There are strikes (grèves) all over the country today and more than a hundred protests are currently going on. Public transportation is reduced to nothing in Paris (which is enough to paralyze the whole city, since public transports are everything here). Me and the better half are taking a holiday and going to do our favorite sport: walking across the city for hours, hoping that the car traffic will also be minimal.

France needs to reform its retirement system, and as always with big, touchy political subjects, nothing can happen here without protests and strikes, as if they are prerequisites for any serious discussion. I'm all for the droit de grève but there is something odd in this perpetual movement and the fault lies in between the politicians and the unions with a share to both. Dialogues de sourds (dialogs between deft people).

Ce qu'il nous faut, c'est une bonne révolution ;-).


My wife's theory is that they had to strike this week as this week had no prearranged national holiday to get them a day off. All of these protests should have/could have taken place on May 1, but why strike on a day the state is already giving you off?

Ne tombons pas dans la caricature ;-)

A strike, by definition, is always done during a week day, otherwise it's a protest (or a nonsense if you have a union card :-).

Actually May 1 is the only national holiday that is really enforced, meaning an employer can't force you to work on that day without a very good reason and a big pay check. That's why we call it "fête du travail" (French humor). All other dates, including July 14 are not as much respected. But most of us do enjoy this May season where, on the good years, you can get an extra week off for free.

Is that jealousy I see? :)

"Is that jealousy I see?"

uh no, I wasn't working today when I wrote the above. And my wife (being French) is all up on the the given humor of the situation. And your gibe aside, I do have some understanding of what goes on in French culture even if my language skills are abhorent and I regularily tip the pizza delivery guy. But the point is that this was as much an exercise in taking time off as it was in protesting. Many of those protesters know that the retirement system can't continue as it has no matter what their leadership tells them and so today was just a way to get some time off under cover.

Ah, I learned one word I didn't know, gibe. My intentions where more on the humor side though, but it's nice to have another grade between humor and rant ;-)

I have no doubt whatsoever that you can grasp the situation!

Let's hope you're right because I wouldn't like to see again what happened in 1995 (two weeks of total chaos). There were 2 million protesters in the streets today (according to unions, 1 million says the police). Last time we've seen that was in... 1995 for the same reason.

Oh, I didn't think you were being anything but sarcastic (and I certainly didn't take any offense). And even with my opinion of todays protests (and their relevance or lack thereof) I do think it is due to get a lot worse. Maybe not today, but it will happen. The reason is that both government and union leaderships refuse to deal honestly with their constituencies. I think in that you and I are likely in agreement.

Ne tombons pas dans la caricature ;-)

It's already in the street anyway. ;-)

"Ne tombons pas dans la caricature ;-)"

"la caricature" is already (always ?) in the street...

Reading this post rekindled some memories of when my wife and I were in Paris (gosh, it's almost 3 years now!).

I so want to go back.

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