France is a country consisting of metropolitan France in western Europe, and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan France stretches from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. The overseas regions consist of French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans.
There aren’t many things not to like in this dreamy European country. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations, both in Europe and the rest of the world. Its joie de vivre has been described for years in many books, movies, legendary paintings, and you can feel it when passing its countless restaurants, villages and enjoying its world-famous gastronomy. Others enjoy France’s considerable cultural heritage, what’s left behind its great philosophers, writers and artists, and some just walk the streets and enjoy the music of this country’s beautiful language. Not to mention its long coastlines, massive mountain ranges and breathtaking farmlands and vineyards.
Warnings & Dangers in France
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
France is very safe to travel to. There is the heightened risk of pickpockets and scammers, though, and you should remain vigilant for any suspicious activities since this country has been targeted by terrorists many times. However, if you apply basic precaution rules, that should minimize the risk of something going wrong.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM
Transportation and taxis are generally safe and reliable in France, though there are many pickpockets in Parisian subway, and in other forms of public transport. Taxis are usually your safest bet.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH
As in any European top destination, there are pickpockets at popular tourist landmarks in France. They are your biggest worry when traveling to this country. Follow your common sense and remain vigilant at all times, especially in public transportation and at crowded stations.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW
There is no particular threat of natural disasters in France, except for the threats from avalanches that can be a considerable risk when going skiing in the Alps.
MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM
There are low chances of getting mugged or kidnapped in this country, although it is advised to remain cautious and avoid poorly lit and deserted streets and areas. If you find yourself in such a situation, hand over your belongings immediately.
TERRORISM RISK : HIGH
Since this country has been targeted by terrorists numerous times, (as well as some countries near France, such as Denmark or Belgium) there is reason to believe that this country can be targeted again. This is why it is important to remain aware of your surroundings at all times, and report any suspicious activity.
SCAMS RISK : HIGH
As in any country, especially a top tourist destination, there is risk of getting scammed. In France, Paris and Marseilles are especially notorious for being scam hot-spots. Be wary of people trying to distract you or offering you unwanted help, check your change twice and always negotiate every service beforehand.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
France is very safe to travel to, if you are a female traveling solo. Apart from a few general precaution rules you should apply, such as not walking alone in poorly lit and deserted areas, not finding yourself in strange company at night, etc, you can relax because France is very safe in this respect.
So... How Safe Is France Really?
France is generally a safe country to visit, though its safety has been mildly compromised during the last couple of years, due to numerous terrorist attacks. However, disregarding this, the precaution measures you will have to take are on par with those you would have to take in any other popular tourist destination, so that shouldn’t stop you from traveling to this gorgeous country. France is generally a low-crime area, and the inner city areas and few selected suburbs are completely safe at all hours, but the problem persists in larger cities, especially Paris: there, the murder rate is about the double of the surrounding countries, and larger cities are literally filled with pickpockets and petty theft. Violent crime, especially against tourists or strangers is rare, but you should bear in mind that purse snatching and pickpocketing is extremely common.
Another major issue in France are the terrorist attacks that have been happening during the last couple of years. Due to this, police and France’s military units are patrolling the important landmarks, the Paris subway, train stations and airports. It is not uncommon, and almost expected, to see armed patrols in those areas. However, this is a good thing for tourists, since their presence scares away any pickpockets or bag snatchers that might be in the vicinity.
- Visas - Most countries do not need a visa in order to enter France, for any stays shorter than 90 days. Any longer than that, you might need to acquire a visa. EU nationals can stay (and work) in France for as long as they like. Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months past your planned date of return. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
- Currency - Euro is the official currency for France and most of Europe. You can find ATMs at every airport, most train stations and on every other street corner in all towns and cities. Credit cards are widely accepted throughout the country.
- Weather - The weather in France is generally cold in winter and mild in summer, though along the French Riviera you can expect mild winters and hot summers, and this applies to the South West of France, too. Along the Rhône Valley you can experience wind known as the mistral and its strong, cold and dry force. In Paris, July is the hottest month with an average temperature of 20°C and the coldest is January with temperatures as low as 5°C.
- Airports - Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, sometimes referred to as Roissy Airport, is the largest international airport in France. It is located about 25 km to the northeast of Paris. Other large airports in France are in Nice, Lyon and Marseille.
- Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to France, since it covers not only medical problems, but also theft and loss of valuables.