French Rail Strikes To Cause Travel Chaos For Next 3 Months

If you’re traveling to France before July, beware that major transportation disruptions are planned beginning April 2 through the end of June. Thousands of tourists, most French will face a travel nightmare trying to get home from their Easter holiday as the first strike dates occur.

Strikes are scheduled for 2 days out of every 5 until June 28, unless the French government drops its plan to adopt a reduced benefit package for new SNCF hires, as well as the special employment status granted to rail workers.  These are the specific dates in April where there is a good chance of travel disruption:

April 3 and 4, April 9 and 13, April 18 and 19 and April 23 and 24.  It is expected that only 12% of TGV trains and 20% of regional trains will run.  Timetables indicating which trains will run will be posted on the SNCF website each day at 17:00.  SNCF will not be selling tickets for any of the strike dates in April, so if you’re trying to purchase tickets online for any of the above dates, it won’t be possible.

If the strike is not settled by May, here are the planned strike dates for May and June:

May 3 and 4, May 8 and 9, May 13 and 14, May 18 and 19, May 23 and 24, May 28 and 29, June 2 and 3, June 7 and 8, June 12 and 13, June 17 and 18, June 23 and 24 and June 27 and 28.

Air France workers, including air traffic controllers, pilots and crew are on strike too and are expected to cause flight disruptions through the month also.  British Air, EasyJet and Ryan Air flights into France have also been reduced due to limits set by French authorities during the strike.

If your train was cancelled, here is a SNCF website that has been set up to help process refunds/rebook reservations:  https://en.oui.sncf/en/help-en/disruption-information-latest-update-exchanges-and-refunds.

Nothing can ruin a great vacation more than being stranded at a rail station with a cancelled train. If you’re traveling to France in the next 3 months and are planning to travel by train, check to make sure your dates are not strike dates.  If they are, make sure you have alternate plans.

Watch for updates on the strike on my Facebook and Twitter page.

Posted by Maggie LaCoste

I love the adventure and unpredictability of experiencing France by bike. Cycling in France is the ultimate slow travel adventure, an opportunity to see it through the back door in a way few tourists experience. One week on a bike in France and life takes on a different meaning! I created Experience France By Bike to inspire recreational cyclists to visit France the slow way....by bike, and to be the best source of information for planning the perfect bicycling adventure. I encourage readers to embrace the uncertainty of the road ahead and to take the path less traveled, exploring roads, towns and villages that you would never experience traveling by car.