You can still travel to France despite protests, but here’s what you should know

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  • Published on March 27, 2023
  • Last Updated May 15, 2023
  • In Travel Advisory

The country currently has a level 2 travel advisory from the US State Department.

As the weather heats up, travel is at the forefront of people’s minds. For those who have France on their list of destinations, however, the country’s current climate may have some wondering if it’s best to postpone any upcoming trips.

Since January, protests have been prominent in various parts of France. The uprising is a response to the government’s recent pension reform, which will raise the age of full-time pension retirement from 62 to 64. According to CNN, protestors’ frustrations also stem from President Emmanuel Macron making this change by way of constitutional power to push the reform through.

Outrage has culminated in strikes and street protests, some of which have led to clashes with police, car burnings, train cancellations, and an accumulation of trash in the streets of Paris. The law has yet to be implemented, but unions that are behind strikes have made known their intention to continue demonstrations until Macron cancels the reform.

CNN reports that major cities, including Paris, Lyon, and Bordeaux have been primary locations for the protests. Nationwide strikes are slated to be announced by unions days in advance, with one planned for March 28. In recent days, impromptu protests have taken place in city centers. Rural areas, such as the French Riviera, have remained the same as before strikes and protests started to arise.

Despite France’s political and social state, there have been no travel advisories from the US State Department prompting citizens to rethink travel to France. There is a “Level 2: Exercise increased caution” status for the country, which has remained unchanged since October 2022. Protests and strikes have also been isolated, reports the outlet. If travelers remain informed about what’s going on in France prior to their trip and while they’re there, getting caught up in any demonstrations can be avoided.

When it comes to transportation, long-haul flights have been unaffected. A recent strike, however, did lead to reduced capacity at Orly Airport near Paris, but not Charles de Gaulle, which is where most international flights go to. Public transportation in France could be most impacted, though, as the Paris Metro is unlikely to run during strike days and up to 25% of inter-city high-speed trains are usually canceled.

For those concerned about sightseeing, most Museums and attractions remain open, except for on strike days. Be sure to check online ahead of time before solidifying plans to go anywhere. While there aren’t apps or websites that detail protest and strike disruption, here are some other helpful resources for other updates:

  • Paris Metro and regional trains: RATP
  • Intercity trains: SNCF
  • Flights: Air France
  • Traffic and subway schedules: Citymapper app