Is Paris Safe to Travel to? Updates from our Local Team

View of the Eiffel Tower

Our local team shares first-hand insights, tips, and resources to help you plan your summer travel to the marvelous city. Learn what happens if your confirmed Context tour is impacted by a local strike and what safety measures you can take as a traveler.

Given the ever-changing nature of events on the ground, you can view on-the-ground tour status updates for any tour Context operates that is affected by delays. To see upcoming strike dates in Paris specifically, we suggest keeping an eye on the local site C’est la Greve.

Paris, the city of love and light, is a dream destination for many travelers. With its iconic landmarks, rich history, and delicious cuisine, it attracts millions of guests every year. However, as a civically active city and culture, travel can sometimes be impacted by political activities – including the current pension strikes which started in April.

To help you plan your summer travel to this marvelous city, we’ve gathered first-hand insights, tips, and resources from our local team living and working in Paris, and several Context team members recently traveling to Paris.

Updates from Context's Local Team

To gain more insight into the effects of the pension strikes on the ground in Paris this summer, we spoke with members of our local team.

Context's CEO, June, was traveling through Paris with her parents in March. She let us know that while there were a few street closures that impacted their plans, finding an alternative route was always easy to do. The demonstrations that they observed from a distance throughout their stay always appeared peaceful and civil. 

Our Travel Portfolio Director, Sara – an American ex-pat living in Paris with a young child  – noted that she hadn't been impacted by the strikes in her daily life. She advises avoiding areas where there are planned protests, such as Place de la République, a common public space for protests, and that the metro might be crowded or operating at reduced service on strike days.

She also mentioned that strikers are usually ordinary, hard-working citizens – teachers and government workers – and that demonstrations and strikes are a very regular occurrence, happening every year in France. Strikes must be submitted and approved ahead of time, so any strike dates are available well in advance through the local website C’est la Greve.

Koichi, our Engineering Director, who was traveling on business in March, mentioned that the media often exaggerates the situation on the ground and stories about danger and violence may not reflect the reality on the ground.

“For the most part, things felt normal and striking workers you may encounter while en route were pleasant,” Koichi shared, “They are aiming for improvements to normal, reasonable causes – such as their pension plans."

Our company’s Expert Community Director, Petulia, also traveled to Paris on business in March. She noted that while the metros are slightly more crowded than usual, the workers on strike are often in good spirits.

She shared that in Europe, strikes are a normal part of civilian life and doing business. They are generally conducted in a dignified, safe, and organized manner. Since it is illegal for private citizens to carry any weapons in a public place, large crowds and protests like these are considerably less dangerous.

Across the board, our team members who live and have recently visited Paris advised buffering your schedule for potential transportation delays, as roads may be blocked, and taxis may be limited. Visitors should also be aware of potential delays and reduced capacity on trains during strikes.

And after twenty years of operating walking tours around the globe, we would be remiss if we didn’t take this opportunity to mention that seeing a new city on foot is always a terrific option.

What Happens if Your Confirmed Context Tour is Impacted by a Local Strike?

At Context, we prioritize the safety and enjoyment of our clients and experts, which is why we make every effort to alert both parties ahead of time when we learn of a potential strike that could impact your experience.

If your tour is impacted by striking, a Context team member will contact you directly to provide solutions and alternatives.

Venues may be closed during strike days out of solidarity with striking workers. These decisions are often made on the day of the closure so, unfortunately, there are instances when our teams on the ground learn of the strike that morning.

In the event of a strike causing a venue closure, our experts are prepared to pivot to a neighborhood tour or other walk that does not require pre-purchasing tickets. We strive to offer you an alternative experience that still showcases the unique charm and history of Paris.

If there’s one thing our team has proven during the last three years of operating during a global pandemic, it’s that we are committed to providing exceptional experiences for our clients, even in the face of unexpected events.

Suggested Safety Measures for Travelers

Generally speaking, it is best to always be aware of your surroundings, avoid picket lines and demonstrations, and secure your valuables.

Strikes that lead into the evening hours often dissolve into a crowded gathering that has deviated from the stated purpose of the strike. Teenagers and other folks who are unaffiliated with the striking party may attend in order to sow disruption.

Specific safety measures for tourists in Paris include using secure transportation, such as taxis or official ride-share services, and avoiding unlicensed taxis. You should be prepared to walk if roads in the city center have been closed.

Throughout French History, citizens have flooded to the Place de la République to air grievances and participate in democratic processes. When a strike has been announced, we generally advise travelers to avoid the area. While events are generally peaceful, they can be noisy and overcrowded.

Key Takeaways

At Context, we are committed to providing safe and informative travel experiences. Our team of experts can help travelers navigate Paris and provide context to the city's rich history and culture. Our tours are led by experienced guides who are passionate about sharing their love for Paris with travelers from all over the globe.

Connecting with your expert’s perspective on life in Paris is another way to enrich your travels and learn more directly about what’s happening on the ground. And as a general rule of thumb, by being vigilant and trusting your instincts all Context Travelers can minimize their risk. We encourage travelers to stay informed, plan their routes in advance, and take necessary precautions during their trips.

We also offer virtual tours and learning experiences through Context Learning and On-Demand for France. So, if you're planning a trip to Paris or want to explore the city virtually, we're here to help.

To learn more about our Paris tours and experiences, visit our website or check out our Context Stories for more information.