A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it

Advertisement

Train strikes in France

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
Just heard there are plans for train strikes in France 🙄 starting 5th December. Not sure yet how widely it will be followed nor for how long. Just bear it in mind if travelling at that time....
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I dealt with train strikes in France in June 2018 and had to juggle my schedule when walking the Le Puy route...kind of a headache.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
There have been a few strikes for various reasons since about the end of September, and one in particular of them has been very badly affecting the TGV traffic between Paris and Bordeaux/Bayonne.

To add to that, there have been a few outages to the traffic from weather damage.

Of course it's a bit the "off-season" for the Camino, so not many will be affected this time (these winter strikes are actually a lot worse for the French whose work and studies etc can be badly disrupted, a lot worse than in summer).
 

Gumba

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF March 2018
CF Dec 2019/2020
Oh, that is not good news for us as we will be catching the train about a week later from Paris to SJPDP. Can anyone please share a link for how I can work out whether our (pre-booked) train will be affected. Thanks
 

Donjek

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012 SJPdP - Fisterra
Oh, that is not good news for us as we will be catching the train about a week later from Paris to SJPDP. Can anyone please share a link for how I can work out whether our (pre-booked) train will be affected. Thanks
Its usually posted on SNCF site. Unfortunately there usually is not advance notice.
 

Donjek

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012 SJPdP - Fisterra
Oh, that is not good news for us as we will be catching the train about a week later from Paris to SJPDP. Can anyone please share a link for how I can work out whether our (pre-booked) train will be affected. Thanks
Alternative is to fly Paris to Biarritz. Chronoplus bus from Biarritz airport to Gare Bayonne. You can try Transports64 bus or its spin off from Gare Bayonne to SJPdP or perhaps walk, or take a taxi.

It is possible to walk from Biarritz to Irun and from there follow the Camino Vasco del Interior to Camino Frances.
 

Gumba

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF March 2018
CF Dec 2019/2020
Thanks Donjek, it really helps to know where to look. When there are strikes, are there busses that take over? We have already bought 4 train tickets so hoping not to have to buy more airline tickets! Here's hoping it wont happen to us!
 

Donjek

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012 SJPdP - Fisterra
Thanks Donjek, it really helps to know where to look. When there are strikes, are there busses that take over? We have already bought 4 train tickets so hoping not to have to buy more airline tickets! Here's hoping it wont happen to us!
There are no buses that take over. Your train will run ... it just might be later than you planned. Hopefully it won't happen to you.
 

Gumba

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF March 2018
CF Dec 2019/2020
There are no buses that take over. Your train will run ... it just might be later than you planned. Hopefully it won't happen to you.
Thanks Donjek, that is good to know. Can stop stressing - late, I can cope with.. Cancelled - a bit harder!
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
A major Union has just announced they'll be joining the strikes, so it's going to get pretty bad again especially in the beginning of December.
 

Gumba

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF March 2018
CF Dec 2019/2020
Thanks JabbaPapa. That's not good news at all for us but good to know :( Will the trains from Paris to Bayonne and also Bayonne to SJPDP be part of the strikes or mainly metro?
 

Donjek

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012 SJPdP - Fisterra
Thanks JabbaPapa. That's not good news at all for us but good to know :( Will the trains from Paris to Bayonne and also Bayonne to SJPDP be part of the strikes or mainly metro?
No one really knows. Certainly no one on this forum does. If it overly concerns you, consider making other plans. Flix bus for example. https://global.flixbus.com/
 

JimboX

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2019)
Just in case it is useful, I'll outline my experience taking the train from Hendaye to Paris on the 24th of October when there was a strike (according to information in English). In German in the SNCF app it said there was a civil disruption or something.
I had a 1st class ticket booked to Paris on the 07:30 am train and the night before I got an email telling me that my train had been cancelled. I then looked on the SNCF app and website and it suggested that for the following days virtually every train was either cancelled or booked out. There was however a train supposed to run at 04:45 am on the 24th that wasn't full. Tickets were however not available online. So I got to the Hendaye train station soon after 4am to catch this train. The ticket inspector said it was fine for me to be on this train, but he wasn't sure what it would be like from Bordeaux to Paris. This train ended up being late (leaving Hendaye at more like 5:45am), and then some technical problem had us deboarding and reboarding on the way to Bordeaux.
When I got to Bordeaux, they told me it was fine to get on another train to get to Paris without making any change to my ticket. As a result, from Bordeaux to Paris I was in a ridiculously crowded train, but I got to Paris at the time I had originally hoped. They also did not inspect tickets at all on the train from Bordeaux to Paris.
Friends were on later trains that day, and one of them was virtually empty leaving Hendaye. See photo! This train had previously shown as booked out on the SNCF website and in the app. From this I can only assume that everything showing booked out was something to do with conveying inaccurate information during this strike rather than anything actually being booked out.
During the day there was also information available on the website and in the app with regards to trying to get a refund on my ticket. I didn't do anything with regards to this, but when I then looked again later after I had arrived in Paris, there were no longer any options for getting a refund on my ticket. So I think if I had wanted to do that, I would have had to do it before my scheduled train would have arrived in Paris or something. I'm just saying that in case anybody is in need of a ticket refund, they should start the process as soon as possible.
I don't know how this information may compare with other peoples' experiences, but maybe it is helpful.
Buen Camino!
 

Attachments

Camino(s) past & future
Frances from Le Puy-en-Velay ('10-12) from Montgenevre '14-15) from Vezelay ('18), from Seville 2020
I departed the US to begin my Camino in Vezelay, Burgundy. Vezelay does not have a train station.After the dates for the train strikes were announced, I cancelled my short stay in Paris in order to arrive by train at the station nearest to Vezelay the day before the strike day. I booked a hotel in that small village, knowing I would not arrive until 9 pm. This plan went well until the train stopped at 8 pm, many miles before my arrival village. We were instructed to disembark, the train would not go on. It turns out that the "day" of the strike actually begins at 8 pm the evening before. Eventually, the local woman who had been seated opposite me, understanding my distress, helped me. She learned that a bus would be arriving at about 9:30 pm, to take those of us who were stranded, to our various stops. Then she and her husband took me home with them, gave me a snack and some wine, drove me back to the station in time for the bus, stayed until the bus took off, and waved good-bye to me as if they were sending their child off to summer camp. That was the greatest Camino send-off! The moral of the story is that Strike Day begins at 8 pm the evening before!
 

Gumba

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF March 2018
CF Dec 2019/2020
JimboX - your post was really helpful, thank you for taking the time. It was quite reassuring. We are staying near the train station so we will be able check for info not available on the web site. From Google, the strike will occur on the 5th December and we are book a little over a week later. Google tells me that it will most likely be an on-going strike and will probably go over Christmas so... it might affect us, it might not. Anyway, should we get caught up in it, your post has given me some hope.

Donjek - thanks for the link, it seems we can get a bus to Bayonne if need be and perhaps a taxi from there. I get what you are saying "no one really knows" I was just after a bit of insight or perspective from our European and French friends.

rscohen - thanks for the 8pm tip and what a LOVELY story, what kind a generous people they were. The Camino can really show us the best in people, cant it!
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
I had a 1st class ticket booked to Paris on the 07:30 am train and the night before I got an email telling me that my train had been cancelled. I then looked on the SNCF app and website and it suggested that for the following days virtually every train was either cancelled or booked out. There was however a train supposed to run at 04:45 am on the 24th that wasn't full. Tickets were however not available online. So I got to the Hendaye train station soon after 4am to catch this train. The ticket inspector said it was fine for me to be on this train, but he wasn't sure what it would be like from Bordeaux to Paris. This train ended up being late (leaving Hendaye at more like 5:45am), and then some technical problem had us deboarding and reboarding on the way to Bordeaux.
When I got to Bordeaux, they told me it was fine to get on another train to get to Paris without making any change to my ticket. As a result, from Bordeaux to Paris I was in a ridiculously crowded train, but I got to Paris at the time I had originally hoped. They also did not inspect tickets at all on the train from Bordeaux to Paris.
Friends were on later trains that day, and one of them was virtually empty leaving Hendaye. See photo! This train had previously shown as booked out on the SNCF website and in the app. From this I can only assume that everything showing booked out was something to do with conveying inaccurate information during this strike rather than anything actually being booked out.
That's actually fairly typical of train travel on a strike day. Some trains you're packed in like sardines, some are quite empty because everyone is avoiding trains because of the strike.

The more independent-minded foot Pilgrims who are without special needs and who are travelling alone shouldn't have too much trouble, although they may end up with standing room only ; but two or more travelling together, or those with health problems or whatever or even just bringing their bicycles along should be a lot more careful.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
A major Union has just announced they'll be joining the strikes, so it's going to get pretty bad again especially in the beginning of December.
It now looks like it’ll be a massively followed strike (transport, hospitals, even firemen and police I think)😕
I would avoid travelling in France on the 5th December if you can ☹
Of course it may come to nothing but.... I still expect disruption.
 

natefaith

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria-Santiago (2009)
León-Ponferrada (2014)
Camino Inglés (2017)
Also a note that December 6, the day following, is a holiday in Spain (Día de la Constitución) so folks might want to be aware of holiday timetables for buses and trains in Spain that day if they're traveling from France and connecting farther into Spain.
 

Gumba

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF March 2018
CF Dec 2019/2020
Thanks Domigee for coming back to update. Also thanks to natefaith and SY. We are traveling a week later so hope the disruption will be minimal at our travel time. Although from what I have read it will be ongoing.

Perhaps we should start walking from Paris!!!!
 

Gumba

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF March 2018
CF Dec 2019/2020
That's interesting Pilger. I am now thinking to book a transfer from the airport to our hotel and suck it up and spend a few extra days in Paris if there is a strike on the day we intend to travel to Bayonne/SJPDP. It's a shame as we like using (and having the kids experience) the use of public transport when we travel.

Thanks for the updates my friends :)
 

Gumba

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF March 2018
CF Dec 2019/2020
Thanks Franz. We are travelling a week later. Have just checked and so far so good, our tickets are still valid. I will continue to hold my breath as I know that 'they' expect the strikes to be on-going.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
Thanks Franz. We are travelling a week later. Have just checked and so far so good, our tickets are still valid. I will continue to hold my breath as I know that 'they' expect the strikes to be on-going.
Gumba, congrats on your patient approach. I truly hope that all will be sorted by the time that you arrive in Europe.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
It’s been confirmed, the transport strike in France is extended until Monday (included).
 

Gumba

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF March 2018
CF Dec 2019/2020
Just received notification that our train has been cancelled :(. looking at airfares, nothing available until the next day. We have lost a night's pre-paid accommodation in Paris near the station. Madly trying to work out a plan.. stay tuned!!
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
I’m so sorry Gumba.
Right now, I hear on the news the strikes will be carrying on (at least until the 17th December, maybe longer) 🙁
If your train is again cancelled, you could try Blabla bus or Alsa? They normally have buses between Paris and Biarritz (or Bayonne, I can’t remember).
I hope you find a way 😕
 
Last edited:

Gumba

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF March 2018
CF Dec 2019/2020
Thank you domigee. Have rebooked for the next day. So an extra day in Paris. It could be worse!!! Because we are on a schedule this delay means we will start at Roncesvalles. Mixed feelings. It doesn't matter where we start but that first day is such a personal achievement
 

Dave C.

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis (2016)
SJ to Santo Domingo (2017)
Santo Domingo to Fromista (2018)
SJPdP to Burgos (2019)
Hope everything works out for you Gumba!! A few weeks ago our train in Paris just stopped at a station and we were told “to get off, train closed”. Luckily we were sightseeing after walking in Spain. Got a taxi.
Buen Camino
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
It’s been confirmed, the transport strike in France is extended until Monday (included).
At least until Tuesday -- the only major Trade Union not participating so far has just joined the strike, and Tuesday 17th will be a massive day of demonstrations.
 

Gumba

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF March 2018
CF Dec 2019/2020
At least until Tuesday -- the only major Trade Union not participating so far has just joined the strike, and Tuesday 17th will be a massive day of demonstrations.
Bugger... Our rescheduled train trip is on Monday. At this rate the delays mean we will be starting our camino in Burgos!!!!
 

Dani7

Stop wishing, start doing.
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
When the time is right
It’s an 8 hour drive from Paris to Bayonne. Are there car rental places where you am drive just one way and leave the car in Bayonne?
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Bugger... Our rescheduled train trip is on Monday. At this rate the delays mean we will be starting our camino in Burgos!!!!
Travel on strike days is always easier when you're alone -- but if the SNCF has sold you tickets, they should normally guarantee that you can get one train or another, at least as far as the TGVs are concerned. And I'd guess the train you're booked on now probably will run.

But try and make sure, if possible, to get to the station about one hour ahead of time just in case they need to shift you to a different train.

Getting out of Bayonne, if you're going that way, might end up being more difficult. (at least being in Paris is a reward in itself)

And as it is very much out of season, I'm not sure that transport on the Spanish side will be working either, but who knows -- there is a local bus line that runs on that side up to the border, just whether or not it's running in December is the question.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
It's carrying on over Christmas and into the New Year, with a massive strike day planned for 9th January 2020, though the second largest rail union will pause their strike over the holidays.
 
Last edited:

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
There are a few more trains now than there were at the start of the strike, though it is still rather disruptive ; it remains to be seen if this is just a lull for the holiday period, or if some of the strikers have in fact returned to work.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
The French Government and Parliament are showing signs of starting to give in, so things might begin to calm down.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
The strike is definitely calming down -- still not at all normal, the early and late trains are still bad, but there are far more trains now than at the beginning of the strikes, and the service is starting to be usable.

For example, the Bayonne to SJPP trains running today are a 6:30 replacement bus, 12:00 midday train, and the 18:26 train. The 17:09 and the 20:01 are not running, nor is the 6:41 train and there's not always going to be room enough for everyone on that bus.

So still bad, but just about usable.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Even today, which is a big national strike day, the service is still up at the increased, albeit still quite diminished, levels that it reached during the Christmas to New Year week.

Things are still probably fairly bad for public transport in Paris and the other major cities & their suburbs (and these strikes are still perturbing my own plans), but for pilgrims just wanting to reach their starting points, taking earlier trains than originally planned, and especially being flexible on their travel days should be good enough.
 

nathanael

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Plata,
Just heard there are plans for train strikes in France 🙄 starting 5th December. Not sure yet how widely it will be followed nor for how long. Just bear it in mind if travelling at that time....
I had planned to take a train to Lourdes and stay two days with the Polish nuns but will change my mind. Last I did this the train was five hours delayed due to a train strike. It's not worth the hassle.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
I had planned to take a train to Lourdes and stay two days with the Polish nuns but will change my mind. Last I did this the train was five hours delayed due to a train strike. It's not worth the hassle.
Yes, I also changed my plans last year (during another transport strike!) as I didn’t want to be left stranded in the middle of nowhere.... As you say, it isn’t worth the hassle. Hope your plans work out. Buen camino 🙂
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Tomorrow's trains are virtually back to normal.
 

Bala

Veteran member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: SJPdP-Burgos, (2015); Burgos-Sarria (2018); Sarria-Santiago (2018).
Frances (2020)
Great news. I'm in France now, arrived yesterday, and already affected by a demonstration yesterday. All the best to everyone traveling.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
The Paris metro will mostly start working again from tomorrow onwards. There may still be some future strike action, as it's been "suspended", not stopped.
 

Get on our Mailing list for new products on the Camino Store and news from the Camino Forum








Advertisement

Booking.com

Camino Conversations

Camino Conversations

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Forum Donation

Forum Donation
For those with no forum account, it is possible to donate here as well. Thank you for your support! Ivar

Follow Casa Ivar on Instagram

Most downloaded Resources

When is the best time to walk?

  • January

    Votes: 16 1.2%
  • February

    Votes: 10 0.8%
  • March

    Votes: 55 4.2%
  • April

    Votes: 197 15.0%
  • May

    Votes: 325 24.8%
  • June

    Votes: 95 7.3%
  • July

    Votes: 24 1.8%
  • August

    Votes: 27 2.1%
  • September

    Votes: 379 28.9%
  • October

    Votes: 158 12.1%
  • November

    Votes: 17 1.3%
  • December

    Votes: 7 0.5%

Camino Forum Store

Camino Forum Store
Top
AdBlock Detected

We get it, advertisements are annoying!

Sure, ad-blocking software does a great job at blocking ads, but it also blocks useful features of our website. For the best site experience please disable your AdBlocker.

I've Disabled AdBlock