Tourists cancel travel plans as France prepares for massive transport strike

 breakingnews.ie  12/04/2019 16:09:00 

Tourists are cancelling travel plans and Paris is deploying thousands of police as France braces for massive nationwide strikes and protests against plans to overhaul the retirement system.

Transport will be hardest hit by the walkout, with flights, trains and buses cancelled and most of the Paris subway system coming to a halt.

Workers at the national railway SNCF plan to stop work this evening at 7pm local time (6pm Irish time), while other services will shut down starting tomorrow morning for an indefinite period.

In Paris, where workers’ unions are planning a big march tomorrow, police are warning of possible violence and damage and ordered all businesses, cafes and restaurants along the route to close.

The Louvre Museum said its opening may be delayed on Thursday (Mike Egerton/PA)
The Louvre Museum said its opening may be delayed on Thursday (Mike Egerton/PA)

Authorities also issued a ban on protests on the Champs-Elysees avenue, around the presidential palace, parliament and Notre Dame Cathedral.

Paris police chief Didier Lallement said 6,000 police officers will fan out around the city, notably amid fears that yellow vest protest groups and extremist troublemakers could join the action.

The Eiffel Tower is warning tourists to delay a visit to the famous monument because the strike will disrupt access tomorrow.

The Louvre Museum said its opening tomorrow may be delayed and some viewing rooms may be closed.

Hotels across Paris reported receiving numerous cancellations ahead of the strike, as wary tourists eyed closing transport routes and decided to skip their Paris trips.

The SNCF railway company expects nine out of 10 high-speed trains to be cancelled.

French President Emmanuel Macron in London (Chris J Ratcliffe/PA)
French President Emmanuel Macron in London (Chris J Ratcliffe/PA)

International train lines will be affected too.

No tickets are available on Eurostar trains across the English Channel until Tuesday.

Air France said about 30% of its domestic flights will be cancelled.

The government said 55% of teachers will be on strike tomorrow and hospitals will also be affected.

Workers are angry at President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to streamline the country’s 42 state pension systems, fearing they will have to work longer and earn less upon retirement.

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