Safety and Security - France Travel Tips (2023)

labor dispute

If you are traveling to or within France, check your chosen carrier's website for the latest information before travelling.

If possible, avoid demonstrations and follow the guidelines of local authorities.

public transportation

If you use a single paper ticket on the bus or train, validate it at the machine at the bus or train station. Failure to validate your ticket may result in a fine.


For help in an emergency, dial 112.

Take sensible precautions against street and car crime. Do not keep your passport, credit cards and other valuables in the same place; If possible, use the inner compartments of the bags. Carry your bag across your body instead of over your shoulder.

Pickpockets can work together in gangs: one to distract you while the other goes into your pocket. Store your belongings at restaurants and bars near you. Don't get distracted by tourist attractions and ATMs.

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Thieves and pickpockets operate on the Paris Metro, RER lines and long-distance train stations such as Gare du Nord.

There were several casualties of heavy attacks on line B of the RER, which serves Paris Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports and the Eurostar Paris Gare du Nord terminal. There were also serious attacks on line D of the RER, which serves the Stade de France.

Alcohol and drugs can make you less alert, less in control, and less aware of your surroundings. If you drink, know your limit and take reasonable precautions like drinking. B. not to part with friends.

Driving on the freeway is usually fine, but if another driver tells you to stop and you decide to stop, park your car in a public area with lights, such as a streetlight. B. a gas station. If you are involved in a car accident or witness an accident on the road, use theorange emergency numbersasking for help.

Hiking, winter sports and outdoor activities

Check the forecasts and weather conditions and make sure you are properly equipped. Don't do activities alone and consider hiring a guide for expert guidance. Always leave copies of your itinerary with someone. When traveling to mountainous areas, make sure your insurance covers additional medical expenses, repatriation to your country of residence and, in Savoy and Haute-Savoie departments, possible transfer to Switzerland for treatment.

Heed all avalanche warnings and consider carrying an avalanche transceiver if necessary. Current avalanche danger areas can be found atMeteo Alarm-Website.Road conditions in mountainous areas can quickly become difficult in winter. You must carry water, food, warm clothes and medicine in your vehicle.

Make sure you have insurance coverage for sporting activities such as skiing, caving and mountaineering, as well as sports considered particularly dangerous (eg cross-country skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, rock climbing, ice climbing, paragliding). This should include mountain rescue services and helicopter costs.

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Read more about how toStay safe on the slopes.

Read more abouthow to behave safely in case of forest fire🇧🇷 In case of emergency, call 18 or 112.

beaches and swimming

Be careful when swimming in the sea, as some beaches can have strong currents ("baïnes"), especially along the Atlantic coast. The local sea conditions can endanger even strong swimmers. Many, but not all, beaches offer lifeguards and flag warning systems. You must make sure you understand the warning system before swimming and always follow the advice carefully (a red flag means you cannot swim). Information on the particular risk of flooding on the coast of the departments of Gironde and Landes can be found atGironde City Hall/French Local Government Website(in French).

For more tips seeABTA Swimming Safety Pages.

Follow local advice if there are jellyfish in the sea.


In 2021, there were 3,219 road traffic deaths in France (source:French Road Safety Observatory🇧🇷 This equates to 4.8 road traffic deaths per 100,000 people and compared to the UK average of 2.6 road traffic deaths per 100,000 people in 2019.

If you plan to drive in France, please read the information belowTravel abroad.

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Licenses and Documents

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

If you live in FranceCheck out the Land Living guide atInformation about resident requirements.

Driving a British car abroad

You may need a UK decal to drive your car outside the UK. As of September 28, 2021, UK stickers have replaced GB stickers. Check theGOV.UK license plate website displayfor more information on what to do when driving outside the UK.

driving order

Driving rules in France may differ from those in the UK:

  • The general rule of thumb is to make a sharp right every time you come to an intersection.
  • The speed limit on motorways is 130 km/h (80 mph) in good weather and 110 km/h (68 mph) in bad weather. Speeding can result in hefty fines and your vehicle and driver's license can be confiscated
  • Prohibited the use of mobile phones with headphones or headphones while driving
  • In-car radar detectors and satellite navigation systems that warn of speed cameras or speed traps are illegal whether or not they are used
  • The use of a warning triangle and safety vest is mandatory. The safety vest must be stored in the vehicle itself and accessible without leaving the car
  • It is illegal to cross, even partially, the shoulder of a highway without good reason.

see theEuropean Commission,AAyCARGuide to driving in France.

safe road

Many drivers take long trips in France. Plan your trip carefully, taking into account unfamiliar roads, weather conditions and fatigue. Make sure you take regular breaks.

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

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Information about road safety and possible traffic problems (French only) is available atBison Smart-Website🇧🇷 Alternatively, real-time road traffic information is available in French and English on 107.7 FM (Autobahnradio – Autoroute Info).

air pollution sticker

All vehicles, including motorcycles, driving through central Paris, Lyon and Grenoble are now required to display a special "environmental label". You must show a sticker to drive in central Paris, Monday to Friday, from 8 am to 8 pm. The label obligation can be implemented at any time, depending on the degree of soiling. Some older vehicles are not eligible for a decal due to their high emissions; These vehicles are absolutely prohibited from circulating in the center of Paris from Monday to Friday, from 8 am to 8 pm. To control air pollution, cities can also restrict vehicle access to city centers and major roads, including the Paris region. For more information and sticker request, visitFrench Ministry of the Environment website(in English).

road hauliers

There were reports of thefts while truck drivers slept in their vehicles. Avoid parking in isolated or dark areas of campsites or unattended parking lots. Consider installing an alarm system in your vehicle.

There have been many attempts by illegal immigrants to board trucks while they are stopped or in slow traffic. Take reasonable precautions against attempts to break into your vehicle.

Trucks weighing more than 7.5 tonnes are not allowed on the roads of France on certain days of the year, including all Sundays and public holidays. The dates are defined by the French Ministry of Transport. For detailed information on restrictions, see theBison Smart-Website.

UK shipping lines and their employees should contact theAssociation of Road Transportersfor more information on driving in France.

mobile homes

There were reports of break-ins while travelers were sleeping in their trailers, trailers and other vehicles. Avoid parking in remote or dark areas of campgrounds or unattended parking lots, and consider installing an alarm system in your RV or motorhome.

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There have been many attempts by illegal immigrants to get into parked or slow moving vehicles. Take sensible precautions against theft of your vehicle, especially in northern France.


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