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France rail strike

The strike dates were released
https://www.thelocal.fr/20180316/french-rail-strikes-here-are-the-37-days-to-avoid-travelling-by-train
and we have a tickets from Brussels to Paris on April 23 Thalys (which is part of SNFC).

I realize they will notify us by 5 pm the night before if our train is affected but I'd like to have some sort of plan B.
Does anyone know what happens to an advance, non refundable ticket if the train does not operate? Any experience to draw from?
Thanks

Posted by
440 posts

Absolute nightmare. The SNCF website will have information about refunds, or using the ticket on a different day. Usually a reduced service is run so you may get lucky. Good luck

Posted by
2916 posts

2 years ago we had an advance purchase non-refundable TGV ticket from Paris to Bordeaux during a strike. Our train was one of the ones cancelled. We were given the option of a refund, or taking any train that was running on that route that day (or maybe the next day also). There were still several trains running, and we wound up taking one just a little bit later. We couldn't get a reserved seat for the replacement run; instead we were told to just take any available seat. There were plenty of seats, so that wasn't a problem.

Posted by
64 posts

Of course the day I have booked a guided tour at Versailles is one of the strike days. Does anyone have suggestions for getting to Versailles during the strike ? We had planned to take the RER from Musee Orsay to Versailles. . Would a taxi or Uber be a better backup plan? Thanks.

Posted by
2576 posts

My response from a similar post:

Brings back bad memories. We took the RS Spain tour a few years ago, but started out with a few days in Paris. Had train tickets to Barcelona then this rolling strike business started. The SNCF site showed the status but it changed every day. We absolutely had to get to Barcelona that day. I purchased refundable airline tickets as a backup, very expensive. With hours to spare we found the train would go. Canceled the plane tickets (Veuling took a very long time to refund my money). Anyway, if your travel plans are not flexible, have a backup plan but be prepared to bleed money. I never did find out what my travel insurance would have covered if we had to fly.

Posted by
276 posts

Stacy the taxi I'd think would be about $100 possibly more. Can you change your tour date? Or get your tour refunded? Car rental for the day?

(My question answered)

Posted by
1425 posts

Car rental in France is not a bad idea at all. Rail strikes derailed a portion of my France itinerary in 2016.

Posted by
335 posts

So of course we are flying in to CDG on June 17 and then going to Paris to take the TGV to Bordeaux. Tickets for this go on sale tomorrow. I am thinking of just go ahead with our plans and hoping by then they have come to some agreement. Any opinions? Thanks

Posted by
8515 posts

Richard—two thoughts. Get your itinerary routed to fly directly to Bordeaux (via Amsterdam to Bordeaux) or sleep in Paris and get your train the next non-strike day. This may be be protracted IMHO. We have tix for 4/4 and will jump on any train going, but we won’t be jetlagged. Doyou want to stand in the aisle for 2 hours after a trans-Atlantic?

Posted by
3191 posts

We are flying from Paris to the US on May 4th. Since RER B north of Gare du Nord is operated by SNCF I'm assuming it won't run on the 4th.

RATP manages 65 RER stations, including all stations on Line A east of Nanterre-Préfecture and those on the branch to Saint-Germain-en-Laye.[3] It also operates stations on Line B South of Gare du Nord.[4] Other stations on the two lines and those on lines C, D and E are operated by SNCF. Of the RER stations operated by RATP, 9 have interchanges with Métro lines, and 9 allow transfer to SNCF's Transilien service.[5]

We may make our way to an airport hotel on the 3rd (another strike day) or taxi on the 4th but I'm not fond of this idea because of increased road traffic on a strike day. Other suggestions? Our flight from CDG leaves at 3:45 PM.

Posted by
400 posts

We got caught in a strike two years ago. Our longest trip on our entire vacation was cancelled from Lucerne to Paris, but they had another one. We lost our seat assignments, my wife sat in one car, I in another. Not ideal, but we got there. Strike was looming the entire two weeks we were in France, and it added some unnecessary stress.

Posted by
2916 posts

we are flying in to CDG on June 17 and then going to Paris to take the TGV to Bordeaux.

Richard, that's exactly what happened to us; see my reply near the beginning of this thread. I think about 2/3 of the TGVs from Paris to Bordeaux were running that day, and the one we took had plenty of seats. Of course, that was late March, while yours is in June, so that might make a difference in crowding.

Posted by
5697 posts

Merde! We only have two SNCF rides in our April-May itinerary but they are BOTH on scheduled strike dates. Luckily, neither will be connecting to a flight. Just adds a little more excitement. ;-)
Edit : going to check what my credit-card travel insurance will cover if we can't get to the next town for that night's reservation, or have to extend the car rental for a day to drive the distance between Avignon and Paris.

Posted by
13026 posts

Quelle horreur...this means on the two days in June I had planned on doing day trips from Paris (to Troyes or Soissons on one day and Beauvais on the other), I'll have to rearrange the trip plans for the affected days. Maybe it will be over with. On verra.

Posted by
335 posts

Well I did get rail tickets to Bordeaux from Paris on June 17. Hoping all will be sorted out by then. Or we will be waiting for a little while. Thinking positive till then. Travel is an adventure.

Posted by
3191 posts

Carol, 75020 says in a different thread:

Sorry, I forget that some RERs are exceptions and are run by the SNCF. Hope that doesn't cause problems.
Confusing, isn't it? If this helps, May as strike plans go is a long way away and lots can happen between April 4th and your need to be at CDG in May. And it would be good to make back up plans featuring other ways to get to CDG although limited service on the RERB will be available.

75020 PM'd me this morning and said that usually 1 in every 3-4 RER trains will run and that a schedule would be posted the night before to tell which trains will run. The strike is to cause disruption and confusion and I guess they have accomplished that!

Posted by
87 posts

Does the "rail" strike affect the OUI Bus system - or is just trains?

Posted by
64 posts

For those of you living in Paris, what has been your experience with these train strikes? Do they usually last as long as planned? Like what is the hope that this could be settled soon?

Posted by
608 posts

I wonder when these strikes happen, do they usually stick to the scheduled days? Right now we have Thalys tickets from Paris to Brussels on the 17th of April, so we should be ok if they don't change the dates. The strikes don't usually affect the metro though? So we should still be able to get from the airport to our hotel on the 14th, I would think.

Posted by
30 posts

I had two separate train tickets for Tuesday April 3rd which is a strike day, and was able to exchange one ticket for a fee to leave the night before instead, which my credit card company is reimbursing me for because it's a union strike, and the other ticket was non-refundable so I had to purchase a totally new one, but again the credit card company is reimbursing me for it! Check with your card companies to see if they have any form of trip insurance that would help with changing tickets - I use Chase Sapphire Reserve!

Posted by
87 posts

Though I would not recommend it for long trips the bus service in France has improved immensely. If you are traveling distances of 2 hours or less you might consider booking the bus as an option on rails strike days.
I am booked on the TGV from Reims to Paris on one of the strike days. As back up I booked a trip on a Eurolines bus,
https://www.eurolines.de/en/home/
both leave from the TGV station - the total cost of the bus was 7E - $11.50 Canadian - so little to lose if the TGV does run.
The FlixBus line is also very good and inexpensive.
https://www.flixbus.com/

Posted by
608 posts

Thanks for your attempts to help, David. It is all very confusing, so I'll continue to watch for info as our trip gets closer!

Posted by
22 posts

I just returned from Paris last week and took the RER B into Paris and transferred at a Metro Station.
I am going back in May. I fly into CDG on May 3.
Are the RER Trains AND Metro effected by the strike? If so, is Uber or Le Bus from CDG a good option?

Also, on May 7th I need to take the Eurostar to London. The calendar shows the 7th will not be part of the strike, but, if that date is included, does it effect the Eurostar?

thanks for any help!

We were planning on going from London to Bruges (transferring in Brussels) in the evening on Monday 5/14 and then going from Bruges to Paris (transferring in Brussels) on Wednesday 5/16. Since we're not going to France, are we ok for that Monday, or will we not be able to get to Bruges because of the strikes happening that day? What about on 5/16? Should we try to avoid using the train altogether? Thanks!

Posted by
11978 posts

Just because they are scheduled doesn't mean they will occur. In this case it's about job for life work rules and I doubt Macron is going to back down, neither will the unions. Never a bad idea to have a backup plan, a plan B on these days is an especially good idea.