Today is Saturday, August 1, 2015, the biggest traffic day of the year in France. Why?
“Samedi Noir” (Black Saturday) is the changeover between the juillettistes (families that take their annual vacations in July) and the aoûtiens (families that take their annual vacation in August). “Le chassé-croisé des juillettistes et des aoûtiens,” is the cross-over of July and August vacationers and an annual “event” usually on the last Saturday of July.
It’s like the US Memorial Day weekend traffic, squared, because of France’s centralized highway system. Millions of French travelers are on the road today, some heading home after holidays and others on the way to their vacation destinations. It is called “Les jours de grands départs” (the days of great departures) across France.
Bison Futé the French government agency that monitors traffic, reports numerous category “black” alerts (where “Black Saturday get’s its name) about traffic jams and congestions all across France. “Category “black” means that on all main roads and highways there will be at least 700 kilometres of tailbacks. That’s easily going to be the case tomorrow,” Cyrille Leblic, a spokesman for the national information road centre (CNIR). He estimated that the tailbacks would in many places exceed 900 kilometres, and, in some cases start as early as 4am Saturday.”
It’s a good day to be car-less in France. Enjoying a day at home!