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French strikes? Tell us about 1st person experiences, please!

French strikes? Tell us about 1st person experiences, please!

Aug 31st, 2000, 07:59 PM
  #1  
arjay
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French strikes? Tell us about 1st person experiences, please!

Are flights missed? Stranded w/o hotel rooms? What do you do? This seems to be a fairly frequent phenomenon in France...what are you insider tips (gained from reluctant lst person-experience?)
 
Aug 31st, 2000, 09:25 PM
  #2  
Donna
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Strikes are a national pasttime in France, it would seem, much as litigation is here. Blessedly, we have never once experienced a single strike in our travels to France (of course, we wouldn't think of flying Air France). I'm not aware of any strikes which would affect your hotel reservations. But, some hotels are known to overbook or cancel reservations at the last minute to accomodate a group or folks wishing to stay longer. Thankfully, strikes in France are usually announced in advance and short lived. Even so, it behooves any traveler to plan for contingencies. What would you do in the event of a transit strike? AOL members have a huge advantage in that there are a dozen or more folks who live in France who frequent the message boards and alert everyone regarding impending strikes and the latest news for the duration.
 
Aug 31st, 2000, 09:37 PM
  #3  
Al
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We were caught in a railway strike in France a few years ago. I had paid for our tickets in advance. The snotty clerk would not refund my money because of the strike. I stood my ground at his wicket, saying slowly and distinctly that I wanted my money back if they were not going to provide transportation. He shrugged his shoulders. I raised my voice a pitch. He shrugged again. I raised my voice again. Still, the shrug. I started to shout as loud as I could. People stared. A policeman approached. He rolled his eyes and gave me my money back with a sneer. It was a game he was playing and I knew it. Don't be Mr. Nice Guy, play hardball, insist on your rights and let them know you know what they are up to. And never lose eye contact. Never.
 
Aug 31st, 2000, 11:50 PM
  #4  
Florence
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Yes, strikes are a national pastime here !
Rule 1: they will invariably fall on the first day of a public holiday, preferably a short one so a maximum of people will be annoyed. Be prepared to experience strikes for Easter, Pentecôte, fist weekend of summer, etc.

Rule 2: they do it to annoy the French but aggravating foreign travellers gives them extra points.

Rule 3: follow Al's recipe: don't be nice, fight for your rights, raise your voice, keep eyes contact at all time, bring a whip and a four-legged chair !
 
Sep 1st, 2000, 02:43 AM
  #5  
francesca
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The worst was the subway strike in 1996 (or 1995?) which lasted about 6 weeks during Christmas. The weather was unusually cold. People hitchhiked, all kinds of people. People who lived in the 'burbs actually found a hotel room in town for the duration of the strike so they could walk to work. However, the strike did create a warm and fuzzy contact between drivers, all stuck together in endless traffic jams. Comiseration does that;people give eachother wry grins through their car windows. As for how to do your Christmas shopping with no transport: I walked 5 miles and back to the Samaritaine, with my packages. You make do. These strikes do a lot to foster bitterness towards govt. employees and disgust towards other govt. agencies, such as the post office and various administrative entities. The worst is that the metro drivers then expected to be paid for their "missed time". I found it interesting that the French, normally the world's biggest complainers say NOTHING about these strikes, they just shut up and suffer.
 
Sep 1st, 2000, 02:43 AM
  #6  
francesca
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The worst was the subway strike in 1996 (or 1995?) which lasted about 6 weeks during Christmas. The weather was unusually cold. People hitchhiked, all kinds of people. People who lived in the 'burbs actually found a hotel room in town for the duration of the strike so they could walk to work. However, the strike did create a warm and fuzzy contact between drivers, all stuck together in endless traffic jams. Comiseration does that;people give eachother wry grins through their car windows. As for how to do your Christmas shopping with no transport: I walked 5 miles and back to the Samaritaine, with my packages. You make do. These strikes do a lot to foster bitterness towards govt. employees and disgust towards other govt. agencies, such as the post office and various administrative entities. The worst is that the metro drivers then expected to be paid for their "missed time". I found it interesting that the French, normally the world's biggest complainers say NOTHING about these strikes, they just shut up and suffer.
 
Sep 1st, 2000, 03:24 AM
  #7  
Francophobe
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Spend your hard earned money somewhere else...
 
Sep 1st, 2000, 05:29 AM
  #8  
Florence
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We shut up, waiting until we get our revenge when our union decides it's our turn to go on strike ...
Besides, a strike is a good excuse to be late to work.

And then we go spend our easily earned money in the US

 
Sep 1st, 2000, 06:14 AM
  #9  
Patrick
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A couple of years ago we were finishing our summer in Europe by taking a train from Milan to Paris, where we were spending our final night before flying back the the US. When we got to the Milan train station, we discovered that there was a one day French rail strike, so the train would only run to the border and stop. We couldn't find any way to get to Paris, so ended up taking a taxi to the Milan airport and getting 2 last minute tickets to Paris, about $400 each. An expensive day!!! The only advantage was we got to Paris before noon, in time for an extra lunch instead of the 5 PM arrival planned on the train.
 
Sep 7th, 2000, 04:12 PM
  #10  
Tom
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How has the recent petrol - farmer "strike?" affected you. What about being stuck in the Chunnel train?
 
Sep 8th, 2000, 02:05 AM
  #11  
frank
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There are currently many tourists stuck on roads blockaded by French fuel protesters.Yesterday there were reports of near violence as the French police allowed local traffic through while keeping other (mainly toursist) traffic static, so dont expect any concessions for being a visitor - rather the reverse.
Before anyone starts getting racist, the current French action is being led by a Scot!
 
Sep 8th, 2000, 06:03 AM
  #12  
Jen
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I have a good one - it was our honeymoon and we landed in Paris on time early in the morning. Unfortunately, the baggage handlers were on strike so our luggage couldn't be removed from the plane! 3 hours later, a large pickup/van truck pulled up to the parking area outside the terminal heaped with luggage. We went outside and our husbands (we had met quite a few people by this time) dove into the fray to retrieve our bags - which were thankfully there. So much for customs!

It was actually a lovely thing that occurred because we met some from people who were Paris junkies and had dinner and drinks with them while there.
 
Sep 8th, 2000, 10:20 AM
  #13  
Terry
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We arrived in Paris last summer to a baggage handler's strike at Charles DeGaulle. We waited an hour and a half for the luggage. Then, there was a Metro worker's strike for two days. After lunch at Jules Verne Restaurant at the Eiffel Tower, we had to walk back to our hotel in the Marais. There were no cabs or buses running. Also, there was a museum worker's strike all week while we were there. We never did get to see the Louvre or the Orsay. Even with a few blisters on our feet, it was our best trip ever. You just go with the flow and try to stay as flexible as possible.
 
Sep 8th, 2000, 11:18 AM
  #14  
aj
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We were in Paris June 1999. It was our first trip filled with excitement. When we arrived museums were closed due to strikes, by the third day there had been an incident on the subway and all the metro shut down and the buses! Not a free taxi to be found!!! I was so very upset but we decided to WALK and what a wonderful day. We saw so many unplanned things and by the end of the work day all of Paris was walking. We had more fun than we would have had on the Metro. I guess the point to this story is to take things as they come and don't let them ruin your "plans". We plan to return to Paris May 2001 and will know to expect some "strike".
 
Sep 8th, 2000, 03:28 PM
  #15  
betsy
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Donna, do you mind if I ask why you make it a point to not use Air France?

I was in Paris last year during June, when I was hit with a double whammy. The museums were on strike, and for 2 or 3 days, so were the metros and taxis. I know Paris is a walking city, but walking from Ile St. Louis to the area around Les Invalides ruined my legs and feet for the whole trip (someone told me it was 30 min; over the cobblestones, it was more like over an hour). I had a great time in Paris anyway because it is so beautiful, and there are many other things to do besides museums, but....the transit strike did effect my ability to get around. Basically, I had to either grit my teeth in pain and walk, or stay close to my hotel....I did the former as much as I could.

I am leaving for Paris on the evening of the 15th...I pray that this fuel strike does not hit Paris hard.

betsy
 
Sep 8th, 2000, 03:55 PM
  #16  
judy
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Hi all, this strike thing is reaallly worrisome! What a mess! I read these threads and it sounds as if it is a war zone over there!!! I feel bad for all those affected: truckers, farmers, etc. We fly into Paris Wed. nite and then proceed to Rome....dicey at best! We go Air France, (Donna?) Have had no problems before, did you have a bad experience?????I wish there were a "plan B" for me, Oh well,,,,,Here we go.....Judy
 
Sep 8th, 2000, 03:59 PM
  #17  
Rachel
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I, too, would be interested in why Air France is more of a problem.

Betsy, I am leaving for Paris (from LA) on the 15th also. If you are on Air France, we may even be on the same flight. What a small world!
 
Sep 9th, 2000, 06:07 AM
  #18  
topper
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TTT>>>>>>>>TTT
 
Sep 9th, 2000, 06:16 AM
  #19  
betsy
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Hi Rachel......

that would be odd if we were on the same flight, but unfortunately, I am leaving from NY...however, maybe we will run into each other on the streets of Paris. I am staying at the Hotel Des Deux Iles on Ile St. Louis; where are you staying?

I am very glad to be flying Air France. Last year I booked AF, but I got Delta (which is a partner of AF), and a tiny plane with no room. This year, I made sure I got AF....and a 747 no less (that was just luck!).

betsy
 

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