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March 7, 2019

France’s Ongoing ‘Yellow Vest’ Protests May Still Affect Your Travels to France


For the past several weeks, France has been shaken by weekly protests known as the ‘Yellow Vest’ movement. Dealing a major blow to the country’s economy and tourism, the movement first began to express outrage regarding rising fuel prices, high cost of living and taxes reforms. The protesters have also called for a minimum wage increase, the implementation of more referendums and Emmanuel Macron's resignation. After 16 weeks of demonstrations, more than half of French people want the “yellow vests” to end their sometimes-violent anti-government protests, with many believing demonstrators still marching through cities no longer reflect the group’s early demands.


Protests have mainly taken place in Paris and on Saturdays, with other organized rallies occurring in other major cities such as Lyon, Lille, Marseilles and Nantes. While protests ended very violently in the first few months with reported scuffles between police and protestors, it seems that the protests have become more peaceful with acts of violence occurring every so often. Travelers should be aware that the protests’ routes and nearby areas may be closed off by police. Subways and public transit may also be closed in the vicinity of the demonstrations. Finally, protesters have been blocking several roads, as well as access to gas stations, popular stores and factories across the country. 


  1. While France remains a safe destination for tourists, Saturdays would be a good day to go outside of center cities and avoid hot spots where protests will likely be happening. For example, think about visiting Versailles which is about 30 minutes away from Paris’ city center. 

  2. If you’re arriving or departing from France on Saturday, call your hotel or travel agent for advice on how to safely and easily get from the airport to your destination.

  3. Be aware of your surroundings, keep a low profile and avoid crowds. Protests are usually announced the day before which will give you a chance to rethink your plans and itinerary in advance.

  4. If you happen to run into a protest that has turned violent, find shelter and close doors and windows to avoid any smoke or tear gas.

  5. If traveling by car, it is best to not park your car near protest sites since protestors are known to have been setting cars on fire during the most violent riots. Prefer indoor parking garages rather than street parking.

  6. Continue to monitor local news stations for updates on what is happening around the cities in which you are staying in or visiting. 


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The content of this edition of AssistAlert is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace further investigation or personal observations. If you are planning travel, or are traveling in or proximate to the locations identified in this newsletter, you are encouraged to contact SecurAssist for additional information.

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