It is currently unclear what level of Gilets Jaunes protests to expect in Paris and other French cities this weekend. Embassies are warning tourists and other travellers to stay away from large crowds – more info and advice below.
There are also warnings of protests in Brussels on Saturday and Sunday.
We have pulled together information, advice and useful Twitter accounts for you to follow, to help you stay safe.
These protests started in late November and have seen petrol pumps run dry in several places, violence in the heart of Paris, and a police stand off with a man who threatened to detonate a grenade. You can read our full coverage of the recent protests here.
Which sites will be closed?
This is the Paris Tourist Information‘s list of museums and tourists sites that will be closed on Saturday (as of 20:00 GMT on Friday) –
- Main information point of the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau – Hôtel de Ville
- Arc de Triomphe
- Chapelle Expiatoire
- Musée Cernuschi
- Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris
- Petit Palais – Musée des Beaux-Arts de la ville de Paris
- Tours de la cathédrale Notre-Dame
What you should look out for
Traffic disruption – make sure you have sufficient time for any necessary journeys. Be aware public transport could be busier than normal, and could be targeted by protesters.
Ambulance strike – the US Embassy mentioned in a tweet on Monday that there was an ongoing ambulance strike. Be aware that the emergency services will likely experience disruption, both responding to the strikes and protests, and potentially taking part in them.
Vandalism – previous protests saw damage to shops, cars, monuments and other infrastructure. Avoid crowds where possible so you do not get caught up in this. Cars were set on fire – be aware the fire could spread, and that the smoke can be very harmful, especially to children and the elderly. There were reports of large stones being thrown as well.
Tear gas – the police responded to protests with tear gas. This can drift and cause health problems. This article sets out what to do if you are hit by tear gas.
If you are in the area, please consider the following –
- Avoid demonstrations and large crowds. Be aware clashes could occur without warning, so keep an eye on the movement of people.
- Review your travel risk management plan, so you know what to do in an emergency.
- Make sure you have the contact information of your travel insurance company and your local embassy stored on your phone and in a secure offline location.
- Monitor local media. If you are using Twitter to search, add the term ‘filter:verified’ to the search bar to see results from verified accounts only. We have suggested some accounts to follow below.
- If possible, set aside some supplies of food and bottled water.
- Keep your devices charged.
- Check in with friends and family.
- If something does happen, contact the local embassy as soon as it is safe to do so.
The US Embassy highlighted the following as useful English language news sources
- https://www.ratp.fr/travaux-manifestations/manifestations (for information on Metro closures)
Twitter accounts to follow
- Australian Ambassador Brendan Berne – @AusAmbFR
- British Embassy – @UKinFrance
- Canadian Embassy – @CanEmbFrance
- Irish Embassy – @IrlEmbParis
- U.S. Embassy – @USEmbassyFrance
Official travel advice
Protests planned in central #Paris and in other cities around France on Saturday 15 December may cause disruptions. We recommend avoiding areas where protests are taking place & following the latest @dfatravelwise advice: https://t.co/2lCXMDOV7y @dfatirl pic.twitter.com/NrkBNKt93I
— Irish Embassy Paris (@IrlEmbParis) December 14, 2018
— Smartraveller (@Smartraveller) December 14, 2018
— FCO travel advice (@FCOtravel) December 14, 2018
[#CONSULAR] Canadian citizens in France : several #demonstrations are planned this week-end. Please follow the instructions of local authorities and check our travel advice: https://t.co/gRrxOkOunl #GiletsJaunes #15decembre pic.twitter.com/elZI7vX5EZ
— Embassy of Canada in France (@CanEmbFrance) December 14, 2018
Demonstration Alert – U.S. Embassy Paris: Demonstrations by the “Gilets Jaunes” (yellow vests) are expected again on December 15, 2018 and may continue through the coming weeks. https://t.co/RC2xopCdAE pic.twitter.com/JQbFXDjhDg
— U.S. Embassy France (@USEmbassyFrance) December 13, 2018
#Brussels Demonstration Alert: Potential “Yellow Vest” demonstration on Dec. 15 beginning at 10 AM. Additional protests against the Global Compact for Migration possible on Dec. 16 beginning at noon. Monitor local media for updates and avoid area of the demonstrations. pic.twitter.com/1dZ94w4ZiW
— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) December 14, 2018
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