No, only their transportation services are burning. During my December 4th to 9th visit the strike began and is now in its 4th week. The strike concerns retirement changes. Frenchie’s have over 40 retirement plans and are able to retire at 55 with many of them. The government wants to change and streamline these plans which is causing quite a stir. Personally, I hate being retired so I don’t get it. That said let’s chat about the trip and the strike’s impact on it.
Arrived in Paris at Charles DeGaulle Airport on the first day of the strike, December 5th. My first notification was when a fellow passenger mentioned it upon deplaning. She was going to Marseille, a short jaunt, however, she had a six hour wait for her flight. While American me was appalled she smiled stating she was pleased to get any flight home. I should have taken heed.
Once in the terminal I sought directions and was greeted by the usual French response. While I love the Frenchie’s their disdain for US, meaning the United States, is evident. And it didn’t help matters that our President insulted theirs the day before. While not all Frenchies like Macron they are loyal.
After speaking with 4 different red coat “helpers” in the airport I located my way out of the terminal. Already missing JFK I ponder scrapping the trip.
Next was obtaining a ticket from a machine for the fare on the one train which was running. After several attempts on getting a ticket from the machine an American tapped me on the shoulder and told me to go to the ticket agent. Guess he heard my profanity and I followed the direction he pointed me in..
My success rate with human ticket folks has been 50/50 yet hoping to be lucky I found the window and a millenial with a smug look glaring at me. Sensing her disgust on Day 1 of the strike I attempted my, “un peu Francais,” and things got worse. Here was a real bit-h, pardon me, and as we proceeded in ticket purchase she proved to be a double b-tch.
She snickered when I asked how to use the ticket and where to go. Knowing she was probably telling me where to go in French under her breath I realized assistance needed to be obtained elsewhere. Why bother getting upset as there is karma in the world.
Looking around I noted even the Asians appeared bewildered. I felt a kinship and located a 50ish woman red coat “helper” who actually helped. Reading my mind she smiled as I approached took my ticket posting it to a circular disk on the turn style said, “#22 to Gare,” and pointed to the stairs beyond the turn style. Success!
Posters at one of the Train Stops
At the Gare Station I found a pleasant, young man in a blue jacket to help. Also, the bathrooms were free at this station. A gift to us weary travelers with a savings of .70 euros, akin to .85 USD. Nice touch as I was near ready to water a tree.
Gare Station decorated for the holidays. Nice mall inside the Station.
Since there was no further train access a cab to the hotel was the only way. I am up to 35 euros for transport now and by days end it came to 80. However, when there is no other option who is counting?
At least the cab drivers kids will have a nice Christmas.
Tomorrow: The Louvre
Another view of the Gare Train Station Mall at the holidays.