“How are you getting to Cannes?” my aunt asked me.

“Oh, with the TGV. I already reserved my train tickets a couple weeks in advance…”

“Be careful, there’s a strike.”

Spffftttt. I waved her off. But I should have heeded her warning.

If you truly know France then you’ll know that the word “France” has one true synonym (and no, it’s not escargot). The word “France” is synonymous with the word “grève.” Those pesky nationwide strikes are as common as the rain here.

F.Y.I. it rains once every 2.25 days in Paris.

Well, like any other victim, you never expect to become one yourself. You go through life in pure bliss until the moment strikes. And when that moment happens, a glorious mix of “oh putain” and “I should have seen this coming,” just slaps you in the face.

I wrote this blog post today to confirm that I am, indeed, a victim.

Ok, yes I’m being a bit dramatic.

Yet how do you think I felt went the message, VOTRE TRAJET SERA ANNULÉ (your train will be cancelled) popped up on my SNCF application? The same train I reserved weeks in advance?


Yes I’m tired of the rain here in Paris… the sun in Cannes could do me some good.

But the SNCF has other plans. Those mischievous ouvriers are calculating my demise and cancelling trains left and right! They’ve been on strike for what… a month now?

I’m going to tell you what to do if your reserved train is canceled during a national strike. Because I had the same question a couple minutes ago.


I’m going to loosely translate this for those of you who don’t speak French.

According to the official SNCF email they sent me, as well as their website:

Nous vous informons qu’en raison d’un mouvement social SNCF, votre train ne circulera pas.

Nous vous invitons à annuler ou à reporter votre déplacement.

Si vous renoncez à votre voyage, vous pouvez obtenir en gare, boutique SNCF, dans votre agence de voyages agréée SNCF ou par téléphone au 36 35 (0,40 euro TTC/mn hors surcoût éventuel de votre opérateur) le remboursement de votre billet, sans frais, quel que soit le tarif, y compris des tarifs non remboursables. Vous disposez de 60 jours après votre date de voyage pour procéder à ce remboursement.

Essentially: My train is cancelled. I can refund my ticket (even a non-refundable one) at any train station, SNCF boutique, approved SNCF travel agency or by telephone. This refund does not carry a fee. I have up to 60 days after my travel date to ask for a refund.

Si vous souhaitez reporter votre voyage avec place assise garantie, l’échange de votre billet est possible, sans surcoût, dans la limite des places disponibles* pour un nouveau voyage jusqu’au lundi 13 juin inclus. Au-delà de cette date, l’échange reste possible, mais vous pouvez être amené à régler une différence de prix éventuelle.

Essentially: If I want to have a guaranteed seat on a future train, I can exchange my ticket, without any fees, for another trip up until June 13th (one week from now). After this date, an exchange is still possible but I’ll have to pay the difference in fares between the tickets.

Si vous souhaitez néanmoins maintenir votre voyage en utilisant votre billet, sachez qu’il est valable sur tout autre train à destination de CANNES sur l’ensemble de la journée du jeudi 9 juin, sans surcoût mais sans garantie de place assise disponible à bord. Les places assises restent attribuées en priorité aux voyageurs munis d’une réservation sur le train emprunté.

Essentially: If i want to use my original train ticket, I can! It works on any other train destined to Cannes during the whole day of my initial trip. Once again, there are no fees, but I’m not guaranteed a place to sit (it’s okay, seats are overrated). Seats on the train will remain a priority to voyagers who initially booked that train.

So since the SNCF cancelled my train, which option will I choose? I already booked a place to stay in Cannes so it doesn’t make sense to let that reservation go to waste. I’m going to end up traveling on my intended date, but without a guaranteed seat (option 3).

Okay, now the moral of the story. Because it’s not a good post without one of those.

Above all, I hate strikes.

But when it happens to you, it may not be the end of the world. Luckily all I’m missing is a bit of sun, but for those with business trips or important weddings to attend… I’m sorry. Welcome to France.

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