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Security Briefing

United States: Department of State International Travel Information

Latest advice,

Reissued with obsolete COVID-19 page links removed.

Exercise increased caution in France due to terrorism and civil unrest.

Country Summary: Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in France. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, local government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, major sporting and cultural events, educational institutions, airports, and other public areas.

Incidents such as pickpocketing and phone snatchings occur frequently and can happen anywhere, especially in crowded areas such as airports, train stations, subway and train cars, and near tourist attractions.

Peaceful demonstrations and strikes in Paris and other cities throughout France occur regularly and can disrupt transportation. On rare occasions, demonstrations have included violence and property damage and police have responded with water cannons and tear gas.

Read the country information page for additional information on travel to France.

If you decide to travel to France:

  • Be aware of your surroundings when traveling to tourist locations and large crowded public venues.
  • Avoid demonstrations and areas with significant police activity.
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities including movement restrictions related to any ongoing police action.
  • Find a safe location and shelter in place if unable to leave the vicinity of a demonstration.
  • Monitor local media for breaking events and adjust your plans based on new information.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Country Security Report for France.
  • Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel. 
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

Australia: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Travel Advice

Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade does not issue travel warnings for specific countries, but issues travel advice for every country. The information below is excerpted from its summary assessments of France

Current as of: 12 December 2022
Last Reviewed: 7 September 2022
Latest Advice: Exercise a high degree of caution in France due to the threat of terrorism

France's domestic terror threat is at the medium level – 'Reinforced security – Risk of Attack'.

Attacks can occur at any time. Methods of attack have included knife attacks, shootings, bombings, and vehicle attacks.

There have been several attacks in France in recent years, including at:

  • places of worship
  • schools
  • shopping areas
  • tourist sites
  • transportation hubs
  • major events which attract large crowds

Be cautious around locations known to be possible terrorist targets.

Authorities have additional powers to deal with counter-terrorism security. In some public areas, they may:

  • restrict access
  • search your bags and vehicle

Expect increased security checks at borders. This includes ID checks, which may cause delays.

To reduce your risks:

  • be alert to possible threats, especially in public places
  • report anything suspicious to the police
  • monitor the news for any new threats
  • take official warnings seriously
  • follow the instructions of local authorities

In the event of an attack, leave the area as soon as it's safe to do so.

The French Government has published advice about how to respond to a terrorist attack.

Follow these Twitter accounts for advice (in French) during major security incidents:

  • @Gendarmerie
  • @PoliceNationale
  • @prefpolice

Terrorism is a threat worldwide.

More information:

  • Terrorism
Civil unrest and political tension

Demonstrations and protests

Protests and large demonstrations are common. Public protests and events that draw large groups of people can turn violent and become riots.

Strikes are quite frequent across France. When they occur, expect demonstrations and significant disruptions, which usually affect public transport and other public services. 

  • avoid protests and demonstrations, and exercise caution if you are caught up in large gatherings/protests
  • monitor local media and other sources for news on possible unrest
  • follow the advice of local authorities

More information:

  • SNCF Trains 
  • Paris Metro and Buses
  • Eurostar

Demonstrations take place across France regularly, including in tourist areas. Protests mostly happen on Saturdays.

To reduce risks:

  • avoid protests, demonstrations, and political rallies
  • avoid suburbs where there have been clashes, particularly at night
  • monitor local media and other sources for news on possible unrest or threats
  • follow the advice of local authorities

More information:

  • Demonstrations and civil unrest


Violent crime

Violent attacks against tourists by groups of young people can occur. These attacks usually happen late at night around major tourist attractions such as:

  • the Champs-Elysées
  • the Louvre
  • the Palais Royal areas
  • the Les Halles district
  • the Latin Quarter in central Paris

To protect yourself from crime:

  • avoid walking in quiet and poorly lit streets, especially at night
  • keep your car doors locked
  • keep luggage and valuables out of sight
  • use ATMs in secure locations such as banks and shopping centres
  • keep your ATM and credit cards in your sight
  • monitor local sources for information about possible safety or security risks

Petty crime

Petty crime is common, including:

  • bag-snatching
  • pickpocketing
  • passport theft
  • theft from cars

Petty crime is particularly common on the streets of larger cities such as Paris, Marseilles and Nice.

Take care to protect your personal belongings.

Be particularly careful in crowded tourist areas and at landmarks.

Thieves often work in groups to distract and rob victims. Prime targets include:

  • airports
  • public transport
  • tourist areas
  • hotel lobbies
  • restaurants and cafes
  • beaches

Criminals use children to distract tourists or even play an active role in theft.

Crime on public transport

Violent theft on public transport has increased.

Muggings and robberies can occur on the trains from Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle (CDG) and Orly airports, particularly late at night and early in the morning.

Violent attacks have occurred on or around:

  • the Gare du Nord train station
  • main train stations in the provinces
  • the RER (regional) train lines linking Paris and its suburbs

Vehicle break-ins

Vehicle crime includes bag-snatching from cars stopped in traffic and theft from unattended vehicles.

This is particularly common:

  • in the south of France near the Spanish and Italian borders
  • on the Remembrance Trail around the Somme and in Normandy

Rental vehicles are often targets, even in small villages.

To protect yourself:

  • never leave valuables in your car
  • lock your car when you leave it
  • use secure parking facilities, especially overnight
  • be alert at isolated automated service stations
  • avoid sleeping in rest areas beside autoroutes (motorways) and major roads
  • avoid sleeping in makeshift or unauthorised campgrounds on the outskirts of cities

Domestic Violence

French authorities have introduced emergency phone numbers for victims of domestic violence. In an emergency, call the police (dial 17) or a 24/7 specialised hotline (dial 3919) to call for help.

Scams and fraud

Credit card and ATM fraud involving 'skimming' machines that can store card data is increasing. Automated service stations and tourist areas are often targets for this.

Be wary of strangers who invite you for a free drink or show at a private club. Foreigners have had large amounts of money stolen from their credit cards before being allowed to leave.

Be cautious when booking travel. Use reputable travel providers only. Avoid giving your personal details to unknown sources. Identity theft through accommodation scams has been reported.

Avoid common scams around tourist areas. These are often groups of petty criminals targeting foreigners and tourists.

More information:

  • Scams
Swimming safety

The beaches along the French Atlantic coast can be dangerous, especially on the south-western coast. Several people drown every year.

Swim at supervised beaches, and follow the colour-coded flags that warn against dangerous swimming conditions.

If in doubt, seek local advice.

Climate and natural disasters

France experiences natural disasters and severe weather, including:

  • avalanches
  • mudslides
  • forest fires
  • flooding

If you're in an area affected by a natural disaster or severe weather:

  • follow the advice of local authorities
  • keep in touch with friends and family
  • monitor local media

Avalanches and mudslides

Avalanches and mudslides can happen in some mountain areas. Several people have died in recent years.

If you're skiing or mountaineering:

  • monitor advice on weather and safety conditions
  • don't move off marked slopes or trails

In some areas, if you ski or mountaineer off marked trails, authorities may arrest or prosecute you.

Forest fires

Forest and grass fires often occur during the summer months. You can track active fires on the EU's European Forest Fire Information System.


Flash flooding can make road travel extremely difficult. People have lost their lives due to flooding.

Disruptions to communication infrastructure may occur.

More information:

  • Floods and fires

United Kingdom: Foreign and Commonwealth Office Foreign Travel Advice