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Security Briefing

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Travel Essentials

Security Briefing: Security Assessment

Normal Travel Precautions

Elevated Risk

High Risk

Normal travel precautions apply when traveling in France. Most crimes are non-violent, but pickpocketing is a significant problem. Be very aware of your personal belongings when out in public. Valuables (e.g., money, credit cards, and I.D.s) should be kept in internal coat pockets or in pouches hung around the neck or inside clothes. If a thief is caught in the act, a simple pickpocketing could turn into an assault, or worse if you attempt to capture the thief. You can shout out for police assistance to attract attention, but do not pursue the thief.

Avoid protests and demonstrations, and areas surrounding their locations. Particularly at night, avoid outlying Paris suburbs; there have been instances of civil unrest and clashes between local youths and police forces. Avoid public parks after dark. Do not use ATMs in isolated and poorly lit areas. 

Women should exercise extra caution when out alone at night, or consider traveling out at night with companions. While taxis in Paris are generally safe, there has been an increase in reported harassment and assaults on women by taxi drivers.

In economically depressed areas, there is a high incidence of “smash and grab” robberies. Thieves approach a vehicle stopped in traffic, smash a window, reach into the vehicle to grab a purse or valuable item, then flee. Keep your doors locked and valuables out of sight.

When driving through France, lane markings and sign placements may be unclear. Be prepared to make last-minute maneuvers. Service stations are available every 40 kilometers (25 miles) on major highways, but are not very common on secondary roads. Traveling by train is safer than driving in France. There are trains connecting major cities as well as subway systems throughout the country.

Primary Sources: The US Department of State's "International Travel" website (, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's "Smartraveller" website (, and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office's "Foreign Travel Advice" website (