Tips for Visiting Paris during Transportation Strikes

Paris Transportation Strikes

Unfortunately, Paris is sometimes affected by transportation strikes. While there’s nothing you can do to avoid a transportation strike in Paris – sometimes they are announced on short notice – you can learn to deal with them.

This article provides information and our best tips for visiting Paris during a transportation strike. Use these workarounds and strike strategies to deal with the strikes in Paris. Spoiler: flexibility is key.

Paris stations closed

1. Get the Latest News

Strikes Paris

Our posts on upcoming strikes in Paris and France are updated as soon as new information is available. If you are traveling to Paris during transportation strikes, we recommend checking them from time to time and planning your day accordingly:

2. Consider Private Transportation for your Transfers Paris – Airport

With only a few RER trains operating and only for 2-3 hours a day, we recommend considering a private /shared transfer Airport – Paris. Avoid the transportation hassle with a door-to-door service by English-speaking drivers.

My personal recommendation is to pre-book with Welcome Pickups, a reliable and top-rated private transfer service. Your driver will wait for you outside of the arrivals hall with a sign bearing your name, plus a bottle of water and a map of the city. Welcome Pickups has introduced strict safety protocols to protect drivers and guests.

3. Get to Know your Neighborhood

Let us tell you a secret: there’s a lot to see and do in Paris apart from the main sights!

Go out and explore your neighborhood in Paris. Walk the streets around your hotel /apartment to see what the area has to offer: boulangeries, little cafes, hidden alleys, and lesser-known sites… You can start by reading our Paris Arrondissements Quick Guide and our posts by Arrondissement.

You can also ask the hotel staff and other guests, most probably you will get good tips from them.

4. Consider a Day Tour with Hotel Pick up and Drop off

The most popular day tours from Paris are always proposed by all the companies, which means competitive prices and a great service to get better reviews than the competitors. Some tours also come with the hotel pick up /drop off, which is perfect when public transportation in Paris is scarce.

5. Stick to Metro Line 1

Metro of Paris - Line 1
Metro of Paris – Line 1

Line 1 (the yellow line) is an automatic line that runs all day. Line 1 is one of the main metro lines in Paris, crossing the city from east to west. Here’s the list of the most interesting things to see and do at walking distance from line 1:

» Louvre Museum (metro station Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre)

» Saint Germain-l’Auxerrois Church, just in front of the Louvre (metro station Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre)

» Musée des Arts Décoratifs (metro station Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre)

» Seine River boat tours (the Batobus, for example, has a stop near the Louvre)

» Tuileries Christmas Market (seasonal, metro station Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre)

» The Tuileries Garden (metro station Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre)

» Palais Royal and Gardens (metro station Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre)

» Place Vendôme (metro station Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre)

» La Défense Christmas Market (seasonal, metro station La Défense)

» Shopping at Champs Elysées (metro stations Champs Elysées – Clemenceau to Charles de Gaulle – Étoile)

» Exhibitions at Petit Palais and Grand Palais are always excellent (station Champs Elysées – Clemenceau)

» Le Marais (station Saint-Paul or Hôtel de Ville)

» Centre Georges Pompidou (station Hôtel de Ville)

» Château de Vincennes (station Château de Vincennes)

» Bois de Vincennes (station Château de Vincennes)

TIP:  avoid taking the metro line 1, towards La Défense, during peak hours (8 am to 9.30 am) when line 1 gets super crowded /saturated: you definitely don’t need this during your trip to Paris!

6. Join a Marais Guided Walking Tour

Medieval Houses - Le Marais

Explore one of the most beautiful corners of Paris on a guided walking tour by a knowledgeable guide. All the tours below start from places located along line 1

7. Learn about French Wines at Les Caves du Louvre

Wine Tasting in Paris

Built in the 18th century by Trudon, the wine steward of King Louis XV, Les Caves du Louvre is now dedicated to French wine tours. Through a playful and interactive visit with an expert sommelier, discover the vine and enology while stimulating your five senses. The different rooms will make you discover French “terroir”: from vineyards to aromas, flavors, and sounds, until, of course, the final tasting.

Les Caves du Louvre are located near the Louvre Museum, so you can easily reach them with metro line 1.

8. Consider Other Means of Transportation for Exploring Paris

The metro doesn’t work? This is not the end of the world! Of course, there are taxi or Uber options but expect big traffic jams during strike days in Paris.

There are other ways to explore Paris besides walking, especially if the weather is good. Here are our favorites:

Paris by Bike: environmentally friendly, cheap, healthy, and surprisingly convenient for navigating perilously congested city streets, the bike is becoming the preferred mode of transportation in Paris. Check out this Paris by Bike Quick Guide, with all that you need to know if you want to bike in Paris.

Sail the Seine on the Batobus: the Batobus is a boat service along the Seine River. It has nine stops, and you can hop on hop off it as many times as you want during the duration of your ticket. The bonus point is that with the Batobus, you can avoid traffic jams! The Batobus proposes three different passes: 24 hours, 48 hours, and annual past. Holders of the Navigo pass or a student car get discounts on these three passes.

9. Look on the Bright Side…

Big transportation strikes in Paris are a real bummer, but they also have their positive side, like lesser crowds in museums, shops, or restaurants.

This is how one of our readers on France Bucket List lived the first days of the huge Paris transport strike in 2019:

Saying thanks for all your support, advice, and info on the strike. I’d at last found a friend to talk to. Home tomorrow and my train has not been canceled. Yesterday and today were excellent for me. The Boulevard Haussmann and surrounds were peaceful to walk, the museums were quiet, no queues. I’ve spent more time eating locally at night and got to know people instead of rushing down the metro. It’s been different but still superb. 

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Quirky Parisian explorer with a preference for lesser-known sights, I am continuously looking for new ideas and tips to bring you the best of the City of Light! Read more about me.