Raising the retirement age to 64 will keep France below the norm in Europe and in many other developed economies, where the age at which full pension benefits apply is 65 and increasingly moving towards 67.

In the United States and the United Kingdom, the retirement age is between 66 and 67, depending on the year in which you were born. Current legislation sets a gradual rise to 68 in Britain between 2044 and 2046, although that is being reviewed and could change.

Still, pension reform in France is “very unpopular,” according to Foucart. “It’s seen as taboo,” he added.

The passage of the reforms is all but assured, despite Macron’s party lacking an absolute majority in the French parliament. In the absence of support from opposition lawmakers, the government could turn to Article 49.3 of France’s constitution, a mechanism it has used several times already to push through budget-related bills without putting them to a parliamentary vote.

— Marguerite Lacroix contributed to this report.

Credit: CNN -London/Paris