousands of people taking to the streets of Paris.

But there aren’t currently any travel warnings in place for France. Visitors are instead advised to monitor the situation and check for updates before they leave.

The UK Foreign Office says that “protests could turn violent and/or continue. These could lead to disruptions to road travel.”

Currently, you are far more likely to suffer from travel disruption than anything else.

AP Photo/Thomas Padilla
Eiffel Tower in the background as a protester sits on a street light during a demonstration at Concorde square near the National Assembly in Paris.AP Photo/Thomas Padilla

Can I still visit the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre?

The Eiffel Tower and the Louvre were closed a few weeks ago amid ongoing protests.

The Louvre is usually closed on Tuesdays so workers decided to strike on a Monday strike day instead. They blocked the doors, preventing visitors from entering and forcing the famous art museum to close.

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The Eiffel Tower was closed due to demonstrations too. The attraction’s website confirmed that it would not be open and advised anyone with tickets for the day to check their email.

If a visit to one of France’s most famous attractions is on your itinerary, it's worth checking opening hours and closures before you go.

When will protests in France end?

The simple answer is that nobody knows. There have so far been 13 strike days and they are continuing.

The disruption could even continue into the summer if there is no resolution to the objections over pension reforms.

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