France holiday warning as protests turn ‘violent’

France is a leading destination for British tourists but travellers have been warned about protests which could occur over the Easter holiday. The Foreign Office updated its travel advice following widespread protests across the country.

The updated travel advice said: “Since mid-March there have been spontaneous protests in central Paris and elsewhere in France.

“Protests are likely to take place and could occur with little notice. Some protests have turned violent.

“The protests may lead to disruptions to road travel. There is also ongoing strike action affecting multiple sectors including transport networks.

“Coordinated strike action and large-scale demonstrations are next planned for Thursday April 6. Industrial action may start the evening before the strike day and run for several days.”

Protestors have taken to the streets in opposition to the French Government’s plan to raise the legal retirement age from 62 to 64.

Dozens of people have been arrested and some of the protests have turned violent with multiple cities affected.

Roads and railway stations have been blocked by protests and passengers were held up at a Paris railways station earlier this week when protestors jumped on the tracks.

British tourists could see flights disrupted or cancelled as French Air Traffic Control is set to take part in the strike.

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The workers have already taken part in industrial action in March which led to some cancellations.

Ryanair has warned its passengers they could face delays and cancellations in April due to the strike.

The budget airline’s CEO, Michael O’Leary, has called for staff from other countries to be allowed to step in to manage the service.

Holidaymakers travelling to other countries could also be affected if their plane is due to travel over France.

The British Government advice added: “You should monitor the media, check the latest advice with operators before travelling, avoid demonstrations and follow the advice of local authorities.

“If you’re due to travel to or within France, check the website of your chosen operator for the latest information before you set off. Avoid demonstrations wherever possible and follow the advice of local authorities.”

Some travel insurance companies offer coverage for claims relating to civil unrest but this won’t always be the case.

If travellers were aware of the industrial action when they booked the holiday, they may not be covered.

Recent research from Which? found that only six of 199 travel insurance policies covered “unexpected events”.

British tourists should check their travel insurance policy to see the type of coverage and contact their holiday provider as soon as possible if they need to cancel.

Airlines should contact customers directly if their flight is affected but tourists can also check the latest updates before setting off for the airport.

An easyJet update said: “Please also be aware that public transport services may be affected by the strike. We recommend all customers allow plenty of extra time to get to the airport and consider alternative transport options where possible.”

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