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May 1 Metro in Paris

Monday, May 1, 2017 is Labor Day and I've heard the metro is "limited service" but I can't get a handle on just what limited means. We will be returning a rental car (yes car rental is closed but we have a office with drop box and parking) in the 3rd and will need to get to the Eiffel tower area with bags (2 carry on) on the metro. Thanks

Posted by
8244 posts

The Paris trains run every day including major holidays like Christmas and New Years Day and May 1; they run a little less frequently but this has no practical import. You maybe wait 10 minutes instead of 3; don't worry about it.

On my first trip to Europe with my husband over 30 years ago we landed in Venice on May 1 being totally unaware that May 1 was a big deal holiday in Europe. The boats were not running and we had to walk from the train station over canals and bridges lugging our much to big and not wheeled luggage over a mile to our hotel.

In England, on Dec 25 and 26 everything shuts down; we had to drive from London to Ipswich on Christmas day and had arranged a rental car; the in town agency had no cars because people gaming the system had just refused to return them on time and so we had to go out to Heathrow to get a car (that we had reserved well in advance from the agency) I suppose people coming in late to Heathrow didn't get their car because of the carload of renters the agency hauled out to Heathrow to get cars.

Paris is not like that -- you won't have any trouble using public transport on a holiday.

Posted by
9902 posts

Just another voice of reassurance, Renee -- what Janet says is correct!

Posted by
1138 posts

Another vote of confidence- I was there May 1, 2013 and had no issues with public transport. In fact, will be there again on May 1st this year so maybe we'll run into each other holding our RS books! With 2 suitcases, even carry on, I recommend you just take a cab. It will be roughly around 10-15 euro.

Posted by
2466 posts

May 1 is a popular day for protest marches.
On public holidays, all transportation runs on the "Sunday schedule", which means that you will wait an additional 5 to 15 minutes for the next Metro.

Depending on which Metro station you will need, you might find it closed for security reasons.

You'll have to wait until April 30 or the morning of May 1 to find out if you might have to get off at another station.
Real-time updates can be found on this website:

Just FYI - buses might have their routes cancelled or re-routed until any protest marches have ended. You can use the same website to check for this, too.

Posted by
10369 posts

Why don't you unload your stuff at the hotel first and then return the car? Driving in Paris on the 1st isn't too bad except you can't drive the Champs Elysee. Also depending on who the presidential candidates are, there may be a protest march. Those are usually between Bastille and Republique or Nation.

Posted by
5262 posts


Just a thought that has nothing to do with your question...

Regarding your comment:

We will be returning a rental car (yes car rental is closed but we have a office with drop box and parking)

I don't know about you, but I'd feel more comfortable returning the car when the agency office is open and an attendant looks over the car and gives me a receipt.

You may consider arriving to Paris a day earlier.

Have a wonderful trip!

P.S. Don't forget to book you tickets to the Eiffel Tower in advance (92 days in advance to get desired time slot)

Posted by
8244 posts

I agree that you are much safer returning a rental car when the agency is open. You do want a receipt that the car is gassed and undamaged. If you can't do that, be sure to retain your gas up receipt dated within half an hour of the return and photograph the car (although it is not clear that the agency would accept that evidence) Also be sure to meticulously document EVERY scratch no matter how tiny when you pick up the car and keep that documentation. Rental agencies are often very quick to cheat you on 'damage' that they waive off as 'nothing' when you pick up and then charge when you return.

Posted by
2466 posts

Also be careful that you aren't "flashed" for speeding. You'll have to deal with paying a ticket.

Posted by
531 posts

Thanks everyone. I changed the rental car location to Montparnasse rail station which is open. Even thought the rate has gone up ($36) I figure its worth it for the peace of mind.