7 ways to plan for strikes, traffic jams and speed cameras on the French Riviera

France loves strikes and industrial action.  Fact.  And not so conveniently for tourists to the French Riviera, many strikes fall on bank holidays and/or during vacances scolaires (school holidays).

The month of May crosses over printemps vacances (spring holidays) plus 4 bank holidays and major Riviera events including Cannes Film Festival and Monaco Grand Prix – perfect conditions for unions to capitalise on huge movements of people.

Be prepared

If you are travelling by train, airplane, bus, car it pays to be aware that there can be frequent strikes by French transport workers so check ahead if you can to save yourself time, money and frustration.

Another thing to note is that public transport has reduced schedules on bank holidays, so allow extra time for travelling and double-check attractions or activities will be open.

Vocabulary related to French strikes and travel disruptions

Grève / un movement social = strike / industrial action

Perturbation = disruption

Retard = delay

Bouchon / Embouteillage = traffic jam

Éboulement = road block due to collapse (e.g. cliff, rockfall). Also effrondrement (block due to collapse/subsidence) and coulée de boue (mudslip)

Réfection de la chaussée = repairing road surface

Supprimer/annulation = to cancel / cancellation

My recommended 7 websites for travel planning for strikes, traffic jams and speed cameras

Please note, I’m sharing these weblinks for information purposes only.  I appreciate that finding information on French strikes in English is difficult but don’t shoot the messenger – I don’t own or update any of these sites myself!

1.   Bison Futé is a French website detailing major road works, main closures or highway disruptions. They have a calendar of peak travel congestion (handy for travel planning during French school holidays which have different dates according to regions), and regular updates by department (area) in France.  In my opinion, this website is essential for any car journeys through France.  http://www.bison-fute.gouv.fr/

Bison Futé is useful for journey planning in France

Bison Futé is useful for journey planning in France

2.   Train updates from SNCF (French national rail) including line works and strikes. http://www.infolignes.com/previsions.php?zoneId=3&zoneName=Sud-Est

3.   Useful local news website with links to updates on bus strikes.  http://www.nicematin.com/t/Ligne-d’Azur

4.   A great website initiative from Penny Ciocchi for global transport strikes. Very helpful for advice regarding strikes at Nice Airport including strikes by air traffic controllers and ground workers. Also, covers Paris Charles de Gaulle airport and Paris Metro. www.easytravelreport.com

Air controller strike in France grounds 40 per cent of flights

5.   French air traffic controller strike updates; if you need up-to-date info these are my go-to sites:

– Official site for the ATC union (Syndicat National des Contrôleurs du Trafic Aérien) http://www.sncta.fr/

– www.eurocontrol.int (The European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation)

http://dsnado.canalblog.com/ (DSNA – Direction des Opérations – bilingual information about air traffic situation)

https://www.public.nm.eurocontrol.int/PUBPORTAL/gateway/spec/index.html (NOP Network Operations Portal – read their Headline News for strike updates and check flight status under ‘Flights’)

(French air traffic controller strikes - image: DailyMotion)

(French air traffic controller strikes – image: DailyMotion)

6.   Map and information on the location of speed cameras in the French Riviera region. Also, covers other areas in France.  http://english.controleradar.org/provence-riviera-speed-cameras.php

7.   One of my favourite sites for estimated driving times and costs – particularly good for fuel estimates and costs of tolls in France.  Add 10%-15% time buffer to the travel times given as does not take into account stopping at traffic lights, major congestion etc www.viamichelin.com

Italian transport strikes

I’m including links to some Italian strike sites too as many visitors to the French Riviera combine trips to Italy:

1.   Ministry of Infrastructure & Transport (note: the Italian word for strike is sciopero) http://www.mit.gov.it/mit/site.php

2.   Blog site with Italian strike updates http://www.slowtrav.com/blog/italy_transport_strikes/

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Disclaimer:  Access Riviera strives to give current and accurate information, however bear in mind that strikes can be cancelled or shifted without notice. The information above is provided on an “as is” basis, and your use of this information is at your own risk. We can not assume any kind of liability for any damage, loss, injury or inconvenience sustained by any person resulting from any information published on this page or from any kind of changes, such as scheduled times, cancellations etc., mentioned or not on this page. We encourage you to verify any strike information that might interfere with your travel plans with your ticket office, airline or with your transport operator.

TRANSPORT – Train and taxi strike French Riviera

A family member was flying back to the UK today, and unfortunately we had the embarrassment of dropping her at Terminal 1 at Nice Airport while striking taxi drivers were lighting flares and yelling chants.  Not a great parting memory of her visit to our sunny shores.

I appreciate there is disagreement amongst transport companies around competition, especially between taxis and VTCs (tourist cars with drivers), however is a very public demonstration – which looked close to erupting into violence – at one of the busiest French airports a good sign of a tourist-friendly industry?

Is there room for both taxis and private chauffeur companies to co-exist for business?

I know of tourists who have arrived at Nice Airport during taxi strikes, and if it wasn’t for a reservation with a private transfer company they would have been stranded waiting hours for transport.  You would probably not be fuming if you have arrived from a flight from Paris alone.  It would probably be a nightmare if you have just finished a longhaul journey with your children.

I have always found the private transfer companies I have dealt with here to be friendly, punctual and have great rates.  Taxis on the other hand I find pricey (example:  A 10-minute journey which I have paid 12€ or less overseas frequently costs me 20€ here), and I have friends who have been refused fares to travel short distances, with or without luggage.

I hope a satisfactory outcome for everyone is achieved by these frequent strikes.  The whole industry needs an overhaul from the high licensing costs for cabbies, to airport charges, and availability of late-night taxis in tourist towns.

For train strikes, you can check the latest updates on the SNCF link below:

http://www.infolignes.com/previsions.php?futur=futur&zoneId=3

Have you been affected by train or taxi strikes?