10 days in France during strikes

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I am exhausted from this 10 days trip to the mountains. It has been an overall great trip and somehow I was feeling really relax almost the whole time. It took us time to be able to find a train that wouldn’t end up being cancelled to leave Paris for the French Alps, but despite the trashes all over Paris and Marseilles, it was a nice trip.

Paris is a disaster

Knowing that Paris will host the Olympics next year is making me fear the worse, I think we should cancel…

I went to Paris not by the easiest route, I left Wroclaw by Flixbus in the middle of the night, heading directly to Berlin BER airport. My flight was in the morning to Paris. I must say that BER new airport is also a disaster, with stairs everywhere but almost no escalators, and elevators for 6 people max…, I ended up walking for 18 min to be able to reach my gate, where I would have to then go downstairs by stairs to reach the boarding area…
When I finally reached Paris Orly Airport, I went to get a taxi and I was told that there was none at the moment to Paris center. Because of the mess, many taxi drivers will get you to places around Paris but will refuse to drive to Paris. It’s even more understandable since the price to get in Paris center is fixed by the state at only €36… I ended up waiting 25 min to get one taxi. Only to then spend an hour in a traffic jam caused by the trashes and a bunch of syndicalist protesting and blocking the streets… 1h trip to do the 14km between the airport and my place.

Little did I know how bad the trashes situation was. My street was buried into trashes on both sides of the sidewalk and the smell was horrible.

trashes in Paris, on both sides of the street

We went for walks around and it was everywhere the same, with the extra bonus of having homeless drunk people throwing bottles and trashes at each other. Nonetheless, you could still enjoy a drink on the bar terraces, facing piles of trashes. 😂

terrace facing trashes in paris

Heading to the mountains 🚞

I had booked one of the last few night trains in France, an institution, that goes from Paris to Briançon. Since it was the ski season, I was expecting them to still be working, and since there was no sign of cancellation I bought tickets. This train is perfect, cabins where renewed lately and you leave Paris in the evening and get to the South of the French Alps the morning after. Except when it breaks in Valence where they change from electric to diesel engine…

But no, it was cancelled a few hours before departure, I was resilient and bought tickets for the TGV in the early morning, only for it to be cancelled a few hours later again. I rebooked ONE MORE TIME the next one and this one was the good one, finally, we were able to leave Paris.

The TGV is one of the best train in France and probably in the World. It is fairly comfortable, super fast and gets you in just 3h from Paris to Grenoble.

We then has to spent the next 3h in Grenoble waiting for our little diesel train to the mountains. Since it was Sunday, and I knew most of the city would be closed, we chose to stay in the station. I was astonished by this machine I saw there, which basically is a short story dispenser 👇

a short story dispenser in Grenoble train station

This machine will print you a story to read while waiting for your train. SNCF is famous for being super late, IMO it should have been 10min, 30&50min instead?

We finally got to Gap in Hautes-Alpes to then take a car to our destination… where a raclette was awaiting us. 😛

The Champsaur valley

It’s always a pleasure to go there, this valley is still wild, close to the Les Écrins National Park, and sun will always be there at some point. I would say, you don’t necessary go there for the best snow but for the sun and mountain hiking winter + summer.

The morning after, it had by chance snowed during the night, so that we could enjoy a beautiful scenery from our window, what a change from Paris and Poland, the kind of morning that makes you confident that it was worth it!

The house hasn’t changed and is still a beautiful renovated massive and luxury barn.

By the way, if you wish to visit one day, you can book a room here on Booking. Let me know and we can help you plan you trip from anywhere in the World.

Later, we went to Orcières village, which is located more deep in the valley, you can clearly see the difference, valley is much narrower there and mountains appears much more vertical.

Good to know : I noticed the 5G network is even better there than in Paris, it was a great finding and made me able to work from any of the places I have been during the week.

We also went to see one of the new project to renovate and rebuild an old farm house in the middle of the forrest.

From there you are at the gate of the National Park, and have a great view on the ski resort of Orcières on the right, and on the mountain Vieux Chaillol 3163m.

Flying back from Marseilles

We decided to continue our trip to the South, and to take a flight from Marseilles to Berlin with Ryanair. We left the mountains by train to Marseilles, the trip is only 3h and you can enjoy the change of countryside from the high mountains to Provence.

Unfortunately, Marseille is also crumbling under trashes, with the nice weather it was an even worse smell. It was rather windy with the Mistral wind so temperature went down quite fast in the evening. 🥶

Yet it was time to go to bed and head back to the East.

Ryanair is mad at French ATC

They even made a petition online to protest against the constant delays and cancellation because of the French Air Traffic Control. Ryanair has been a very punctual airline since Covid, and the strikes in France are destroying all their efforts. I am worried they might even consider not to operate in France anymore because of the continuous strikes. When you see the amazing salaries of the ATC in France, it’s even more annoying to see them protesting… they typically earn around €53,200.

We were lucky to travel on one of their new 737 Max 8. The only issue with this place is how tiny the toilets are in the back of the plane. I admit I was a little stress because of a noise of air leaking out of my exit row window, on seat 17E. I often fly this seat but I never had this noise before, it might be a youth defect. However I was ok, since a leak is a minor issue.

It took me some time to realise it was April fool day, and that was the reason of the uncommon jokes the crew had been making all along. We arrived in Berlin airport two hours later, and this airport is still a nightmare, once you exit the place stairs, you have to clim two floors of stairs in a little staircase, and then go down the stairs again, only to walk another km to reach Terminal one and the subway. No escalators, and only a very tiny elevator…

Anyway we were exhausted of our trip and happy to be in Berlin on our way back to Poland.

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