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Should I cancel my travel my travel plans to Paris?

Hello all,

A group of my friends and myself are planning to visit Paris from December 30 2018- January 6 2019. Is it safe to visit and should we cancel our trip seeing what's happening?

Thanks!

Posted by
2921 posts

"Is it safe to visit and should we cancel our trip seeing what's happening?" In answer to your compound question in order asked, yes and no.

Posted by
961 posts

I wouldn't hesitate to continue with my plans. After seeing the Saturday closures of metro and some attractions I would be prepared to do something within walking distance of my hotel/apt. on a Saturday, IF the closures were going to affect me. Other than that, stay clear of any area where planned demonstrations are taking place on that particular day. Lucky you to be celebrating in Paris!

Posted by
8293 posts

".... and should we cancel our trip seeing what is happening?" What is happening that frightens you? Things seem to have actually calmed down Can you at this point afford the onerous cancellation charges?

Posted by
334 posts

No I would not cancel. I would sign up for STEP smart traveler enrollment program to get alerts as to what’s happening and information you need while in Europe, step.state.gov. it connects you to the USA consulate. You get emails with specifics if /when the USA consulate in Paris has them; includes where the protests will be while you’re in France. I like the suggestion to do things around your hotel where you’re staying. I know the metro has had an impact with closures throughout various lines.

Posted by
6950 posts

We're going to be in Paris the first week of June, 2019. It's hard work being a demonstrator, and the French are not known for their work ethic. (The government limits work weeks at 32 hours and 5 weeks are mandatory starting the first year of employment,)
I am very optimistic that they'll be through with all the crowds. If things are difficult, I always have a Plan B to visit places outside of any hotspots.
.

Posted by
2921 posts

"and the French are not known for their work ethic." From my experience with the French, I beg to differ. If I would say that if anything is known, it is the tendency of some people to make negative generalizations about the French. By the way, you are missing the "holiday" between "weeks" and "are."

Posted by
198 posts

You should go, but make alternative plans in Paris if the demonstrations are in the area where you're planning to be -- they can be more intense than those in the US. Also, enroll in the STEP program with the State Department.

Consider things like Pere Lachaise, or St Denis, or Montparnasse Cemetery -- or Picpus cemetery. Or Musee Marmottan. Just think of things off the beaten track if the demonstrations persist.

If you want to get out of Paris for a quick trip, consider Reims. There are so many wonderful things to do and see in Paris. You should be able to avoid the demonstrations and have a great time. Bon Voyage!

Posted by
1236 posts

Having met French people I can safely say that have as good a work ethic as Americans, even with a high unemployment rate. I would stilly go to Paris, just note that your plans may change due to strikes or demos.

Posted by
12964 posts

Cancel plans already made to be in Paris this month, I wouldn't even think of it, no reason at all.

Work ethic among the French lacking....another fairy tale. My trip back to France set for May 2019....it's on.

Posted by
5262 posts

There are several recent threads reporting events in Paris, Kim has been very conscientious and helpful. I would certainly go, expecting to be flexible. These demonstrations are against the government, not visitors. People (relatively few of the demonstrators I expect) are trashing property, not other people. I've never bothered to sign up for STEP, believing that the State Dept is overly conservative about cautioning travelers, but I think I would if I were going to France now.

Edit -- Here's Kim's latest post.

Have a wonderful trip!

Posted by
31510 posts

If I were in the same situation, I would not cancel my plans. You'll probably find that you'll have a wonderful time there, although you'll need to be aware of demonstrations that are occurring, and be sure to stay away from them. Your hotel staff should be able to keep you apprised of events every morning.

There was a post on the forum here in the last week or so from a visitor to Paris that was present when some of the worst of the demonstrations were taking place. He kept track of what events were occurring each day, and planned sightseeing activities in other parts of the city. As I recall, he had no problems at all.

Bon Voyage!

Posted by
7688 posts

the French are not known for their work ethic. (The government limits work weeks at 32 hours and 5 weeks are mandatory starting the first year of employment,)

Wow.

In fact, France famously has a 35-hour work week (accuracy is important when casting aspersions), and maintains one of the highest labor productivity rates globally, which suggests to my non -economist mind a substantial work ethic.

If we look for example at the analysis of Thomas Piketty:

http://piketty.blog.lemonde.fr/2017/01/09/of-productivity-in-france-and-in-germany/

as we shall see, the level of productivity of the German and French economies – as measured in terms of GDP per hour worked, which is by far most relevant indicator of economic performance – is almost identical. Furthermore it is at the highest world level, demonstrating incidentally that the European social model has a bright future, despite what the Brexiters and Trumpers of every hue might think.

It should also be noted that no country in the world significantly exceeds the level of labour productivity observed in France, Germany and the United States, or at least no country of comparable size and economic structure. We do find significantly higher levels of GDP per hours worked in small countries based on very specific economic structures, for example oil-producing countries (the Emirates or Norway) or tax havens (Luxembourg) but these are the outcome of very different rationales.

If we calculate the average labour productivity by dividing the GDP (the Gross Domestic Product, that is the total value of goods and services produced in a country in one year) by the total number of hours worked (by both salaried and non-salaried employees), we then find that France is at practically the same level as the United States and Germany, with an average productivity of approximately 55 Euros per hour worked in 2015, or more than 25% higher than the United Kingdom or Italy (roughly 42 Euros) and almost three times higher than in 1970 (less than the equivalent of 20 Euros in 2015; all figures are expressed in purchasing power parity and in 2015 Euros, that is after taking into account inflation and price levels in the different countries).

Apart from slight differences between series, all the sources available – in particular those of the OECD and the BLS – confirm that the number of hours worked is roughly at the same level in France, in Germany and in the United States (with differences between these three countries which are so minimal that it is doubtless impossible to make a distinct separation, given the inaccuracy of this measurement), and that countries like the United Kingdom, Italy or Japan are approximately 20-25% lower.

Posted by
4370 posts

I would not cancel, which is the same advice I gave to a friend that traveled to Paris a few weeks after the night club terrorist attack. I would sign up for the State Depart., STEP program (I always register my travel plans with STEP) and I would have some ideas of alternate places to visit outside Paris, if necessary. I'd probably make a list of cities that would be interesting to visit, noting distance, and train station for departure . I have a friend who unfortunately was in Paris during a time of significant flooding. He is an experienced traveled and he just took trains out of time to places like Chartres. I've never been to the Champagne area of France, but that is close, and parts of Loire, Rouen and Giverny are also close. And also, this same friend, was just in Paris during the demonstrations and he just kept abreast of what was going on and the locations and then stayed away.
I would also like to comment that I'm not sure why the French people are so maligned. I had been told that they are rude, unfriendly and lazy. I have not found that to be the case at all. Yes, they are more reserved, but I have been to France four times and have not come across anyone that wasn't helpful and cordial.

Posted by
12964 posts

On signing up with STEP regarding France...It's your decision. I wouldn't sign up, NOT interested in what the State Dept has to say.

Posted by
159 posts

I think for many of those considering canceling, I would imagine it is their first trip to Paris.

If it’s your first trip to Paris and the Louvre, Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, etc are all closed, it makes sense to not come. You don’t book your once in a lifetime trip to end up doing daytrips to Disney Paris. Now you have rumors that there will be a massive demonstration on NYE.

Posted by
4370 posts

@Fred, I do understand that the State Dept., does have its issues. I will also say that to wake up in Sevilla to find an email from STEP telling me there was an alert in Spain, does give one pause. And then when I read it, it was about some minor issue in Barcelona. VERY far away. Yet, I don't keep abreast when I travel especially when there isn't a news station on the tv in English, so I could imagine that it would be important to receive an alert related to transportation or violence or even just a disruption to a city I'm traveling to. Also, in the case of a major occurrence, I am glad that the State Department would have some idea of the location of U.S. citizens, because I do believe there would be an attempt to locate them. I also don't see the harm in signing up and just basically ignoring most that is emailed.

Posted by
4370 posts

@Kevin, I'm inclined to agree with you to some extent. However, if aspects of the trip can not be cancelled without financial loss, I would go with plans to modify should it become necessary.

Posted by
36 posts

I arrived today, obviously decided not to cancel. It appears that fewer protestors are showing up, and more law enforcement are. At CDG, when I purchased my Museum Passes, the gracious mademoiselle pointed out what metro stations were closed, so I could plan my day accordingly. A great help! Contrary to Kevin’s post above, the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower were NOT closed. Paris is HUGE, there is so much to do and see. I’m likely to avoid the large Christmas markets in lieu of the smaller ones, but would probably do that anyway just because I prefer smaller venues anyway. Since I’m viewing this as a once in a lifetime trip, I’m being stoic about it. I got my affairs in order before I left, (even down to who would foster my dog if I didn’t return! ). We can’t let terrorism keep us from enjoying our lives, but I don’t court unnecessary danger either.

Posted by
159 posts

@jules that’s where I’m at.

This is my first time. We have until this week to Cancel our AIRBNB without penalty. We’re stilly flying into Paris, but if our entire itinerary is shot, well London is only 2:30 by train.

Paris isn’t going anywhere. It’s just a matter of why you’re going. If you’re going for a once in a lifetime trip where you see the major 8-10 sites, yet none of them are open, I could see why this is a bigger problem for tourists than the locals or return visitors.

Posted by
2927 posts

"and the French are not known for their work ethic."

Thank you Kim for your well presented rebuttal. I'm so sick of generalizations in our culture, and I, too, feel that quote is entirely off base.

I would certainly not cancel my trip to Paris, but I have been before and I am fairly well traveled. Paris is so much more than 'sites'. I'm also used to cities and I am easily entertained by studying architecture and watching people. However, every individual has to decide this for themselves, perhaps after taking a forum survey such as this. I'm also likely older than the poster and have lived quite a bit of life already. If I had a baby at home, I likely would not leave the baby behind or I'd cancel my trip. It's all about weighing one's life, etc. IMO YMMV

Posted by
12964 posts

Going to Disney Paris...I had that chance once. In 2001 the Mrs and a friend decided to take the friend's kids to Disney Paris, all together five went, (two adults, two little boys and their big sister). I told her I wasn't interested in going, basically spending my day doing that activity, not interested, from which they didn't get back home to Paris until after midnight.

So, we split up for the day, they went off on their way, I went my way, ie, did a day trip to Caen to see the Peace Museum.

In light of the announced closed sights in Paris, my trip to Paris would still be on if that had been planned for the end of this month. Therefore, no cancelling of the flight or hotel reservations.

If these hotel reservations were in Germany, one cannot cancel hotel reservations unilaterally.

Posted by
181 posts

Friends who own an apartment on the ile de la Cite just returned from Paris last week. They said it is very difficult to get around during these demonstrations. Taxis are either non existent or impossible to get. In their view you need to be staying within walking distance of places you want to go. Also some places may not be open. In their view this will likely die down in a few weeks but for now it's not good.

Posted by
1240 posts

"Is it safe to visit and should we cancel our trip seeing what's happening?"

Yes, cancel them.

Posted by
12964 posts

@ jules...Thanks for your explanation. I also look at newspaper headlines in the train stations, in German, English, and French, if I can make it out, which unfortunately isn't always the case.

Posted by
308 posts

My sister and I encountered a riot in Budapest in 2006. It was an amazing chance to connect with the locals and learn more about the country than we otherwise would have. Instead of taking the public transportation we had originally planned on, a local gave us walking directions and helpful tips for avoiding other possible riot areas. It was barely an inconvenience.

If it were my trip to Paris, I would not cancel it.

Posted by
11975 posts

I'm somewhat contrarian when it comes to travel. The best time to go places IMO is when others are canceling their trips. Crowds shrink and prices drop, especially for airfare and lodging. This protest seems more widespread than anything I've experienced but there is no violence directed toward foreign travelers. I've been getting a lot of flight and lodging price alerts for Paris.

Posted by
1261 posts

If you cancel Paris, where will you go instead? There were violent demonstrations in Brussels this weekend about immigration and fairly peaceful (until the police tear gas), demonstrations in Budapest about the government's new "slave laws". There will be peaceful (unless the police get involved again), protests in north Spain later this week over who knows what.

Demos happen, it's a sign of freedom, just avoid getting involved in the more feisty ones.

Posted by
159 posts

The Barcelona protests are always fun ones. They protest a bit. March a bit. Chant a bit.

Then they go have salami and red wine together.

Posted by
12964 posts

"...to help themselves feel better." Why would they want to do that in the first place?

Posted by
1118 posts

This East Bay guy is with Fred. My May/June 2019 trip is on! Dealt with pilot, air traffic controller & train strikes in the last 4 years, doesn't stop me from visiting.
Enjoy your trip.

Posted by
12964 posts

@ brushtim....how bad was the air in Vacaville during that horrific Paradise fire? I've never been so thankful that rains came two days before Thanksgiving.

Posted by
2 posts

I have been keeping an eye on this thread, thanks for all the great replies. we are traveling to Europe in March and have our first week in Paris before heading to Spain. I've been to Paris a number of times, but this will be my first trip with my husband. He is NOT much of a traveler, so I am hoping things mellow out so he is not too nervous. I'm not worried, it sounds like being aware and able to adjust is the main thing here. I did join the STEP program and that will help keep me informed. I must say, just to get it out there, that I have always found Parisians to be perfectly wonderful human beings. As long as I don't ever (and I would not) act like an entitled American, try the language, I am always treated with kindness. Anyway right now, it's more of an embarrassment to have the US Passport. My values do not align at the moment. I have marched in the Women's March and I am sympathetic to the demonstrators, I just am hoping for no violence. But again, thank you all for the tips!

Posted by
2 posts

"As a seasoned traveler from the big city I would not cancel and would have travel insurance." - better check your travel policy. Mine with Allianz specifically excludes "civil unrest" so I can't cancel my trip for this even if I wanted to (I don't).