French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday announced the start of an unprecedented "national debate" at the national level in response to the demands of the "yellow vests" movement that is shaking the country.
The gesture is a key bet for the president, who is determined to relaunch his mandate and restore the initiative amid the two-month-old crisis and his popularity slump in opinion polls.
The first visit to Macron outside Paris a month ago will be surrounded by tight security measures, while protesters and trade unions have called for demonstrations at the same site.
A decree issued by the local administration banned a demonstration until Wednesday, where the president will give a signal to start the national dialogue.
In Rouen, about 30 kilometers away, more than 2,500 protesters marched on Saturday in the streets of the city center, leading to clashes with security forces accompanied by attacks on journalists.
The town, which has a population of 3,500 and has no public transport, will be the first leg of a tour of France where Macron will listen to the mayors of all French regions in about 10 such meetings.