Traveling in France With " Yellow Jackets "


I LOVE FRANCE… and those of you who know me well also know there is nothing new in that statement, however this time while visiting my beloved adopted country I encountered a new experience. The power of the people of France and how they come together to express their unhappiness with the government’s decisions. They are a determined society with a loud voice and a history of revolutions, and very capable of bringing the powers that be to heel. I am reminded of the history of France and the peasants revolution of the 14th Century.

So, when my friend Ken told US (my traveling buddy Nancy and I) not to get on the roads on Saturday November 17, 2018, we postponed our trip to Avignon and I’sle-sur-la-Sorgue outdoor markets for a day. It seems that des gilets jaunes, ( The Yellow Vests ) named after the high-visibility vests that French motorists have to carry in their cars, are calling for the blocking of roads and roundabouts throughout France to protest the planned tax increase on gasoline and diesel. Little did anyone know (especially President Emmanuel Macron) that this was a major movement that started by a grassroots social media group that took the country hostage for over 10 days now.

gilets Juane.jpeg
Location map of blocked roadways by the gillets jauane

Location map of blocked roadways by the gillets jauane

So… it was a rainy day anyway and we decided to move out travel day to Sunday November 18th.

Little did we know that the movement of the yellow vests (jackets) had increased in numbers and the demonstrations were spreading more intensely to the roadways.

As we approached our roundabout outside of Avignon we encountered a band of the French resistance blocking the way, we persisted and joined in yelling “Viva La France” fist raised and chanting along.

Yes that’s me, yelling out the window, encouragement abound! I’m a rebel at heart.

And then there was the night….and rain, and miles and miles of traffic…. the major interstate roads were blocked and I found myself weaving my way back to Gaujac with Nancy at the navigation station…4 hours of finding smaller and smaller roads until we finally arrived at our sweet little cottages. Whew! I won’t tell you what I was yelling out the window at that time of night.

The Demonstrations raged on for almost 2 weeks, on November 26 Paris was on burning ~

France was in revolt. The Gendarmerie was called out, Macron was worried.

This story may have a sequel.

Merci Beaucoup