Safety and security - France travel advice (2023)

Industrial action

If you’re due to travel to or within France, check the website of your chosen operator for the latest information before you set off.

Avoid demonstrations wherever possible and follow the advice of the local authorities.

Public transport

If you use an individual paper ticket on the bus or on trains, make sure you validate it in the machine on the bus or in the station. If you don’t validate your ticket, you may be fined.

Crime

For assistance in any emergency situation, dial 112.

Take sensible precautions against street and car crime. Don’t keep your passport, credit cards and other valuables in the same place; use the inside compartments in bags where possible. Carry your bag across your body rather than on your shoulder.

Pickpockets can work in gangs: one to distract you while the other one goes into your bag. Keep your belongings close to you in restaurants and bars. Don’t be distracted around tourist attractions and cash points.

(Video) Is Paris Safe to Visit? Safety Advice for Paris

Thieves and pickpockets operate on the Paris underground, RER lines and at mainline stations, for example Gare du Nord.

There have been several victims of serious assault on the RER line B, which serves Paris Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports and Paris Gare du Nord Eurostar terminus. There have also been serious assaults on RER line D, which serves the Stade de France.

Alcohol and drugs can lead to you being less alert, less in control and less aware of your environment. If you’re going to drink, know your limit and take sensible precautions such as not becoming separated from friends.

Motorway journeys are usually trouble-free, but if you’re asked by another motorist to stop and you decide to do so, park your car in a public area with lights - like a service station. If you’re involved in a car accident or witness an accident on the motorway, use the orange emergency phones to ask for help.

Hiking, winter sports and outdoor activities

Check weather forecasts and conditions and make sure you’re properly equipped. Don’t undertake any activity alone, and consider hiring a guide for expert advice. Always leave copies of your itinerary with someone. For travel to mountainous areas, make sure your insurance covers you for extra medical costs, repatriation to your country of residence and in the départements of Savoie and Haute-Savoie possible transfer to Switzerland for treatment.

Observe all warnings regarding avalanches and where appropriate consider carrying avalanche search equipment. You can check the latest avalanche risk areas on the Meteo Alarm website. Conditions on roads in mountainous areas can quickly become difficult in winter. You should carry water, food, warm clothing and medicines in your vehicle.

For sports activities like skiing, potholing and mountaineering, and for sports classed as particularly dangerous (eg off-piste skiing, snow-boarding, mountain biking, climbing, ice-climbing, paragliding), make sure you’re covered by your insurance. This should include mountain rescue services and helicopter costs.

(Video) WHAT YOU NEED TO DRIVE IN FRANCE | 2022

Read more about how to stay safe on the slopes.

Read more about how to stay safe in case of a forest fire. In an emergency call 18 or 112.

Beaches and Swimming

Take care when swimming in the sea, as some beaches may have strong undercurrents (“baïnes”), especially along the Atlantic Coast. Local sea conditions can endanger even strong swimmers. Many – but not all – beaches provide lifeguards and flag warning systems. You should make sure you understand the warning system before swimming and always follow the advice closely (a red flag means swimming is forbidden). You can find information on the specific rip tide danger on the coast of the Gironde and Landes departments from the Gironde Prefecture/French local authority website (in French).

Further advice can be found onABTA’s swim safe pages.

Follow local advice if jellyfish are present in the sea.

Road travel

In 2021 there were 3,219 road deaths in the France (source: French road safety observatory). This equates to 4.8 road deaths per 100,000 of population and compares to the UK average of 2.6 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2019.

If you are planning to drive in France, see information on Driving Abroad.

(Video) New safety instructions | Air France

Licences and documents

To drive in France you must be 18 years old and have a valid UK driving licence, insurance and vehicle documents. You do not need to carry an additional International Driving Permit (IDP). If you do not own the vehicle you’re driving, you should get written permission from the registered owner.

If you’re living in France, check the country Living in Guide for information on requirements for residents.

Driving a British car abroad

You may need a UK sticker to drive your car outside the UK. From 28 September 2021 UK stickers have replaced GB stickers. Check the GOV.UK Displaying number plates website for more information on what to do if you are driving outside the UK.

Driving regulations

Driving regulations in France can differ from those in the UK:

  • The normal rule is to give way to the right each time you reach an intersection
  • The maximum speed on autoroutes is 130kph (80mph) in good weather and 110kph (68mph) in poor weather. Speeding can result in heavy, on the spot fines, and your vehicle and licence could be confiscated
  • Using mobile phones with headsets or ear pieces when driving is forbidden
  • In-car radar detectors and satellite navigation systems warning of the presence of speed cameras or radars are illegal, whether in use or not
  • It’s compulsory to carry a warning triangle and reflective jacket. The reflective jacket must be stored inside the vehicle itself and accessible without getting out of the car
  • It’s illegal to cross, even partially, on to the hard shoulder of a motorway without good reason.

See the European Commission, AA and RAC guides on driving in France.

Road safety

Many drivers undertake long journeys in France. Plan your journey carefully, taking into account unknown roads, weather conditions and fatigue. Make sure you take regular breaks.

Keep vehicle doors locked in slow moving traffic and secure your vehicle when it is left unattended.

(Video) Rick Steves’ European Travel Tips and Tricks

Information on road safety and potential traffic black spots (in French only) is available on the Bison Futé website. Alternatively, real-time information on road traffic conditions is available on 107.7 FM in French and in English (Motorways radio – Autoroute Info).

Air pollution sticker

All vehicles, including motorbikes, driving in central Paris, Lyon and Grenoble now need to display a special ‘pollution sticker’. You must display a sticker to drive in central Paris from 8am to 8pm on Monday to Friday. The requirement to display a sticker can be implemented at any time, depending on pollution levels. Some older vehicles don’t qualify for a sticker at all due to their high emissions; these vehicles can’t be driven in central Paris at all from 8am to 8pm on Monday to Friday. In order to manage air pollution levels, cities may also limit vehicle access to town centres and main roads, including the Paris region. For more information, and to apply for a sticker, visit the French Ministry of Environment website (in English).

Road hauliers

There have been reports of burglaries taking place while lorry drivers have been asleep in their vehicles. Avoid parking in isolated or dark areas of unsupervised camping grounds or car parks. Consider installing an alarm in your vehicle.

There have been many attempts by illegal migrants to enter lorries while stationary or in slow moving traffic. Take sensible precautions against attempts to break in to your vehicle.

Heavy goods vehicles over 7.5 tonnes are banned from driving on roads in France on certain days during the year, including all Sundays and public holidays. Dates are set by the French Ministry of Transport. Full details of restrictions can be found on the Bison Futé website.

British haulage companies and their employees should contact the Road Hauliers Association for further information about driving in France.

Camping cars

There have been reports of burglaries taking place while travellers have been asleep in their caravans, mobile homes and other vehicles. Avoid parking in isolated or dark areas of unsupervised camping grounds or car parks and consider installing an alarm in your caravan or mobile home.

(Video) European Travel Skills: Money & Safety

There have been many attempts by illegal migrants to enter vehicles while stationary or in slow moving traffic. Take sensible precautions against break in to your vehicle, particularly in Northern France.

FAQs

What is the current travel advisory for France? ›

France - Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution in France due to terrorism and civil unrest. Country Summary: Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in France.

Do you need a breathalyser in France 2022? ›

5. Breathalyser kit. You may be aware that up until recently, all drivers and motorcyclists had to carry a personal breathalyser kit with at least two disposable testing units. However, in 2020 the rule changed to no longer make it a legal requirement.

How can I travel to France safely? ›

8 tips for enjoying Paris while staying safe
  1. Beware of pickpockets. ...
  2. Make payments by banker's card. ...
  3. Remain vigilant. ...
  4. Keep your baggage close to you. ...
  5. Keep a copy of your ID papers. ...
  6. Contact the relevant authorities after the loss or theft of your ID papers. ...
  7. If you are assaulted, call an emergency number.

Do I need a GB sticker in France? ›

Driving in France FAQs. Do I need a GB/Uk sticker to drive in France? You will need to display a UK sticker on the rear of your car. GB stickers have been discontinued.

Do you need booster shot to enter France? ›

Since 14 March 2022, the “vaccine pass” has been lifted in France in all areas where it was previously required (cultural and leisure venues, commercial catering, professional trade shows, etc.).

What does fully vaccinated mean in France? ›

Vaccination, on condition that people have completed a full course of vaccination and left the necessary period of time after the final injection, i.e.: 28 days after the injection for single-dose vaccines (Johnson & Johnson); 7 days after the second injection for double-dose vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca);

Do I need a clean air certificate to drive in France? ›

The Crit'Air certificate is obligatory for all vehicles driving around, or parked in, restricted or alternate driving zones, as well as certain LEZ (Low Emissions Zones). It is therefore obligatory for driving in cities such as Paris, Lyon, Lille and numerous other French conurbations.

Do I need an insurance green card to drive in France? ›

Do I need a green card to drive in France? A green card from your car insurance provider isn't needed to drive in France. However, you will need to have at least third-party insurance cover on your car before you take it into France.

Do I need alcohol tester in France? ›

In all honesty this French Breathalyser law has been a bit of a joke from the start and I've written a guide to it below. The main takeaway from this article is NO you don't have to have them anymore, the law has been scrapped. However if you want to take some, that's fine.

Is France safer than UK? ›

In the UK total recorded crimes of violence against the person were 1,500 per 100,000 and property crime 5,287. The French equivalents were 748 and 3,436 – significant lower, even allowing for any differences in the way the countries record these kinds of crime.

Is France safe for solo female Travellers? ›

France is a great place for solo female travelers

Whether you want to nurse a coffee and people-watch in Nice, explore a Parisian museum, or wander the beaches in Normandy, France offers plenty of wonderful activities. Locals tell us that women traveling solo in France should feel safe nearly anywhere they go.

Do I need a Covid QR code in France? ›

If you receive your COVID-19 vaccination in France, you can obtain a French 'pass sanitaire (which is a version of the EU Digital Covid Certificate) in order to travel internationally. To do so, you should scan the QR code on your paper vaccine certification via the French app TousAntiCovid.

Do you need a UK or GB sticker to drive in France? ›

From 28 September 2021, you must identify that your vehicle is from the UK when driving abroad. If your number plate includes the UK identifier with the Union flag (also known as the Union Jack), you do not need a UK sticker to drive in France.

What documents do I need to drive into France? ›

The Legal Requirements Checklist

A valid driving licence covering you for the vehicle you are driving/riding. An up-to-date passport (with at least six months left to run) for each occupant of the vehicle. Vehicle insurance documents, proving at least third-party cover.

Do I need NHS Covid pass for France? ›

you no longer need to complete any formalities related to Covid before your arrival in Metropolitan or Overseas France, and are no longer required to present a health pass, whichever country or area you are travelling from; you are no longer required to provide justification for travel (“compelling reason”);

Does France accept rapid antigen test for entry? ›

> Travellers no longer need to present a sworn declaration that they are not infected with COVID-19 and pledge to take an antigen test or biological exam upon arrival into France. >

How do I get a vaccine pass for France? ›

for foreign students: directly online ; for foreign nationals who are not students: in pharmacies in France. They should present their passport and the paper version of the original vaccination certificate in a pharmacy offering the service (a list is available on the Ministry for Solidarity and Health website).

Do you need booster to travel to Europe? ›

No. At the time of this writing, all European countries require no form of vaccination or COVID testing to gain entry.

What happens if you test positive for COVID in France? ›

French authorities require people who test positive for COVID-19 to self-isolate for 7 days (if fully vaccinated) or 10 days (if partially vaccinated or unvaccinated), and alert those with whom you have been in contact.

Can you buy a clean air sticker in France? ›

Non-French motorists can already order the Crit'Air sticker at www.certificat-air.gouv.fr/demande (External link) (page available in both English and French). It will arrive within five working days and must be displayed inside the vehicle windscreen.

What happens if I don't have a crit air sticker? ›

What happens if I don't buy a Crit'Air vignette? Fines of between €68 and €135 (£59 and £117) are in place for vehicles that don't display an appropriate sticker and/or are driven in restricted zones when they shouldn't.

Does France require a negative test? ›

Travellers are no longer required to present a sworn statement of non-contamination and an undertaking to undergo an antigen test or screening upon arrival in the country.

Do I need an international driving permit for France 2022? ›

Normally, people driving in France for tourism purposes on non-EU driving licences must either obtain an international driving permit or an official translation of their licence into French. These documents should be used in addition to the standard driving licence.

Do I need a green card to drive in Europe in 2022? ›

You do not need to carry a green card when you drive in the EU (including Ireland), Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Serbia, or Switzerland. You still need valid vehicle insurance.

Can I drive in France with my UK insurance? ›

If you're driving in most European countries

All UK vehicle insurance provides the minimum third party cover to drive in: the EU (including Ireland) Andorra.

Do you need hi vis jackets in France? ›

French law requires each car to carry warning triangles and high-vis jackets for all occupants (which must be easily accessible).

Can I buy a crit air sticker in France? ›

Where Can You Buy Crit'Air Stickers In France? The Crit'Air anti-pollution vehicle sticker is available at car dealerships, online, and at auto parts and home improvement stores. You can buy them before driving at a number of locations across France, as long as the store is a registered Crit'Air partner.

Can I use my phone as a sat nav in France? ›

Google maps works pretty well in France, I'd say as well as it does in the US. You either need a data plan or to download offline maps (or both). Offline maps will only give driving directions I think, not walking or public transport. I've also used my Garmin Nuvi GPS with European maps, and that works well too.

Do people wear jeans in Paris? ›

Parisians do wear jeans and t-shirts, but only in appropriate situations, and you'll notice their jeans and t-shirts are a lot more design-y and cut a lot slimmer. When you're going out to eat in a restaurant, think of how you'd dress for that same level of restaurant back home, and then dress nicer than that.

What are 3 things tourists should remember when visiting Paris? ›

10 Things to Know Before Going to Paris
  • Don't gamble or buy anything on the streets. ...
  • Don't butt out on the street. ...
  • Avoid restaurants in very touristy spots. ...
  • Don't buy croissants or bread in big chain stores. ...
  • Stand right. ...
  • Avoid expensive rooftops. ...
  • Avoid fancy cafés. ...
  • Learn a few words in French.
16 Nov 2016

How do you not act like a tourist in Paris? ›

Be seen, not heard.

A dead giveaway for a tourist is speaking with a loud voice. French people tend to be quieter than most Europeans, so keep that in mind when you are out and about. Use your "indoor voice" that you would have in a museum, and you're good to go!

What is the most common crime in France? ›

Pickpockets are by far the most significant problem. In addition to purses and wallets, smart phones and small electronic devices are particular targets. In Paris, pickpockets are commonly children under the age of 16 because they are difficult to prosecute.

What is the safest country in Europe? ›

  1. Iceland. Opening the list of the safest countries in Europe is Iceland, which has ranked as the safest country worldwide for more than 10 consecutive years. ...
  2. Ireland. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the country known for its lush green hills has very few red flags. ...
  3. Denmark. ...
  4. Austria. ...
  5. Portugal. ...
  6. Slovenia. ...
  7. Czech Republic. ...
  8. Switzerland.

Is it safe to walk at night in France? ›

If you are not used to wandering around Paris at night, do not try to do so without doing your research before. It is better to get to know the neighborhoods well by day before hoping to wander there at night. In general, try avoiding streets that are too dark and where there is no one else if you are alone.

What is considered disrespectful in France? ›

French people tend not to visit unannounced or uninvited. To do so is considered rude. When invited to a dinner, it is common for guests to ask their hosts if they are required to bring something on the day. Guests may also bring a bottle of wine or dessert.

Should you tip in Paris? ›

You won't need to calculate a tip. Not a major one, anyway. As opposed to the U.S., where most waiters make their living from tips, servers in Paris are paid a living wage. And since service is already included in the price, no one is expecting you to tack on an additional 20 to 25 percent at the end of the meal.

How do you find Covid QR? ›

Download the CovPass-App onto your smartphone and open the app. Hold your smartphone's camera above the QR code and use the CovPass-App to scan the EU Digital COVID Certificate. The certificate and the QR code will be loaded onto your smartphone together.

How do I get my Covid QR code UK? ›

You can get a digital NHS COVID Pass online or by using the NHS App.
...
You can get an NHS COVID Pass sent by email immediately if you:
  1. are 5 years or over.
  2. live in England or the Isle of Man.
  3. have a mobile phone number or email address on your GP record – check with the GP surgery if you're not sure.

Where can I get a travel certificate for France? ›

the exempted movement certificate for Metropolitan France which can be downloaded on the Ministry of the Interior's website. You must present this certificate to travel companies before using your travel ticket, as well as to border control authorities (for travel by air, sea and land, including by rail).

Do I need breathalyser in France 2022? ›

5. Breathalyser kit. You may be aware that up until recently, all drivers and motorcyclists had to carry a personal breathalyser kit with at least two disposable testing units. However, in 2020 the rule changed to no longer make it a legal requirement.

Do I need a spare bulb kit for driving in France? ›

Spare bulbs and fuses are in the driving in France requirements as it's the law in France and most other European countries. You don't need to get a replacement for each and every bulb and fuse but a standard spare bulb kit will cover 95% of all you'll ever likely to need.

What documents do I need to drive to France from UK? ›

Licences and documents

To drive in France you must be 18 years old and have a valid UK driving licence, insurance and vehicle documents. You do not need to carry an additional International Driving Permit (IDP).

What two safety items must be carried in your car in Europe? ›

Required equipment for driving in Europe
  • Reflective jackets (there must be one for each passenger and be kept within the cabin of the car)
  • Warning triangle (compulsory in most countries)
  • Headlamp beam deflectors (depending on your car, you'll either need deflector stickers or have to adjust the beam manually)
20 May 2022

Where do you put the GB sticker on a car in France? ›

From 28 September 2021 onwards you need to display a UK sticker clearly on the rear of your vehicle (without exception) in Spain, Cyprus or Malta. For other European countries like France, Germany etc, merely having the new UK and Union Jack on your number plate is sufficient.

Are there Covid restrictions to enter France? ›

COVID-19: Can I enter France? [fr]

Proof of a compelling reason for travel can no longer be requested; Travellers no longer need to present a sworn declaration that they are not infected with COVID-19 and pledge to take an antigen test or biological exam upon arrival into France.

Do you have to wear a mask in France 2022? ›

Public spaces and services

From 1 August 2022, face masks are no longer mandatory in health establishments, but remain strongly recommended. Some local health authorities may still require masks, for example, Paris Hospitals (AP-HP), where masks remain mandatory for those aged 6 and above.

Do I need a Covid test to fly from France to USA? ›

Effective January 26, the United States will require all travelers to the United States – including all U.S. citizens and including transit passenger — ages 2 and older to present a negative COVID-19 viral or antigen test result or evidence of having contracted and recovered from COVID-19 prior to boarding the plane.

Do I need a Covid test to go to France now? ›

Justification of travel (the “compelling reason”) is no longer required; Travellers are no longer required to present a sworn statement of non-contamination and an undertaking to undergo an antigen test or screening upon arrival in the country.

What happens if I test positive in France? ›

French authorities require people who test positive for COVID-19 to self-isolate for 7 days (if fully vaccinated) or 10 days (if partially vaccinated or unvaccinated), and alert those with whom you have been in contact.

Do I need to complete an EU PLF for France? ›

The EU-PLF form is for travellers arriving on the territory of a European Union Member State. While rules to fill the form may vary between EU countries, it is compulsory for travellers who wish to enter France.

Do you need a Covid cert to fly in Europe? ›

You must be 18 or older, hold a valid Irish passport, and have reliable proof (such as a Northern Irish COVID vaccination certificate or have a valid COVID vaccination certificate) that you have received an EMA- approved vaccination.

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