Traveling to Paris: What You Need to Know

Traveling to Paris what you need to know

Traveling to Paris During Strikes and Protests

I recently returned from 8 days in Paris in early April. There have been many questions from readers in my inbox and DMs on Instagram, and I thought it was best to answer all your questions in this post. To keep my sanity and to answer everyone’s questions simultaneously and in one place. There are many of you and only one of me, so this seems the most efficient way.

Many of you have concerns about the protests and strikes happening in Paris. I am going to share my honest observations so you can make the best decision that is right for you in terms of your trip.

I moved around quite a bit during my trip from the 8th arrondissement through the Tuileries, Louvre, and Left Bank for the first couple of days. We walked through the 9th, up to Montmartre, and back to the 8th. The middle of my trip was on the Left Bank close to Pont Alexandre III and St Germain des Près, and Odeon. I finished the trip close to the Champs Élysées. If you are curious why I moved around a lot, it’s because I was trying out various hotels for blog reviews, and since Paris is big and there are a lot of new openings, I needed to jump around a bit.

I was all over Paris on foot, so I can tell you what I observed and heard in conversations. If you talk to any Parisians or Americans living in Paris, they will say that protests are part of living in France.

What is it like in Paris Right Now?

Tourism is booming in Paris. The streets are packed with tourists and locals enjoying restaurants and outdoor terraces. From conservations I have had with hotels, Americans are canceling their reservations. After 25 Paris trips under my belt, the city felt the same energy it has always felt, even a level up in tourism. Spring is in full bloom, and everyone is out and about. There are tourists from other European countries and still lots of Americans filling the streets.

What Spots to Avoid in Paris

For protests, there are some key spots to avoid in Paris. Place de la République, Place de la Concorde, and Place de la Bastlle is where a lot of the demonstrations happen in Paris and is easy to navigate around. This is not the center of Paris where you will see a lot of the national monuments and Paris landmarks. The Eiffel Tower and Louvre are subject to being closed so make sure to check if you have plans to visit here in advance.

Are there airport delays in Paris?

The airports are backed up due to expected high traffic and increased travel. I flew United, and the international flights seem to be coming out of Terminal 1, which has just been refurbished. From what my driver told me, the wait time, from getting off the plane to exiting baggage claim and customs, averages an hour. It took me just a carry-on of about 15 minutes. My driver was so surprised he was not expecting me, and I had time to grab a coffee.

What is the trash situation like? Is it that bad?

The media does an excellent job of highlighting the good and the bad to make a story. I was in Paris from April 7 -15 and didn’t see much trash besides regular trash cans. On our walks, we noticed close to The Tuileries that many of the trash cans had melted tops from the fires. So there was evidence of the trash burning. We didn’t see any actual protests or fires.

We did run into trash collectors numerous times doing their jobs and collecting trash as expected. There were reports of another trash strike, but I didn’t see anything in the surrounding areas where I was staying.

What should I know about strikes?

Paris gave me a strike for my birthday, and I completely forgot about it. I barely even noticed as I moved around the city via foot and taxi on the day of my birthday. There was an increased police presence throughout the city at different times of the trip. This wasn’t out of the ordinary, just something I noticed.

Will there be trouble in the summer? I have a trip booked.

I don’t know any news as of this point. It is too early to tell. Continue to check back if anything changes.

Are the monuments closed?

Everything was open during my trip from what I am aware of. Check in advance with your hotel or the website of where you are visiting to be sure if you have any hesitation.

Download these apps for updates on transportation.

These apps are great for tracking transportation in the city. I highly recommend booking a car in advance for transport to and from the airport. Welcome Pickups has been highly reliable and easy to use.



What is the best way to get around Paris right now?

I highly recommend navigating the city on foot, or you can book a Taxi, G7, or Uber. Many of my meetings had me crossing town at all hours, and it was easiest to do via Uber. Using the app the same way you use it at home was no problem. Just make sure to have an active account and payment method saved.

You have to make the best decision for you to cancel your trip or postpone it. I kept my trip on and made sure to have trip insurance.

Pro tip: due to the increase in travel in Paris and complications with strikes and delays, it is best to have extra patience. The hotel staff, tour guides, and Uber/taxi drivers are trying to navigate this season of protests. Tip well and be grateful; it will be well received.

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  1. I have been in Paris since April 12 & will be here until early May. We visit France often & stay for an average of 3 months, always starting or ending in Paris. The protests are indeed a way of life in this country &, like in the U.S., peaceful attempts at protest are often usurped by others looking for excuses to incite violence. We have not seen anything that would even hint at life being different here this month. The weather has been wetter & colder than is typical, so come prepared for that!

  2. Thanks for this thoughtful post on Paris ‘during protests and strikes.’ Very helpful and sensible. Years ago when we were staying in a hotel in Bourges there was a strike during the night on the agricultural department. It was apparently quite loud and noisy, and an unfortunate cow was barbecued in the street to make a point. We slept through the whole thing. Strikes and protests really are a part of life in France. Thanks for all the information you share with all your followers!

  3. A timely and reassuring read. Our flight is this coming Saturday and I am sooo excited. Hopefully we will still see Paris in bloom. 🌸Hoping for the best the weather changes so we will have a lot of time to walk.

    One thing I know is, do not cancel Paris. We waited and planned for this vacation since last year.

    Thanks Rebecca and Take care.

  4. Thank you soo much for sharing this. I feel like I have pretty real expectations and know that Paris is a city where people work, live, and protest. I’ll be there for the first time next week! Your tips and advice have been really helpful in planning. Now I know to pack some extra patience and I’ll be fine. 🙂

  5. Great advice! I agree that Paris can be enjoyed with minimal disruption from strikes. We were there between March 15-22, in the middle of Macron’s executive decision and the early protests, and our only concern was being our late at night. We did not go see the Eiffel Tower sparkle as there had been some combative protests the night before, but instead bought macarons and watched the first sparkle along the River on the Right Bank. We also made sure we got an uber home from later dinners. It seemed that the tear-gas and bin fires all happened closer to midnight.

    • Hi Ann,

      Thank you so much for your feedback. I know this is a hot topic, and it’s great to hear from another traveler at a similar time. Great call on watching the Eiffel Tower sparkle from the Seine and taking an uber home late at night.