Alerts

France – travel safety

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Current smart traveller advice

Visitors to France are advised to exercise a high degree of caution due to the increased chance of a terrorist attack. After recent attacks in Paris and Nice, the chance of another is very high. Tourists must be vigilant and monitor news for updates on potential dangers.

Safety tips and advice

Scams

Pickpocketing: Pickpocketing is an ongoing problem in most major cities around the world, including Paris. The Louvre is where the Mona Lisa painting is housed, and attracts mass crowds of tourists every day. It’s also a spot where pickpockets target said visitors when they are distracted trying to get a photo of the famous artwork.

Stay alert and keep your belongings securely on your person at all times.

String bracelet scam: This is a very popular scam in France and involves groups of scammers carrying long coloured yarns offering to make tourists friendship rings or bracelets. They will often tie these so tightly on you and demand ludicrous amounts of money, while still holding on to the yarn on your wrist or finger.

It’s best to avoid eye contact and to walk past hastily without engaging in conversation.

Taxi scam: In the major cities, it’s common to find taxi drivers who will purposely take a longer route landing naive visitors who are new to the city with a hefty sum at the end. You may also find some operating without a meter, which can lead to higher costs which are often made up.

To avoid both of the above circumstances, be sure to have a rough idea of the direction and area you are planning to go to and never get into a taxi without a meter.

Crime

Crime rates in France aren’t too much of a concern and are typically very similar to other European countries. However, petty crime is fairly common, especially in the bigger cities, as mentioned previously. Pickpockets are consistently targeting tourists and are often highly skilled and operating in an organised gang for maximum results. It has been found that girls as young as 12 are pickpocketing, due to it being harder to prosecute and detain them. In busy, tourist-filled areas, petty crime is more common and visitors must keep belongings securely on them at all times.

Terrorism

The terrorist threat in France is currently at a high level. Due to recent attacks in Paris and Nice, the likelihood of another is increasingly probable. Islamist extremist attacks and the recent French military intervention against Daesh (ISIL) are both groups to be aware of.

An attack could happen in busy areas and visitors are advised to exercise a high level of caution at all times. Monitor the news, be alert to such threats and in the event of an attack, leave the area immediately.

Information current as of March 18, 2018. Check smartraveller.gov.au for the latest updates.


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