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How safe is it to travel to France?

by Saturday Mon Nov 7th, 2005 at 07:45:44 AM EST

Today, the Australien Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the German Auswärtiges Amt (Foreign Office) issued warnings for travellers bound for France.

The Australian warning says:

Civil Unrest/Political Tension

Violent riots, involving arson attacks on buildings and cars, and the use of missiles such as petrol bombs, are occurring in many areas of France, including in Paris and other major cities. Australians should monitor the media and other local information sources for information on where the riots are occurring and, if they need to visit or travel through affected areas, exercise a high degree of caution and avoid any demonstrations.

And here is the German warning:

Because of the ongoing commotion in the suburbs of French cities, we advise travellers to France to be especially cautious regarding these areas and to follow information from the media closely.

Already last Friday, the U.S. embassy in Paris warned U.S. citizens of demonstrations in the suburbs of the French capital and other French cities.

I would like to know from my fellow Eurotribbers from France: Is this overly cautious? Or are these warnings justified?


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Overly cautious, to say the least.

(but I would say that, wouldn't I?)

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Nov 7th, 2005 at 11:31:50 AM EST
What is France's responses to these warnings? I'm curious..

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Mon Nov 7th, 2005 at 04:17:35 PM EST
Dumbfounded mostly. Maybe a little amused (and probably a little irritated too) to see so many foreigners freaking out so easily.

Tourists are still travelling to the US, as far as I know, although there were probably more people murdered today over there than in the whole 12 days of Baghdad sur Seine over here.

As the Aussies and the Germans above say: avoid visiting the affected areas (duh!) and check out local media. Who would have thought?

by Bernard (bernard) on Mon Nov 7th, 2005 at 04:29:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
you're just rationalising and in denial - or hiding in your bourgeois enclave (like me).

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Nov 7th, 2005 at 04:32:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps not an appropriate sentiment considering the situation, but I have had to deal with far too many Europeans explaining to me about how it is dangerous to be on the subway after ten or eleven, how no white person in their right mind would walk through Harlem or any other black neighbourhood at any time of day, and so on and so forth.

PS I won't pretend that I've never felt any worries walking around at night in NYC, but that's nothing compared to the feeling of seeing a bunch of drunken shaved headed young white men on a lonely street at night in Germany or Poland.

by MarekNYC on Mon Nov 7th, 2005 at 11:29:56 PM EST
well, well ... who laughs the last, laughs the best.

I am even scared to walk through my car at night on the kiss and ride parking lot at the metro station, where I need to park going to and coming back from work, and as far as I know, a lot of women have the same feeling. And it's not New York even. You don't have these feelings for nothing, you know. There ARE enough incidents that justify being scared.  

Then on the other hand, if you happen to be not white and in Germany and you happen to have to take the S-Bahn in Berlin or Hamburg at night, you might happen to be encircled by a very scary and violent Neo-Nazi skinhead crowd that has no fear to beat you up. There are also violent other groups aside from German skinheads, but I don't name them.

by mimi on Mon Nov 7th, 2005 at 11:53:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When I spent a half year in France (waaaaaaaayyy back in 98-99), my only unsafe feelings came from seeing machine gun-toting police. I'm not a fan of the militarization of police.
by ARV18 on Tue Nov 8th, 2005 at 01:00:56 AM EST
Already last Friday, the U.S. embassy in Paris warned U.S. citizens of demonstrations in the suburbs of the French capital and other French cities.

Demonstrations in Paris? That's a laugh. There is always some sort of demonstration, strike or diplomatic disturbance (with buses of menacing CRS waiting for the next bastonade) in Paris!

Circulez, y'a rien à voir!

by ClaudeB on Tue Nov 8th, 2005 at 02:14:06 AM EST
Yep - 700 official demonstrations per year in Paris. And that's only those that require notification to the Préfecture.

The city has full time police and cleaning crews to follow these.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 8th, 2005 at 04:16:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's what living in the capital of a centralized (non-federal) state is like. Everyone with a grievance comes to demonstrate before the central govennment.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 8th, 2005 at 04:37:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Identifying riots, car-burning and violence with "demonstrations" is not very democratic indeed. Maybe it is just the result of a diplomatic wording, trying to avoid words like "riot". But still, I resent the lack of democratic culture which is lurking behind identifications like these.
by Saturday (geckes(at)gmx.net) on Tue Nov 8th, 2005 at 04:49:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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