French railway services were decimated on Tuesday, the first day of rolling strikes which are due to run for months in a serious test for President Emmanuel Macron's resolve to modernize the French economy.
The main protests against the reforms begin on Tuesday, which the media has termed "black Tuesday" with only one out of eight high-speed TGV train and one out of five regional trains likely to run.
The Tuesday strike is the first day of the planned action, which will see rail stoppages on two days out of every five, until June 28, unless Macron ends his plan for a major overhaul at state rail operator SNCF.
At the capital's busy Gare du Lyon station, the platforms were so crammed that a woman fell onto the tracks and had to be helped out by fellow passengers.
Other sectors could join the strike as it continues in protest at broader changes to labor laws proposed by Macron. But overall only a third of staff were on strike, the company said.
Farid Hachelef, a 32-year-old who works in construction, said he had spent the night in Paris with a friend rather than trying to travel in from the northern suburb of Argenteuil, "otherwise, I would never make it".
"This little melody being sung of "privileged railway workers" is intolerable", said Philippe Martinez, head of the CGT union.
France's national train company is warning that a workers' strike will disrupt train service within France and elsewhere in Europe today and tomorrow.
A majority of French people view the strikes as unjustified, according to an Ifop poll published on Sunday.
Travelers are livid as simply one in 8 high-speed TGVs are arranged as well as simply one in 5 local trains, leaving travelers on jampacked trains.
The walkout - which started on Monday evening and is to last through Wednesday morning - is also reducing train traffic on the Eurostar to Britain and trains to Germany.
French President Emmanuel Macron wants to strip away job guarantees and other benefits for new hires for the railway system.
Thalys trains between France, Belgium and the Netherlands should be running normally.
Macron wants to transform SNCF, which adds €3 billion to its 47 billion euro debt pile each year, into a profit-maker.
Three-quarters of Eurostar trains to London and Brussels will run Monday and Thalys trains towards Belgium and the Netherlands will operate nearly normally, but there will be none at all to Spain, Italy or Switzerland.At Air France, where staff is striking for the fifth time to demand a pay rise, managers said 75 percent of flights would operate.