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Exercise a high degree of caution in France due to the threat of terrorism.
Exercise a high degree of caution in France due to the threat of terrorism.
Full travel advice: Safety
Full travel advice: Health
Full travel advice: Local laws
Full travel advice: Travel
France's domestic terror threat is at the medium level – 'Reinforced security – Risk of Attack'.
Attacks can occur at any time. Methods of attack have included knife attacks, shootings, bombings, and vehicle attacks.
There have been several attacks in France in recent years, including in:
Be cautious around locations known to be possible terrorist targets.
Authorities have additional powers to deal with counter-terrorism security. In some public areas, they may:
Expect increased security checks at borders, including ID checks, which may cause delays.
To reduce your risks:
In the event of an attack, leave the area as soon as it's safe to do so.
The French Government has published advice about how to respond to a terrorist attack.
Follow these Twitter accounts for advice (in French) during major security incidents:
If you plan to travel to France to commemorate Anzac Day, understand the risks and plan ahead. Read our 'Travel overseas for Anzac Day' page for further information on attending the event.
Terrorism is a threat worldwide.
Strikes are frequent across France. When they occur, expect demonstrations and significant disruptions, which usually affect public transport and other public services.
Some lead to clashes with police, resulting in the use of tear gas and arrests. Avoid demonstrations and areas with significant police activity.
To reduce risks:
Crime such as theft, pickpocketing, bag snatching, burglaries and muggings are more common in summer. Groups of thieves also operate on public transport, including busy metro lines and trains to/from the airports.
Take care to protect your belongings on public transport, in crowded tourist areas and at landmarks. Other common targets include:
Criminals use children to distract tourists or even play an active role in theft.
Violent theft on public transport or around major tourist attractions may also occur. These attacks have occurred on or around:
To protect yourself from crime:
Vehicle crime includes bag snatching from cars stopped or stuck in traffic and theft from unattended vehicles.
Rental vehicles are often targets, even in small towns.
To protect yourself:
French authorities have introduced emergency phone numbers for victims of domestic violence. In an emergency, call the police (dial 17) or a 24/7 specialised hotline (dial 3919) to call for help.
Scams and fraud
Credit card and ATM fraud involving 'skimming' machines that can store card data can occur. Automated service stations and tourist areas are often targets for this.
Be wary of strangers who invite you for a free drink or show at a private club. Foreigners have had large amounts of money stolen from their credit cards before being allowed to leave.
Be cautious when booking travel. Use reputable travel providers only. Avoid giving your personal details to unknown sources. Identity theft through accommodation scams has been reported.
Avoid common scams around tourist areas. These are often groups of petty criminals targeting foreigners and tourists.
You may be at risk of cyber-based threats during overseas travel to any country. Digital identity theft is a growing concern. Your devices and personal data can be compromised, especially if you're connecting to Wi-Fi, using or connecting to shared or public computers, or to Bluetooth.
Social media can also be risky in destinations where there are social or political tensions or laws that may seem unreasonable by Australian standards. Travellers have been arrested for things they have said on social media. Don't comment on local or political events on your social media.
The beaches along the French Atlantic coast can be dangerous, especially on the south-western coast. Several people drown every year.
Swim at supervised beaches and follow the colour-coded flags that warn against dangerous swimming conditions.
If in doubt, seek local advice.
If you're in an area affected by a natural disaster or severe weather:
Avalanches and mudslides
Avalanches and mudslides can happen in some mountain areas. Several people have died in recent years.
If you're skiing or mountaineering:
In some areas, authorities may arrest or prosecute you if you ski or mountaineer off marked trails.
Forest and grass fires often occur during the summer months. You can track active fires on the EU's European Forest Fire Information System.
The French government also provide a forest fire tracker on Météo des forêts.
Flash flooding can make road travel extremely difficult. People have lost their lives due to flooding.
Disruptions to communication infrastructure may occur.
Get comprehensive travel insurance before you leave. There's no reciprocal healthcare agreement between France and Australia.
Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. The Australian Government won't pay for these costs.
If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.
If you're not insured, you may have to pay many thousands of dollars up-front for medical care.
Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
See your doctor or travel clinic to:
Do this at least 8 weeks before you leave.
If you have immediate concerns for your welfare or the welfare of another Australian, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or contact your nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate to discuss counselling hotlines and services available in your location.
Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
If you plan to bring medication, check if it's legal in France. Take enough legal medication for your trip.
Carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating:
Although uncommon, the West Nile virus (WNV) has occurred in France. There's no vaccine for it.
To reduce your risk of disease:
Measles cases can routinely occur in France, with the country currently experiencing increased measles activity. Make sure your vaccinations are up-to-date before you travel.
The standard of medical facilities is similar to Australia.
Before they treat you, hospitals usually need the following:
Costs for public hospital stays can reach thousands of dollars, depending on the treatment you need.
You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that may appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling.
If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Penalties for drug offences are severe. If you're convicted, you can get a long jail sentence.
You must always carry a photo ID, such as your passport or driver's licence. Police conduct random checks, particularly at borders.
It's illegal not to offer help to a person in danger. Authorities may charge you if you:
Any assistance shouldn't put you or anyone else in danger. For example, if there's a fire, you're not expected to leap into the flames to save someone. Notifying authorities (dial 112) would be sufficient.
Penalties for not assisting can carry a fine of up to 100,000 euros and up to 7 years imprisonment. Tourists aren't exempt.
Forcing someone to hide their face is a crime in France. It's punishable by a year in prison and a fine of up to 30,000 euros. The sentence doubles if the person forced to hide their face is a minor.
It's illegal to photograph security forces, including the police. Penalties may include authorities detaining you and taking your film or camera.
Flying drones is prohibited in Paris. Prohibitions also exist in other locations in France. Check with local authorities
Some Australian criminal laws still apply when you're overseas. If you break these laws, you may face prosecution in Australia.
France recognises dual nationality.
Australians should use their Australian passport when exiting or entering Australia. This includes dual nationals.
If you're a dual national and have a passport from another country, you may choose to travel on your other passport once outside Australia.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or leave through its borders. For specific information about the evidence you'll need to enter a foreign destination, check with the nearest embassy, consulate or immigration department of the destination you're entering.
France is part of the Schengen area, meaning you can enter France without a visa in some cases. In other situations, you'll need a visa.
Make sure you:
Transit into France
You may still need a visa to transit.
Departure from France
If your onward travel isn't back to Australia, we recommend you check Smartraveller for entry requirements at your next destination.
Unaccompanied minors (under 18 years of age) who normally live in France and want to leave French territory need:
Some airlines won't let you board, and some countries won't let you enter unless your passport is valid for 6 months after you plan to leave that country. This can apply even if you're just transiting or stopping over.
Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. Travellers can receive conflicting advice from different sources.
You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than 6 months. Check your passport's expiry date before you travel.
The Australian Government does not set these rules. If you're not sure it'll be valid long enough, consider getting a new passport.
Your passport is a valuable document. It's attractive to people who may try to use your identity to commit crimes.
Some people may try to trick you into giving them your passport. Always keep it in a safe place.
If your passport is lost or stolen, tell the Australian Government as soon as possible:
Also, go to the nearest Commissariat de Police (police station) to:
Doing this could assist any insurance claims.
Although Australian passports comply with international standards for sex and gender, we can't guarantee that a passport showing 'X' in the sex field will be accepted for entry or transit by another country. Contact the nearest embassy, high commission or consulate of your destination before you arrive at the border to confirm if authorities will accept passports with 'X' gender markers.
The currency in France is the Euro.
France is a member of the European Union (EU). If you travel between France and any non-EU country, you must declare over 10,000 euros (or equivalent) cash. This covers all forms of currency, not only cash.
If you don't declare or give the wrong information on entry or exit, you'll need to pay a fine.
You don't need to declare cash if you're travelling to or from another EU country.
Rugby World Cup 2023
France will host the Rugby World Cup from 8 September to 28 October. Expect significant traffic and public transport congestion, with possible delays in Paris, Marseille, Lyon, Saint-Étienne, and Lille during this period.
All major cities will have enhanced security, and random checks may be conducted.
To avoid fraudulent or illegally sold tickets, make sure you buy your tickets from the official website.
For those attending the Rugby World Cup, remember:
If you're attending Wallabies matches outside of Paris, be aware that public transport options between venues and transport hubs may be limited and likely to be heavily congested. If you're travelling to a secondary destination after these matches, ensure that you:
You'll need a valid Australian driver's licence to drive in France.
Car rental companies may also need an International Driving Permit (IDP). Get your IDP before you leave Australia. You cannot apply for this while overseas.
If you live in France, you can swap your Australian driver's licence for a French licence. You must do this within your first 12 months.
Unless otherwise signposted, drivers must give way to vehicles approaching from:
This is the 'priority of the right' system. Understand this system so you avoid road accidents.
Be cautious when you drive or travel as a passenger. Keep your doors locked, even when moving. Lock your vehicle when you leave it.
The speed limit in most city centres is 30km/hr.
There are penalties for breaking traffic rules. These may include:
All vehicles must carry a reflective vest and warning triangle for use during a breakdown.
The minimum driving age is 18 years.
Check if your insurance policy covers you when using a motorbike, quad bike or similar vehicle.
Always wear a helmet.
Only use licensed official metered taxis. Licensed taxis have the sign 'Taxi Parisien' on the top of the car in Paris.
Assaults and robberies have happened in unlicensed taxis. These taxis often target high-traffic destinations such as:
Private car companies are legal, but you need to pre-book them.
Organised strikes happen often. These may affect transport systems, including trains and airline traffic. Monitor the media and contact your travel provider for the latest details. See Safety
If you use public transport, keep your ticket until you exit the system. Inspectors conduct random checks. You'll get an on-the-spot fine if you don't have a valid ticket.
Maintenance work on public transport is often carried out over the summer months, which requires metro lines to be shut down. In Paris, check the RATP site.
DFAT doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths.
Check France's air safety profile with the Aviation Safety Network.
Depending on what you need, contact your:
Always get a police report when you report a crime.
Call 3919 for victims of domestic violence.
Your insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
For consular help, contact the Australian Embassy in France.
4 Rue Jean Rey,
75015 Paris, France
Phone: (+33 1) 4059 3300
Facebook: L'Australie en France
Check the Embassy website for details about opening hours and any temporary closures.
Visitors must pass a security screening. Don't bring luggage with you.
In a consular emergency, if you can't contact an embassy, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:
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