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What you need to know if you will be in France on April-June 2018

Spring is here and Summer is coming (unfortunately for GoT fans Winter won’t be until 2019) and if France is your destination you should be aware that their entire rail network is on a strike. And it’s the longest one yet.

Who’s on a strike?

The SNCF, or Société nationale des chemins de fer française, is France’s national state-owned railway company. This is basically the train you will take if you’re planning to transfer from one French city to another.

When are they on a strike?

They have announced 36 days of strikes spread throughout April to June 2018 (longer than the 22-day strike in 1995). At the bottom of the image you can also see the cities affected during these days:

image from linternaute.com

 

Why you should be concerned?

Though they will still operate some trains, it’s so few (ie 1 for every 5 or 7 on average) that you’ll run the risk of waiting too long due to delays or battling for a seat (or even just to get inside the train). And if you are in France on a vacation, you probably have your itineraries planned out. The last thing you would want is to miss out on that wine tasting workshop in Bordeaux or that sunset on the Côte d’Azur.

Note that the Paris metro is not affected by this strike. Although the RER lines are (these are the trains you take to get outside of Paris, to Versailles or Disneyland for example).

 

What can you do?

  1. Try to avoid using the national rail as much as possible on the days above!
  2. But if you have already bought a ticket on those days, the SNCF offers to reimburse them if you chose to. You can go to the website you bought the ticket from for more information.
  3. Ride a bus. The SNCF also operate a national bus network called OuiBus
  4. Rent a car. Make sure you have an international license though. There are bound to be car rental in each city but SNCF also offers a 10% reduction if you rent their OuiCar during a strike.
  5. Share a car with others. Use apps such as BlaBlaCar. Someone sure is bound to go to another city and if you’re travelling alone or by two then you can share a ride with someone. Better if it’s a local, you might even learn French on the way!
  6. Download the mobile app of SNCF, like that you’re always informed and alerted for any delays or perturbations. There is also the Citymapper app I prefer when I’m inside Paris.

 

These strikes shouldn’t stop you from visiting France altogether. Despite the hassle you may have with the transport, you will always be assured that an amazing experience and view awaits you on the other side. Bon voyage!

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