Strikes are pretty common in France. They say getting through a semester abroad in France without experiencing the effects of a strike is rare. I lucked out when I did my exchange, but the country made up for it tenfold in the second semester (when I was travelling around Europe) with students going on strike for months. All of my friends still studying in Rennes were SOL when it came to getting any credit in that second semester.

With that in mind, I’m not all that surprised that I’m experiencing the effects of a French strike. I was lucky enough to hear about it on Monday & then was able to get enough information about it to not be surprised that I wouldn’t be able to take the metro home from work tonight. I didn’t actually see any of the protests in the centre, but I did enjoy an overly crowded metro ride to work. I had mentally prepared myself to either walk home or grab a velo’v from the suburbs where I work, but I lucked out & found a ride home with a co-worker.

Gare de Lyon Part Dieu-TGV & TER circulation was severely reduced.

“Public transport was snarled in many cities, scores of flights were cancelled, and schools, banks, hospitals, the post office, law courts and state broadcasters were also expected to be hit by the protest.
The strike aims to highlight fears of growing unemployment, discontent over Mr. Sarkozy’s reluctance to help consumers and resentment towards bankers blamed for the economic slump.” (Globe and Mail)

Today was named Black Thursday (or Jeudi Noir) and is supposed to kick off one of the worst years of striking since 1995. Lucky me, right? I also learned that 70% of the population supports the strike. Even people severely inconvenienced by it admitted to supporting it & were even talking about joining the protest on their lunch breaks. I know that strikes happen often in France, but this still fascinates me…To have so many people support this is something that I can’t imagine ever happening in Canada. I mean, this strike was predicted to paralyse the country (it didn’t, btw) & still the majority supported it.

Some of the things we were expected to face today (aside from the Manif at 10h30) included:
-3/4 metros present on Lines A & B, 1/2 on Line C, normal traffic on Line D. 
-1/2 the tramways & buses on average
-No Tramways on the T1 Line
-60% of metros on Lines T2 & T3, last one departing at 20h
-13 return trips between Lyon & Paris
-No TGV circulation for: Dijon/ Lyon/ Marseille/ Nice & Lyon/ Montpellier/ Perpignan
-National Corail: 2 return trips b/w Lyon & Strasbourg and Lyon & Metz
All in all, it turned out to be not as big of a deal as they’d forcasted. That being said, I wonder if it’s just the beginning…
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