Next Friday, I'm going on a 3 day road trip to Spain, and then will stay there for 3 weeks. I will come back in the first week of January.

The problem is that because of the Gilets Jaunes, France is currently in a bit of a mess, to put it mildly: there are frequent riots and blockades, many gas stations have run out of fuel and a number of locations have seen arson and even deaths. It doesn't seem like it's going to stop in the next week, and I've even heard rumours on social media that this might be the start of a new revolution, similar to what happened 50 years ago.

The plan right now is to stay the night somewhere in the middle of France (I think near Poitiers), then drive to Zaragosa via San Sebastian and spend the night and part of the next day there and then drive from there to the Costa Blanca, the end destination of the trip. The trip back would be a 2 day trip on Friday and Saturday with a stay in France, probably in Poitier again.

I'm somewhat concerned about the situation and really want to avoid problems on the trip. I don't want to end up on the side of the road without fuel, I don't want to have to spend the night in a car and I DEFINITELY do not want to end up getting caught in the middle of a riot or worse. Postponing the trip is not an option and we really want to go with a car and not a plane or train.

What things should I be aware of to make the trip go smoothly? Note: I won't be visiting Paris on this trip, so the suggested duplicate isn't quite valid. I will spend most of my time in France on the motorways and the roadside rest stops.

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    Not an answer as I don't necessarily have a full picture from where I stand, but my impression is that as long as you stay on motorways (autoroutes), you should be pretty much OK. At worst you'll get stuck for a few hours here or there, but it shouldn't be much worse than that. Inside cities it might be a bit different, especially on Saturday, as some people think they have been issued a permit to break, burn, attack at will. If you can find a place to stay far from any city it should be quite OK. Not quite sure what the situation is in terms of fuel shortages, though. – jcaron Dec 7 '18 at 15:40
  • I believe that nobody in France is able to predict what the actual situation will be next Friday. @jcaron comment seems accurate for today's (december 7) situation. You'll have to wait at least to see what are the outcomes of tomorrow's demonstrations. – audionuma Dec 7 '18 at 16:09
  • Why not just drive straight through on the motorway. Brussels - Girona, 14 hrs. – Tomas By Dec 7 '18 at 16:55
  • @TomasBy Because the protesters sometimes block motorways, too. – David Richerby Dec 7 '18 at 17:48
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    @Giorgio Not really. The situation on motorways and in Paris is fairly different. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Dec 7 '18 at 21:01

What you hear in the media is, as usual, grossly exaggerated. (And there was no revolution in France 50 years ago.) There are a few riots, a few blockades, and a few gas stations have run out of fuel. You are extremely unlikely to encounter a riot on a road trip. By next week it's not impossible that fuel shortages may happen in places, but all that would mean is that you shouldn't wait until the last minute to refill, not that there's a real risk of running out.

The only real cause for worry is that it's plausible that you might encounter a blockade which could slow you down significantly or cause you to detour. Your trip may end up taking longer, you may end up paying more for fuel, and if you book a motel in advance it may be hard to predict when you can make it there. You'd have fewer worries if you flew, but there's no compelling reason not to drive.

  • There was actually a revolution in Paris 50 years ago, May 1968. It wasn't exactly a political revolution, but one of the leaders of the movement at the time called it a social revolution. – Nzall Dec 7 '18 at 21:43

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