Fire and rescue services
Call 15 for COVID-19-related assistance.
Exercise a high degree of caution in France due to the threat of terrorism.
Call 15 for COVID-19-related assistance.
Exercise a high degree of caution in France due to the threat of terrorism.
Exercise a high degree of caution in France.
Exercise a high degree of caution in France due to the threat of terrorism
Rules and restrictions to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks can change quickly. It’s important to regularly check the rules in the destinations you’re travelling to and transiting through. For the latest details on entry and exit conditions, you should contact your airline or travel provider, or the nearest embassy or consulate of the destination you're entering or transiting through.
Read our global health advisory and step-by-step guide to travel during COVID-19 for more information.
Full travel advice: Safety
Full travel advice: Health
Full travel advice: Local laws
Full travel advice: Travel
Full travel advice: Local contacts
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. This includes 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.
Major strikes and demonstrations have occurred across France, resulting in transport disruptions, road closures and some property damage. In some of these incidents, clashes with police occurred resulting in the use of tear gas and water cannon.
Further demonstrations and strikes may continue to occur. Avoid all demonstrations and areas with significant police activity. Consider contacting your travel agent, tour operator or hotel to assess if your plans will be affected.
Protests and large demonstrations are common. Public protests and events that draw large groups of people can become violent and turn into riots.
Strikes are frequent across France. When they occur, expect demonstrations and significant disruptions, which usually affect public transport and other public services.
Demonstrations take place across France regularly, including in tourist areas. Protests mostly happen on Saturdays.
To reduce risks:
Violent attacks against tourists by groups of young people can occur. These attacks usually happen late at night around major tourist attractions such as:
To protect yourself from crime:
Petty crime is common, including:
Petty crime is particularly common on the streets of larger cities such as Paris, Marseilles and Nice.
Take care to protect your personal belongings.
Be particularly careful in crowded tourist areas and at landmarks.
Thieves often work in groups to distract and rob victims. Prime targets include:
Criminals use children to distract tourists or even play an active role in theft.
Crime on public transport
Violent theft on public transport has increased.
Muggings and robberies can occur on the trains from Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle (CDG) and Orly airports, particularly late at night and early in the morning.
Violent attacks have occurred on or around:
Vehicle crime includes bag snatching from cars stopped in traffic and theft from unattended vehicles.
This is particularly common:
Rental vehicles are often targets, even in small villages.
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 is increasing. 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.
France experiences natural disasters and severe weather, including:
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, if you ski or mountaineer off marked trails, authorities may arrest or prosecute you.
Forest and grass fires often occur during the summer months. You can track active fires on the EU's European Forest Fire Information System.
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.
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 1000s of dollars up-front for medical care.
Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition. Consider whether you may be in a vulnerable category for COVID-19.
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:
COVID-19 remains a risk in France, with ongoing community transmission throughout the country, including in major cities and tourist destinations, despite the increasing vaccination rate of the population.
If you have COVID-19 symptoms, get tested immediately and isolate until you receive your results, regardless of your vaccination status. Most pharmacies offer testing facilities.
If you've tested positive, you should isolate yourself. Isolation times differ depending on your vaccination status (complete, incomplete, or not vaccinated).
See guidance from the French Public Service for what to do if you're experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19.
Healthcare institutions have the right (in French) to impose face mask requirements in their establishments. Local authorities may introduce COVID-19 measures at short notice.
For emergency medical assistance, dial 112.
Telemedicine is widely available across France, and requesting an English-speaking doctor is possible.
For information on France's COVID-19 vaccination and booster program, including vaccinations for children, boosters, and which vaccine is available, refer to the French Health Ministry (in French).
You should consult your local health professional for advice on vaccine options, including assistance that may be available locally. The Australian Government can't provide advice on the safety, quality and efficacy of vaccines that have been approved for use outside of Australia's regulatory process.
West Nile virus (WNV) (World Health Organization) has occurred throughout 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.
There's no reciprocal healthcare agreement between Australia and France.
Before they treat you, hospitals usually need the following:
Costs for public hospital stays can reach 1000s 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, in the event of 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 also 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, including COVID-19 vaccinations and tests, check with the nearest embassy, consulate or immigration department of the destination you're entering.
Entry and exit conditions can change at short notice. Contact the nearest embassy or consulate of France for details about visas, currency, customs and quarantine rules.
France is part of the Schengen area. This means you can enter France without a visa in some cases. In other situations, you'll need a visa.
Get a legible entry stamp in your passport when you enter the Schengen area for the first time.
Check online at France-Visas to find out which visa you need.
Get a visa from the French authorities in Australia. Generally, you'll need a visa if you're travelling for either:
You can't apply for a visa or change your visa status once you're inside French territory. For example, you can't change from a tourist visa to a student or resident visa while in France.
Entry into France
COVID-19 border measures could be introduced at short notice. Contact your nearest embassy or consulate of France for the latest details.
France Diplomacy provides a comprehensive FAQ for foreigners wishing to visit France.
Since 2015, asylum-seeker movements have put significant pressure on border controls in Europe.
Make sure you:
Transit into France
France hasn't set additional health requirements if you have a connecting flight (single reservation number with the same airline) within the international terminal. However, you're responsible for checking the COVID-19 entry requirements set by your final destination.
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.
While face mask-wearing is no longer mandatory at the airport, you should check with your airline for any COVID-19 measures on the aircraft.
Unaccompanied minors (under 18 years of age) who normally live in France and want to leave French territory need:
Find out more from the French Ministry of the Interior (French).
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.
The Australian Government does not set these rules. Check your passport's expiry date before you travel. If you're not sure it'll be valid for 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:
This may be useful for 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 cash of over 10,000 euros (or equivalent). 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.
COVID-19 restrictions have largely been lifted. Specific details on face masks and the vaccination pass can be found on the French Public Service website.
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 in slow-moving traffic. 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:
Authorities have cleared the migrant camp in Calais. However, there are still occasional disturbances in the area. Be alert when you drive between France and the UK.
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 taxis.
Assaults and robberies have happened in unlicensed taxis. These taxis often target high-traffic destinations such as:
In Paris, licensed taxis have the sign 'Taxi Parisien' on the top of the car.
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.
If you don't cooperate with inspectors, they can arrest you.
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.
Contact your provider with any complaints about tourist services or products.
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
Telephone: (+33 1) 4059 3300
Facebook: L'Australie en France
Check the Embassy website for details about opening hours and any temporary closures.
In a consular emergency, if you can't contact an embassy, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:
Be the first to know official government advice when travelling.