When police close the area where you areSeptember 15, 2016 in France ⋅ 🌧 18 °C
Well today was interesting.
As I mentioned in yesterday's post a strike was planned for today. I couldn't find any information online about it (except that flights had been cancelled) so I went about my day as planned.
I caught the bus to the Marche Bastille (open air market). Now that I was finally in a market and I could buy stuff I was a bit overwhelmed. I just wanted enough to last while I'm here.
I eventually bought some fish, chicken, veg (including chanterelles), cheese and dried sausage.
While I was shopping I was vaguely aware of the building police presence but not that concerned as there is a large police station at the hotel end of the street. By the time I left though there would have been at least twenty police vans (with multiple officers inside) on the surrounding streets.
At the bus stop the electronic sign said something like "no stop" so I assumed the bus drivers had joined the strike.
Consulting my transit app showed I could use the metro. Except the station was shut.
I still wasn't sure what was happening, just assuming it was due to the strike. I made my way back to the hotel on foot. At one place the police had blockaded the street and I had to ask an officer if I could go through. With a look of bemusement he told me I could. I realised afterwards they were keeping people out, not in.
It had been raining through all this so even with an umbrella I was quite wet. I dried off and had a rest. I couldn't find anything online about the strike so at about 3pm I set off to do the other hop on hop off tour. The metro station was open but there were 4 stops the train passed through without stopping so I assume they were still closed.
I felt a bit daft then for avoiding the protests.
I made my way to the Opera metro stop and then started looking for the bus stop.
Paris roundabouts seem to have at least 5 streets leading off them. I walked up and the streets leading off this roundabout looking for the bus stop (I'd been there yesterday so I knew what it looked like). Google maps kept saying I was 10m away but I couldn't see it.
Eventually I realised that there was a difference between "place de l'Opera" and "avenue de l'Opera" and I found the right place.
A bus pulled up just as I got there and I did a tour of the Monmarte district. It was nearly 4:30 by the time I got on the bus, not really the right time to be driving through central Paris.
The traffic is crazy. There are few lane markings and traffic lights seem to be a suggestion. The tour was interesting but we spent a long time sitting in traffic.
I came back via a different Metro line but it appeared that all the stations were open.
Once back in the hotel I could see footage of the demonstrations this afternoon and no longer felt daft for staying away.
I support anyone's right to protest, especially against tough labour laws but I'm glad I wasn't there. The police appeared ready for violence.
Police vehicles at Marche Bastille
Marche Bastille (market)
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