French strikes 2019: What are my alternative transport options?

SNCF train strike 2018

If you’re planning to travel to or around France during SNCF strike action, you might be wondering what to do. With major train and plane disruptions already taking place – and more to come, including potential French air traffic strikes – how can you avoid the travel chaos throughout the country? If you’re seeking alternative transport options to rail and air travel, consider these options.

No matter where you need to go, Rome2rio has you – and your French holiday – covered.

TIP: The SNCF strike is not only affecting all domestic French trains, but also international routes departing or arriving in France (such as Eurostar, Thalys, TGV Lyria). Check the status of your train before you set off; see here for more info.

Read more: Up-to-date information on the French strikes 2018, plus ticket refund information

Alternative transport option 1: Car-pooling

If you haven’t heard of BlaBlaCar, you need to get with the times (and get the BlaBlaCar app). This car-pooling service (covoiturage in French), which pairs travellers with drivers who have empty seats in their cars, is France’s number one car ride-sharing app and among its fastest-growing start-ups. Whether you need to get across Paris or travel from Marseille to Metz, there’s likely to be someone going your way. It’s also the perfect service if you need to get somewhere off the beaten track that’s not directly serviced by public transport. The easy-to-use app has an English-language interface (plus many other languages too!), which makes it especially useful for travellers.

Rome2rio has estimated costs and journey durations for BlaBlaCar services, whatever your intended route in France. Just put your journey’s start and end points into the search bar, and click on the ‘Rideshare’ option for all the details.

Carpool BlaBlaCar Toulouse to Lyon. France
Example of a BlaBlaCar trip on Rome2rio

Want to know more about BlaBlaCar? Read our honest, unbiased article to find out if it’s right for you.

TIP: BlaBlaCar is already reporting a large number of additional users due to the strike. If you can’t find a driver going your way at the time you want to go, check out some of France’s other car-pooling apps (Covoiturage-libre, Roulezmalin and Karos) as well as Drivy, a peer-to-peer car rental app, and Uber/its French competitor Chauffeur Privé),

Alternative transport option 2: Bus services

With multiple operators offering cheap intercity routes across France, long-distance bus travel can be an excellent alternative to SNCF trains. Your three main bus options are below; all have routes criss-crossing France and offer WiFi and power outlets. They’ve all announced they’re putting on increased service during strike days.

  • Flixbus: Well-known for its cheap tickets and no-frills travel, Europe’s largest bus network offers routes across France and Europe (see here for all routes). Want to know more about Flixbus? Check out our independent review of what travelling on Flixbus is really like.
  • Ouibus: SNCF’s bus subsidiary run low-cost coach services to most major cities in France as well as some European routes.
  • Isilines: Part of the Eurolines coach/bus network, Isilines connects major French cities and into Europe/the UK.

Your choice of the three will depend on whether they serve your route, as well as timings and cost. To work out which bus is best for you, plug your start and end destination points into the Rome2rio search bar and select ‘Bus’ to see all your bus options for that route. Rome2rio provides costs and schedules as well as booking capability.

TIP: Book bus tickets as early as possible; routes on strike days have already seen increased bookings and some prices are surging as a result.

See prices and timetables for all bus operators on these popular routes:
Paris to Marseille
Strasbourg to Paris
Metz to Nancy
Lyon to Geneva
Charles de Gaulle airport to Paris
Marseille to Cannes
Aix en Provence to Marseille
Grenoble to Lyon
Toulouse to Bordeaux
Calais to Paris
Blois to Tours

TIP: If you get stuck, book your France accommodation here.

With all the above options, we advise researching and booking your trip as early as possible. All transport options are going to be incredibly busy, with many booking out far in advance. Make sure you leave plenty of time to get to your destination; roads will be busy due to the increased traffic – and, if possible, have a backup plan if you need to get somewhere urgently.

TIP: Before you travel, download Waze, a navigation app that offers real-time traffic information, to check the state of the roads.

You can access Rome2rio from your desktop or mobile device via any browser, and also via our Android and iPhone apps. Our search results show every possible form of transportation between your origin and destination, with prices, schedules and booking capability.


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