Pushing, snogging and climbing: 8 things to avoid during French transport strikes

After more than a month of transport strikes in France we have seen some pretty extreme behaviour from frustrated commuters. Here are some of the things you might want to avoid doing.

Pushing, snogging and climbing: 8 things to avoid during French transport strikes
All photos: AFP

1. Pushing to get on before people get off

It’s the sort of naughty misbehaviour that Parisians occasionally resort to when trains are unusually full. During strikes however it seems like all norms of politeness have been thrown out of the window, with people not even bothering to pretend that they are waiting for commuters to exit the trains before squeezing themselves in. 


Believe it or not, there are rules to using the Metro and one of the principle ones is that you wait at the side of the doors until all passengers have disembarked before you get on. At some particularly busy platforms there will be RATP staff to enforce this rule.

READ ALSO The 12 commandments of Metro-etiquette

2. Any form for pushing

During the strikes it's not just been the trains themselves that are crowded, but the platforms and corridors in the stations too. But however crowded they are, elbowing your way through the jam-packed corridors is not recommended either.


READ ALSO The strange rules of the Paris Metro that you need to know

3. Entering the Metro like this..

We've all seen the athletic displays of people choosing to vault the barriers rather than paying for a ticket, but this gymnastic display is in a class of its own. The impressive method would be incredibly dangerous if the train starts moving, however. But at least he’s not pushing.


4. Climbing a building to make a point

Unless you are 'French Spiderman' Alain Robert, of course. To show his support for the pension reform strike movement he climbed the Total tower in the west of Paris's business district of La Defense on January 13th. The police were at the top to greet him.

5. Snogging to pass time

Paris may be a romantic city and your bus/train or flight delay may seem excruciatingly long, but under no circumstances are these two conditions together a carte blanche to incessantly snog your special someone for the whole journey.

Believe me, it makes the journey unbearable for the poor person seated next to you who has to listen to the slurping.

6. Letting your kid play loud computer games with the sound on

This is not okay, ever. Even – no, especially – during long journeys. Same also applies to playing your own music and videos – there's a reason that headphones exist and it's to spare the person next to your from your choice of music.

7. Using police water cannons as a shower

The strikes have also been accompanied by protests and demonstrations which while in the main peaceful did see outbreaks of trouble. We would very much not recommend copying this ‘yellow vest’ protester in Nantes, who had a rather original way of showing that he would not surrender. 

The extremely high pressure of the water cannons have been known to cause serious injuries and at the very least would smart a bit if you get caught in a sensitive area.

8. Farting

When the train is filled to the brim with exhausted passengers, this is maybe the worst thing you could do to your co-commuters.

But, if you do accidentally slip up, just look in disgust at your neighbour and pretend it wasn't you.

Member comments

  1. Snogging? Slurping? Isn’t it to be encouraged? Only good thing to come out of these greves! Wonder how many babies will be delivered in September?

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French customs officers strike over job cuts

Customs officers across France will walk out on Thursday in protest at job cuts that unions say will “weaken the customs network”.

French customs officers strike over job cuts

The national strike on Thursday, March 10th is expected to lead to delays at ports, airports and on the Eurostar.

The strike, which will include a rally outside the National Assembly building in Paris, was called by the CFDT-Douane and has the support of other unions. 

A work-to-rule protest over pay and conditions by customs officers in 2019, under the shadow of Brexit, led to delays and disruption at airports, as well as ports including Calais and Dunkirk, and on Eurostar trains.

Unions are calling on the government to axe plans to switch responsibility for import duty collection to the Direction Générale des Finances Publiques by 2024, at the cost of 700 customs’ officer jobs – and, according to strikers, tens of billions of euros to State coffers.

“We are asking for the reforms to be stopped, mainly that of the transfer of taxation, which is disorganising the network with the elimination of nearly a thousand jobs,” CFDT-Douane’s secretary general David-Olivier Caron said.

The planned job cuts come after years of restructuring and streamlining that has seen thousands of positions disappear, the unions say, when customs fraud and smuggling is rising because of a lack of resources.