Is France Safe for Travel

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Corey N.
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Is France Safe for Travel

#1 Post by Corey N. » December 12th, 2018, 8:34 am

I'm planning a trip to France in February. The yellow vest protests have been violent and disruptive and the shooting in Strasbourg has added to my unease. I understand that terrorism is random and also extremely rare, but the yellow vests seem to be taking on a life of their own and my planned travel is less than two months away.

Should I head to Italy instead?

Thanks in advance for any input.
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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#2 Post by Russell Faulkner » December 12th, 2018, 8:36 am

You live in America right?

Go travel. Take sensible precautions while doing so.

My in laws just made their regular drive from the place they spend half their time to Calais. About 1000km, they were met by very friendly and cheerful protesters in yellow jackets at several of the toll booths.
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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#3 Post by Mark Y » December 12th, 2018, 8:39 am

France is a fairly large place. I’d say it’s safe for the vast majority.
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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#4 Post by Corey N. » December 12th, 2018, 8:42 am

Russell Faulkner wrote:
December 12th, 2018, 8:36 am
You live in America right?

Go travel. Take sensible precautions while doing so.
I do live in the US. In Chicago. The neighborhoods that I frequent are not violent, though a few miles away shootings are routine.

I'm probably more worried about inconvenience than physical safety, though both are on my mind. I'm toying with the idea that it might just be easier to go somewhere else where there's less chance of a problem. The NYT specifically mentioned problems in the 1st arrondissement (among others).

Obviously, I will take sensible precautions wherever I travel.
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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#5 Post by Scott Tallman » December 12th, 2018, 9:09 am

Depends on how badly you want to go to France. There is always the chance of inconveniences when traveling. I was in NE France during the train strike earlier this year, which complicated my travel back to Brussels, but it all worked out without much hassle.

I would not change my plans over the yellow vests. YMMV
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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#6 Post by Henry Kiichli » December 12th, 2018, 9:11 am

Hi Corey,

Where in France will you be?
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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#7 Post by Victor Hong » December 12th, 2018, 12:12 pm

Corey N. wrote:
December 12th, 2018, 8:34 am
I'm planning a trip to France in February. The yellow vest protests have been violent and disruptive and the shooting in Strasbourg has added to my unease. I understand that terrorism is random and also extremely rare, but the yellow vests seem to be taking on a life of their own and my planned travel is less than two months away.

Should I head to Italy instead?

Thanks in advance for any input.
Given how few of the yellow-vest protesters seem to be armed with locked-and-loaded heavy artillery, as if everyday 'mericans at the mall, I would not worry.
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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#8 Post by Corey N. » December 12th, 2018, 1:14 pm

Mark, Scott thanks for your replies.

Henry, we are planning to stay in Paris, with a few day trips to nearby areas.

Victor, I think worrying about travel is part of my DNA. I'm not a nervous traveler per se, but Linda gets very little time off work, so I want to make sure we squeeze the maximum enjoyment out of our travels.
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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#9 Post by Michael Martin » December 12th, 2018, 1:24 pm

Was in Provence earlier this fall. We saw armed guards in almost all the train stations in the larger towns. The guards actually made me more nervous because they stare you down. The TSA folks just touch you.

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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#10 Post by Michel Abood » December 12th, 2018, 1:59 pm

Michael Martin wrote:
December 12th, 2018, 1:24 pm
Was in Provence earlier this fall. We saw armed guards in almost all the train stations in the larger towns. The guards actually made me more nervous because they stare you down. The TSA folks just touch you.
Honestly, that's been the case since the 1980s. They've had heavily armed soldiers at airports/train stations for decades, nothing to get too worked up about. You probably have more of a chance of getting into trouble in Chicago than in France, frankly.

BTW, I'll be there and hope we can meet up in February?
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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#11 Post by Corey N. » December 12th, 2018, 2:05 pm

Michel Abood wrote:
December 12th, 2018, 1:59 pm
Michael Martin wrote:
December 12th, 2018, 1:24 pm
Was in Provence earlier this fall. We saw armed guards in almost all the train stations in the larger towns. The guards actually made me more nervous because they stare you down. The TSA folks just touch you.
Honestly, that's been the case since the 1980s. They've had heavily armed soldiers at airports/train stations for decades, nothing to get too worked up about. You probably have more of a chance of getting into trouble in Chicago than in France, frankly.

BTW, I'll be there and hope we can meet up in February?
Yes, I'd like that very much. I think it's quite likely that we'll go, but the shooting in Strasbourg + yellow vests gives me room for pause.
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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#12 Post by Michael Martin » December 12th, 2018, 2:32 pm

Michel Abood wrote:
December 12th, 2018, 1:59 pm
Michael Martin wrote:
December 12th, 2018, 1:24 pm
Was in Provence earlier this fall. We saw armed guards in almost all the train stations in the larger towns. The guards actually made me more nervous because they stare you down. The TSA folks just touch you.
Honestly, that's been the case since the 1980s. They've had heavily armed soldiers at airports/train stations for decades, nothing to get too worked up about. You probably have more of a chance of getting into trouble in Chicago than in France, frankly.

BTW, I'll be there and hope we can meet up in February?
Maybe they seemed more visible on this last trip. I remember seeing armed guards in Italy, Naples in particular, just not in French wine country.

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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#13 Post by Ramon C » December 12th, 2018, 2:51 pm

Corey N. wrote:
December 12th, 2018, 8:42 am

I'm probably more worried about inconvenience than physical safety, though both are on my mind.
Good point about possible inconvenience. I've heard from friends who live there (mostly in the south) of major highways being disrupted, but peacefully as I heard, by yellow vest protestors. Accordingly, created traffic delays.
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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#14 Post by Joe B » December 12th, 2018, 3:03 pm

Change your plans. Try Poland. Very nice there.
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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#15 Post by IlkkaL » December 13th, 2018, 4:01 am

I’m in Lyon currently and besides the heavily armed soldiers at the train station and the Christmas market things are very much normal here. Could be warmer but otherwise we are enjoying our time here very much. Really fantastic dinner at a restaurant called L’Ame Soeur last night, great time shopping before that at Antic Wine and Malleval.
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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#16 Post by geoffpm » December 13th, 2018, 5:49 am

I urge you to take some time and use youtube as a reference for real empirical information as opposed to fear mongering. The Yellow vest protestors are at virtually every autoroute exit/entrance and do not interfere with travel. You might be delayed a bit but you might actually have interesting interactions.

Since you plan to be in Paris, I would just avoid the big saturday protests near the rue de rivoli and the champs elysee but the protests are well publicized so you shouldn't be surprised.
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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#17 Post by Hamish Wakes-Miller » December 13th, 2018, 7:25 am

In relative terms to other countries I think France is very safe. I can understand the frustration of interfering with travel plans, as we have had an intermittent train strike earlier this year and now the 'Gilets Jaunes' revolt. But after a while you just get used to it and work out a way to make everything work. I have still run wine tours during strikes and interruptions.
Obviously terrorism is the headline that grabs attention, and the Strasbourg Christmas market tragedies are awful. But if you stay smart and alert, you should have no problems.

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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#18 Post by Barry L i p t o n » December 13th, 2018, 7:41 pm

More mass shooting deaths in Thousand Oaks than in Paris this year.

But that goes my mean I feel great at my upcoming trip to Paris -staying just off Place Vendome. My backup hotel was on Rue de Rivi. Doing it on points or I’d switch to the Left Bank

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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#19 Post by Paul McCourt » December 14th, 2018, 5:34 am

I'm going to Paris on the 24th (with wife and kids) and I have very few concerns. It is a big city, and even if there are protests someplace like the Champs de Elysee, there are plenty of neighborhoods to go to. Like here in NYC, there could be 100,000 people protesting in one part of town, and you would never know it in another part.

Plus, the protests seem to not be a constant, day after day event, and with Macron's concessions, they may be over (at least my host in Paris seems to think that is probable). I have been there when there are protests, and other than some Metro issues and avoiding a few stops/areas, it was no big deal at all.
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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#20 Post by Ramon C » December 14th, 2018, 6:36 am

Planning on going to Paris, too. But not until Feb or March. Just passing this on.

https://thepointsguy.com/news/french-at ... iday-rush/
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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#21 Post by Rob Lynch » December 14th, 2018, 7:22 am

I'm betting this runs its course by February. Of course, in France, another strike/civil disruption is just around the corner.
Matter of scope, I guess.
Might want to buy the trip insurance though.

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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#22 Post by Kevin Sidders » December 14th, 2018, 8:33 am

I was in France last week (Champagne, Paris, Lyon) and would say that for the most part it was pretty normal. As people have noted there were a few roundabouts with Yellow Vests holding signs and slowing traffic, but that was all mostly harmless. The evening of the big Saturday protests we were in Lyon just off the main square, and that got a bit gnarly, with riot cops, smoke bombs and some tear gas. But the disruptions passed pretty quickly, and we ended up back out wandering the light festival later that evening without further incident.

So as others have noted, as long as you avoid the big Saturday protest(s), it ought to be just fine...
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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#23 Post by IlkkaL » December 15th, 2018, 1:34 pm

Saw some yellow vests marching today on the streets of Paris. What we saw was mostly peaceful with a few of them blocking traffic for some time before moving on. As we were tasting wine in a shop we noticed some youngsters running away from the police, perhaps they had thrown rocks or something? At the wine shop the locals did not seem to be too affected although Franck Pascal (from Champagne) noted that France is going through a curious time. There were a lot of police in several places with 13 cars in a row near Bastille. In another shop the security seemed to be worried about the yellow vests potentially entering the shop but that did not happen while we were there. In the end the situation did not affect our time here that much. We certainly enjoyed the scenery, the culture, the food and the wine to the fullest and I cannot wait to return.
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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#24 Post by Matt Fleming » December 16th, 2018, 10:16 am

Perfect thread.

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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#25 Post by Dan Hammer » December 16th, 2018, 11:10 am

I've been to France twice, and Italy three times. I'd day F**k the French, and head to friendly Italy.
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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#26 Post by Corey N. » December 16th, 2018, 11:18 am

Dan Hammer wrote:
December 16th, 2018, 11:10 am
I've been to France twice, and Italy three times. I'd day F**k the French, and head to friendly Italy.
I really didn’t want to “go there” but it strikes me that France is increasingly intolerant of our kind.
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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#27 Post by TomC » December 16th, 2018, 2:18 pm

Corey N. wrote:
December 16th, 2018, 11:18 am
Dan Hammer wrote:
December 16th, 2018, 11:10 am
I've been to France twice, and Italy three times. I'd day F**k the French, and head to friendly Italy.
I really didn’t want to “go there” but it strikes me that France is increasingly intolerant of our kind.
That is an unfortunate impression. I have visited France eight times now, the most recent visit being last week, and have felt very welcome each time.
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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#28 Post by Corey N. » December 16th, 2018, 4:31 pm

TomC wrote:
December 16th, 2018, 2:18 pm
That is an unfortunate impression. I have visited France eight times now, the most recent visit being last week, and have felt very welcome each time.
I mean no disrespect Tom, but I meant "our kind" to Dan in a way that I don't think applies to you.

https://www.politico.eu/article/sharp-r ... -philippe/
https://www.jta.org/2018/11/09/global/a ... ce-pm-says
https://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/ ... c-violence
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/27/worl ... itism.html
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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#29 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » December 16th, 2018, 5:02 pm

Wife just got back from a week+ in Toulouse. No issues.
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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#30 Post by M.Kaplan » December 16th, 2018, 5:47 pm

We spend 5+ weeks in Paris annually and regularly visit the outer arrondissements and towns/villages outside the peripherique and beyond. I have never felt uncomfortable or unwelcome.
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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#31 Post by TomC » December 17th, 2018, 11:02 am

Corey N. wrote:
December 16th, 2018, 4:31 pm
TomC wrote:
December 16th, 2018, 2:18 pm
That is an unfortunate impression. I have visited France eight times now, the most recent visit being last week, and have felt very welcome each time.
I mean no disrespect Tom, but I meant "our kind" to Dan in a way that I don't think applies to you.

https://www.politico.eu/article/sharp-r ... -philippe/
https://www.jta.org/2018/11/09/global/a ... ce-pm-says
https://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/ ... c-violence
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/27/worl ... itism.html
Ah, I got it. Yes, this category decidedly does not apply to me. The trend you mention is troubling indeed.
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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#32 Post by Scott G r u n e r » December 17th, 2018, 11:52 am

TomC wrote:
December 17th, 2018, 11:02 am
Corey N. wrote:
December 16th, 2018, 4:31 pm
TomC wrote:
December 16th, 2018, 2:18 pm
That is an unfortunate impression. I have visited France eight times now, the most recent visit being last week, and have felt very welcome each time.
I mean no disrespect Tom, but I meant "our kind" to Dan in a way that I don't think applies to you.

https://www.politico.eu/article/sharp-r ... -philippe/
https://www.jta.org/2018/11/09/global/a ... ce-pm-says
https://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/ ... c-violence
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/27/worl ... itism.html
Ah, I got it. Yes, this category decidedly does not apply to me. The trend you mention is troubling indeed.
Unfortunately not limited to France.
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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#33 Post by Steve Manzi » December 17th, 2018, 2:51 pm

M.Kaplan wrote:
December 16th, 2018, 5:47 pm
We spend 5+ weeks in Paris annually and regularly visit the outer arrondissements and towns/villages outside the peripherique and beyond. I have never felt uncomfortable or unwelcome.
During our trip, I NEVER once felt even remotely that people even looked at us funny. The only people I felt were annoying, were other Americans.
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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#34 Post by Eric Ifune » December 17th, 2018, 3:19 pm

Not the Americans who are annoying, mainly the Russians and Chinese.

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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#35 Post by Mont Stern » December 17th, 2018, 5:50 pm

Corey N. wrote:
December 16th, 2018, 4:31 pm
TomC wrote:
December 16th, 2018, 2:18 pm
That is an unfortunate impression. I have visited France eight times now, the most recent visit being last week, and have felt very welcome each time.
I mean no disrespect Tom, but I meant "our kind" to Dan in a way that I don't think applies to you.

https://www.politico.eu/article/sharp-r ... -philippe/
https://www.jta.org/2018/11/09/global/a ... ce-pm-says
https://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/ ... c-violence
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/27/worl ... itism.html
I am a fellow member of the tribe and have avoided France for many years because of impressions from the news media you are referring to until visiting last month which was right before the protests started. The most distressing thing was after seeing Facebook posts was turning on CNN and watching details of the synagogue shooting in a place that I used to visit often in my childhood because Pittsburgh was the closest place with a sizable Jewish population.

We traveled to Lyon and Burgundy before spending a week in Paris. We were pleasantly surprised by the hospitality.
We even did a tour with a Jewish tour guide, Edith De Belleville, who is on Facebook.
I would choose to live in Italy or Portugal part of the year instead of Florida but I would have no problem returning to France which we are doing for a cycling tour next June in the Loire.

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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#36 Post by Joe B » December 18th, 2018, 5:32 am

Asking people here about whether it is safe to travel to France is akin to one person in Pakistan asking his neighbor if he believes it is safe to travel to Turkey. It is just a matter of perspective. Go, don't go, but at the end of the day you are in charge of the decision you make.
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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#37 Post by Henry Kiichli » December 18th, 2018, 5:40 am

Joe B wrote:
December 18th, 2018, 5:32 am
Asking people here about whether it is safe to travel to France is akin to one person in Pakistan asking his neighbor if he believes it is safe to travel to Turkey. It is just a matter of perspective. Go, don't go, but at the end of the day you are in charge of the decision you make.
Travel questions get asked here because many members go to France, and frequently. It is a valid question. "With everything I see in the news, what is it like in France right now?"

Of course "you are in charge of the decision you make.". That's why we ask for current information.
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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#38 Post by Paul McCourt » December 18th, 2018, 6:12 am

Henry Kiichli wrote:
December 18th, 2018, 5:40 am
Joe B wrote:
December 18th, 2018, 5:32 am
Asking people here about whether it is safe to travel to France is akin to one person in Pakistan asking his neighbor if he believes it is safe to travel to Turkey. It is just a matter of perspective. Go, don't go, but at the end of the day you are in charge of the decision you make.
Travel questions get asked here because many members go to France, and frequently. It is a valid question. "With everything I see in the news, what is it like in France right now?"

Of course "you are in charge of the decision you make.". That's why we ask for current information.
Exactly. The whole point is to gather information to make an informed decision.
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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#39 Post by DanielS » December 25th, 2018, 9:04 am

Joe B wrote:
December 18th, 2018, 5:32 am
Asking people here about whether it is safe to travel to France is akin to one person in Pakistan asking his neighbor if he believes it is safe to travel to Turkey. It is just a matter of perspective. Go, don't go, but at the end of the day you are in charge of the decision you make.
+1
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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#40 Post by Milton Hudson » December 31st, 2018, 12:11 am

We are in Paris now. Have not once felt unsafe. Guy was sleeping one off on a metro seat. Cops immediately boarded train and removed him. For the most part even the crushing crowds around galleria Lafayette and Notre dame are well behaved and in a good mood. So far the only minor issue has been busted up ATMs. Almost all the ones on the streets have broken screens. We has just been using ones inside a building. And the graffiti s unsightly and kind of pisses you off as it mars the architecture that has been beautiful for centuries before the advent of spray paint. Honestly stepping in dog shit is a bigger worry to me than the yellow vests.

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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#41 Post by Barry L i p t o n » December 31st, 2018, 2:57 am

Glad to hear it as the pictures from last Saturday looked more dire.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... tinue.html

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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#42 Post by Milton Hudson » January 1st, 2019, 3:20 am

Last night, New Year's Eve, we had dinner near the Eiffel and then walked over to the Eiffel. We took effect some family pictures and packed my son and wife in an uber back to the apartment. My daughter and I walked to the Arc from there. Other than the million+ people in one place it never felt unsafe. The police and national guard were out but unobtrusive. Our only problem was getting home afterwards as so many streets were blocked. We sat at a cafe and watched the people stream by while trying to get an uber to pick us up. The only problem people we saw were som German rowdies who turned over a large potted plant outside a bistro. A local came along and righted it a few minutes later. It was also interesting to se women in hijab drinking wine at the sidewalk cafes. Maybe wine will conquer all.
We did see some signs of the previous day's demonstrations, but nothing too bad. The most interesting thing is all the protest graffiti is in grammatically and idiomatically correct English. Makes one wonder who is really behind the most violent of the protesters.
Quite frankly, it felt safer in Paris than in Salzburg, where we spent New Years 2 years ago. There it was gunfire and private fireworks all night long. Never heard the first firecracker last night.

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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#43 Post by Barry L i p t o n » January 1st, 2019, 3:51 am

There haven’t been protests in days other than Saturday I thought. When you said “other day” did you mean 12/30?

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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#44 Post by Milton Hudson » January 2nd, 2019, 5:59 am

Barry L i p t o n wrote:
January 1st, 2019, 3:51 am
There haven’t been protests in days other than Saturday I thought. When you said “other day” did you mean 12/30?
Not sure who you are asking or what. We have seen zero protests just the after effects. Was in the ritzy financial are today and lots of folks working to replace broken windows. It seems more than anything like a repeat of the us in 68 and 69 and trying to stick it to the man.

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Richard T r i m p i
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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#45 Post by Richard T r i m p i » January 2nd, 2019, 9:04 am

Just got a photo from Sis and Kids, smiling and happy in La Defense. Fairly mild Winter temps (40s). Yellow Vest issues are reportedly more common on Saturday and easy to avoid. News coverage has been splashier than the reality (imagine that). Hasn't impacted them at all. I'd be more worried about travel to Chicago.

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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#46 Post by Barry L i p t o n » January 2nd, 2019, 9:21 am

Milton Hudson wrote:
January 2nd, 2019, 5:59 am
Barry L i p t o n wrote:
January 1st, 2019, 3:51 am
There haven’t been protests in days other than Saturday I thought. When you said “other day” did you mean 12/30?
Not sure who you are asking or what. We have seen zero protests just the after effects. Was in the ritzy financial are today and lots of folks working to replace broken windows. It seems more than anything like a repeat of the us in 68 and 69 and trying to stick it to the man.
I meant what day was t”the other day”. The only troubles have been on Saturday. I’m in France now, not worried but not Gonna hang out on the Champs Saturday either.

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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#47 Post by Andrew Kotowski » January 2nd, 2019, 4:00 pm

>> It was also interesting to se women in hijab drinking wine at the sidewalk cafes. Maybe wine will conquer all.

Pretty normal sight to see, which surprises a lot of people. 10-12% of the French population is Muslim, with a heavy influx from Africa (i.e. Morocco, Algeria, etc.) due to colonization in the 1800's. Paris is a hell of a lot easier when you speak French already!

That said, I heartily agree with your sentiment, especially when Cotes du Rhone is involved :D
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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#48 Post by Paul McCourt » January 4th, 2019, 11:44 am

I was there over Christmas and it was absolutely fine and we were all over the city. Left Saturday morning, so I can not speak to the protests on that day.
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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#49 Post by Andrew Kotowski » January 29th, 2019, 7:38 am

Have been here for several days with no issues. In fairness, I haven't been here on Saturday (I'll post if there's an update there), but my biggest concern has been whether or not I'm going to get snowed in at the office tonight. Depending on which site you're looking at... it's rain, snow or dry :D Office issued a warning, which has people heading for the doors.

I'd also note that police/gendarmerie presence has been almost non-existent, relative to when I was living here (last in May, visited in Aug). I've walked at least 10-12 miles over the last three days - up Rue de Rivoli (jumped over to the Louvre for a pic of the pyramid at night), through La Canopee at Les Halles (used to be 100% certain to see packs of gendarmerie with machine guns) and around St Germaine last night... no armed presence.
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Re: Is France Safe for Travel

#50 Post by Mike Cohen » January 29th, 2019, 11:08 am

Milton Hudson wrote:
December 31st, 2018, 12:11 am
...before the advent of spray paint.
I'm having a hard time thinking of a "positive" use for spray paint.

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