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