- Travel in France
- Where to go
What to see and do
- the connoisseur's guide to France
is not in lockdown, as of February 2021. Travel within France is
permitted, but there are strict controls on coming into France from
other countries. Most travel within the European Union remains
authorised, but visitors arriving in France from another EU country
must be in possession of a negative COVID test result, issued within
the previous 72 hours. Stricter measures are in place for visitors from
Belgium, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovenia, as well as from
non-EU countries, including the UK. Bookmark this page -
when travel and tourism restrictions are relaxed or lifted, this will
For information on French measures to combat the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic, see Coronavirus in France
tourists and visitors safe in France in 2021?
military mingling with tourists help ensure the safety of tourists in
short, yes. Very much so ! Statistically speaking, you are several times
more likely to be the victim of a traffic accident at home than victim
of a terrorist attack in France. And with a massive police
presence, Paris is today arguably one
of the safest tourist cities in
Of course, the presence of tourists in Paris, as
in any other tourist hotspot, attracts petty criminals of all sorts,
keen to deprive unsuspecting tourists of their money or valuables...
usually be stealth, not by violence. But that's not a problem
specific to France or to Paris; it's a problem specific to tourism as a
whole. Take care, look after your money and your papers
carefully, don't fall for the tales of the tricksters, and you should
be perfectly safe in France, wherever you go
In 2019 several cities in the
world witnessed terror attacks. However the most recent major
terror incident in
France was the
terror attack in Nice, on Bastille Day, 2016
barring "lone wolf" attacks on law enforcement personnel,
no major incident . Armed police and military are on
patrol in all major tourist areas, and police intelligence has
successfully prevented terror attacks in France in the past year,
as in many other countries.
And in France, as anywhere in Europe, "gun crime" is pretty
well non-existent. The only people allowed to carry guns on the street
are the cops, the military and security guards....
impressive police presence on the streets of Paris reassures Parisians
and visitors alike.
Protests in Paris : a
vest" demonstrators made the headlines in Autumn / Fall
2018 and early
2019 with highly mediatized protests in Paris and a handful of other
French cities. Photos and footage of riot police and burning cars on
the Champs Elysées make good TV and good social media opportunities –
specially when occurring in one of the international hotspots of Europe
where camera crews and bloggers from worldwide are just waiting for
things to film and photograph.
But more prosaically, the Yellow Vest movement has never
represented more than a minor inconvenience to tourists. It is not a
risk. "Rioters burn cars
in Paris" makes great headlines, dramatic TV footage, and
great substance for
France is carrying on as normal" does not, which is why it is very easy
to get the
Over 130,000 people demonstrated in France one day
in December 2018, the fourth Saturday of "yellow vest" protests. That's
lot ; but it still left 67 million people - or 99.8% of the
population - who were not out demonstrating.
While nobody can predict the future, specially in
our turbulent times, barring some unpredictable event, life in France
will maybe return to normal in the course of 2021; and France will remain a pretty safe country
Seeing risks in perspective
In 2015, 147
people died in France as victims of
That was exceptional; it was more in one single year than the total for
the previous 30 years combined.
By contrast, in the USA in 2019, 15,208
firearms – and that's the official figure excluding suicides....
in the fatal year of 2015, the likelihood of being killed in a terror
attack in France
was just 1
- almost one in half a million. This
is a very
small risk compared to other risks of accidental death.
It is sobering to compare this rate
to annual figures for the risk of getting killed in the USA,
- 1 in 19,000 of dying in a road
- 1 in 25,000 from assault by a
- 1 in 99,000 of dying in a
- 1 in 150,000 of alcohol
European countries, road deaths are lower and firearms deaths are much
lower; but even for Europeans, being the victim of a terror attack
than being the victim of a road accident or
spite of the alarmist warnings about Paris,
there can only be one answer to the question "Is it safe to visit
France" and that is a resounding
France is safe
and Paris is one of the safer "world cities". And unless
some massive international terror
campaign should break out in the coming weeks and months, France will
remain a safe place to visit. It is very important to see
things in perspective – something that is increasingly difficult
to do in the age of fake news, viral tweets and clickbait clips.
every tourist city worldwide, Paris has its share of fraudsters trying
to rip off unsuspecting tourists. Don't fall for the young
in tourist spots, wanting you to sign a petition, or the card
tricksters on the steps of Montmartre. Check out these and
, in Paris and worldwide, on Travelscams.org
There are some 32000
districts, known as communes, in
For about 31,800 of these communes, the risk
of a terror outrage is close to nil
for some 200 sensitive or symbolic communes
there is a risk that someone or some people will plan an attack, which
is why the terror alert in France, as in many other countries, is
currently on "high". But the risk of any of these planned outrages
actually succeeding has to remain low. Some will; most
won't. It is quite possible that there will be one or more
attacks in France in the months ahead. It is highly
the potential tourist reading this page, will get caught up in it.
The next terrorist attack or mass-shooting, when it comes,
may be in
Paris, but it is just as likely to be in London, or
Brussels, or New
York, or Los Angeles, or Berlin, or Madrid, or Sydney, or Copenhagen...
not to mention
Bombay or Colombo. It could be at a major world airport,
or on a train somewhere. No-one knows.
On the other hand some things are certain.
In France, terrorists are unlikely
to target a small-town holiday
resort frequented largely
by tourists, and they are unlikely
any rural location. There would be no symbolic value in either of
Paris is a prime target, because it is
symbolic; but there is such tight security in and around the French
capital that it may not be a target. And in any event, Paris is a very
large city, and even in Paris,
the likelihood of you, the tourist, actually being in the wrong place
at the wrong time, is minuscule.
Statistically, you are much more likely to be the
victim of a road accident at home (as a driver or passenger or
pedestrian) than the victim of a terror attack in
France. You are even more likely to be the victim of
accidental poisoning in your home country, than victim of a terror
attack while on holiday in France. And probably you have never even
thought the risk of being the victim of accidental poisoning.
If one person a day is the victim of poisoning, it does not
make the national news; but that's 365 deaths in a year. Yet if a
quarter of that number, that's 91 people, are killed in a terror attack
once in the year, it makes major headline international news, even
though less people are concerned..
So to the question; is it safe to visit France
this year ? the answer is yes
Even if, instead of coming for a week or
two to France, you decided to stay in your own home, or venture to some
remote spot far from any terrorist's wildest dreams, you could still
victim of an accident. Absolute safety doesn't exist.
A terrorist attack is just one among dozens of
misadventures that could befall a tourist while on holiday anywhere;
and an unlikely one at that. And compared to other places in the
world, France in 2020 is likely to remain a pretty good place
to be, in
terms of relative safety.
have been 18 islamist-related terror attacks in France since
the year 2000
of these, only four, including the 2016 Nice attack, resulted in more
than two deaths. The total number of deaths from terrorism in France
this century is now around 230.
put things firmly in perspective:
in the USA, in
the six and a half months
from Jan 1st to July 15th 2016, 6190 people were murdered
firearms, and 2693 pedestrians were killed on the roads. (Source
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