France Travel Advisories regarding tourist safety and security

Eiffel tower

Is it still safe to travel to France big cities at the occasion of special events (soccer games, rugby games, olympic games…) ? Well, it is not obvious at all.

Is France a safe place to travel… well… if you avoid really nasty places (even in Paris) and crowded places, maybe…

The danger of public gatherings in France

Lost control of police on 28 May, 2022 in Stade de France near Paris

On Saturday, 28 May, 2022, tens of thousands of fans filtered through Paris towards the Stade de France in Saint-Denis (near Paris) ready to watch Liverpool and Real Madrid go head-to-head for European club football’s premier prize. But the French police lost control of the situation, unable to separate the hundreds of troublemakers who came specially to rip off supporters from families with legitimate tickets. They simply opened fire indiscriminately on the crowd with tear gas, and let robbery and violence happening, blaming English hooligans rather than French troublemakers.

France most dangerous cities

Saint-Denis is routinely ranked as one of the most dangerous cities in France. According to Le Figaro newspaper, Saint-Denis has a personal property and theft rate that more than doubles the national average, and a personal violence rate over three times higher. The city was also the site of a major police raid for harboring the alleged perpetrators of the Nov. 13, 2015, terrorist attacks on the Bataclan concert hall, Stade de France, and the sidewalk patios of several restaurants and cafes, which killed 130 people and injured another 413.

Is 2024 Olympic Games in Paris safe ?

With 13 million visitors expected and 15,000 athletes competing, the level of anxiety over the massive security operation at the Olympics is quite high.

Risks in major public gathering

Security problems related to troublemakers who want to steal money, cell phones, and personal belonging is highly probable, with a relative “laissez-faire” attitude on the part of public forces, as was the case at the Stade de France in 2022, or every year during the 14 juillet national day where hundred of cars are burnt by trouble makers (this number reached 600 burnt cars in 2008 according to lemonde.fr newspaper).

Risk of terrorist attacks like drone attack on the crowd seem also feasible according to France 24 information channel, especially at the occasion of the Opening Ceremony on the Seine on July 26, where a massive crowd is expected.

Conclusion

France is not what you think, or not what you can imagine, in term of security. France on TV is much less risky than in person.

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