/ République Française Facts
/ Tourist Information / Map of France
DESCRIPTION: France is a developed and stable
democracy. Monaco is a developed constitutional monarchy.
REQUIREMENTS: A passport is required for entry to France and Monaco.
A visa is not required for a tourist/business stay up to 90 days in
France, Andorra, Monaco, and Corsica, and for a one-month stay in
French Polynesia. For further information on entry requirements for
France, travelers may contact the Embassy of France at 4101 Reservoir
Road, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20007, tel. (202) 944-6000, or the French
Consulate General in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles,
Miami, New Orleans, New York, or San Francisco. For further information
on entry requirements to Monaco, travelers may contact the Consulate
General of Monaco at 565 - 5th Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10017, tel.
(212) 759-5227. The web site of the French Embassy in the United States
NATIONALITY: Dual nationals, who are French or Monegasque citizens
as well as U.S. citizens, are subject to all French and Monegasque
laws that affect U.S. citizens. Moreover, dual nationals also may
be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on French
and Monegasque citizens. For additional information, please see the
Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov for our flyer
on Dual Nationality.
AND SECURITY: Violent civil disorder is relatively rare in France.
But occasionally, student demonstrations, labor protests or other
routine demonstrations turn into violent confrontations between demonstrators
and police. So Americans are advised to avoid street demonstrations.
recent years, France has experienced closely targeted political assassinations
and random bombings. No U.S. citizens have been killed, and only one
has been injured. The bombings have resulted in an increased police
presence at places where the public congregates. All passengers on
subways and trains are urged to be aware of their surroundings and
to report any unattended packages to the nearest authority.
Basque Separatist Party (ETA) and the National Front for the Liberation
of Corsica (FLNC), continue to operate in the south of France and
occasionally bomb local government institutions, banks, travel agencies,
INFORMATION: France and Monaco both have relatively low rates
of violent crime. But crimes involving larceny are common. Pickpocketing,
theft of unattended baggage and theft from rental cars or vehicles
with non-local license plates are daily occurrences. Criminals frequent
tourist attractions such as museums, monuments, restaurants, hotels,
beaches, trains, train stations, airports and subways. Americans in
France and Monaco should be particularly alert to pickpockets in train
stations and subways. Travelers should carry limited cash and credit
cards, leaving extra cash, credit cards, passports and personal documents
at home or in a hotel safe. Although thieves may operate anywhere,
the U.S. Embassy in Paris receives frequent reports of theft from
several particular areas.
- Gangs of
thieves operate on the rail link from Charles de Gaulle Airport
to downtown Paris by preying on jet-lagged, luggage-burdened tourists.
Often, one thief distracts the tourist with a question about directions
while an accomplice takes a momentarily unguarded backpack, briefcase,
or purse. Thieves also time their thefts to coincide with train
stops so that they may quickly exit the car.
Number One Subway Line, which runs by many major tourist attractions
(The Grand Arch at La Defense, Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysees,
Concorde, Louvre, Bastille), is the site of many thefts.
thefts occur at the major department stores (Galleries Lafeyette,
Printemps, Samarataine) where tourists often leave wallets, passports,
and credit cards on cashier counters during transactions.
hotels, thieves frequent lobbies and breakfast rooms. While guests
are partaking of the free breakfast usually offered by the hotel,
thieves take advantage of a minute of inattention to snatch jackets,
purses and backpacks. Also, while many hotels do have safety latches
that allow guests to secure their rooms while they are inside,
it is not a universal feature as it is in the United States. If
there is no inside latch or security chain, a chair placed up
against the door is usually an effective obstacle to surreptitious
entry during the night.
(Automatic Teller Machines) are very common in France and provide
ready access to cash, allowing travelers to carry as much money
as they need for each day. The rates are competitive with local
exchange bureaus and an ATM transaction is easier than the cashing
of travelers’ checks. However, crimes committed around ATMs have
been reported. The usual common sense rules apply. Travelers should
not use an ATM in uncomfortable surroundings, such as isolated,
unlit areas; unseemly loiters in the vicinity, etc. Travelers
should especially be aware of persons standing close enough to
see the PIN (Personal Identification Number) being entered in
the machine. Thieves often conduct successful scams by simply
observing the PIN as it is entered. If the card becomes stuck,
travelers should be wary of persons offering to help and even
asking for the PIN to "fix" the machine. Legitimate bank employees
never have a reason to ask for the PIN.
is the red-light district of Paris. Travelers should presume that
enterprises in this area generally do not conform to accepted
good business practices. Many entertainment establishments engage
in aggressive marketing and charge well beyond the normal rate
for their drinks. There have been reports of threats of violence
to coerce patrons into paying exorbitant beverage tabs.
- Thefts from
cars stopped at red lights are common, particularly in the Nice-Antibes-Cannes
area, and in Marseille. The thief is usually a passenger on a
motorcycle. Similar incidents have also occurred at tollbooths
and rest areas. Car doors should be locked at all times during
travel and windows closed or left only slightly ajar. Special
caution is advised when entering and exiting the car, because
that offers opportunity for purse-snatchings.
of parked cars are also frequent. Locking valuables in the trunk
is NOT a safeguard. NEVER leave valuables in the car.
often target vehicles with foreign license plates or rental cars,
which are easily identified as such by a license plate number
ending in "51." Rental car companies are in the process of phasing
out these license plates, but this may take some time.
snatching and pickpocketing occur in the area. Passports should
be carried on the body when necessary and over-the shoulder bags
should not be used.
loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately
to the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. U.S.
citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet, A Safe
Trip Abroad, for ways to promote a more trouble-free journey.
The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents,
U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet
at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs, or via the Bureau of Consular
Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.
FACILITIES: Medical care comparable to that found in the United
States is widely available.
INSURANCE: U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside
the United States. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide
payment for medical services outside the United States. Doctors and
hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.
Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas may face extreme
check with your own insurance company to confirm whether your policy
applies overseas, including provision for medical evacuation, and
for adequacy of coverage. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization
and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost tens of thousands
of dollars. Please ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas
hospital or doctor or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses
that you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for
psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event
information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance
programs, is provided in the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular
Affairs brochure, Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad,
available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or autofax:
HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations and other health
precautions may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention’s hotline for international traveler’s at 1-877-FYI-TRIP
(1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via CDC’s
Internet home page at http://www.cdc.gov.
SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens
may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those
in the United States. The information below concerning France and
Monaco is provided for general reference only and may not be totally
accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
of Public Transportation: Good
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Good
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Good
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Good
in France are generally comparable to those in the United States,
but traffic engineering and driving habits pose special dangers. Usually,
lane markings and sign placements are not as clear as in the U.S.
Drivers should be prepared to make last-minute maneuvers, as most
French drivers do. French drivers usually drive more aggressively
and faster than Americans. One particularity of the French traffic
code is that of the right-of-way. Drivers entering intersections from
the right have priority over those on the left (unless specifically
indicated otherwise) even when entering relatively large boulevards
from small side streets.
the capital and the major city in France, has an extensive and efficient
public transportation system. The interconnecting system of buses,
subways, and commuter rails serves more than 4 million people a day
with a safety record comparable to or better than the systems of major
American cities. Similar transportation systems are found in all major
French cities. Between cities, France is served by an equally extensive
rail service, which is safe and reliable. High-speed rail links connect
the major cities in France. Many cities are also served by frequent
in France tend to exceed the posted speed limits. On the major highways,
service stations are situated every 25 miles or less. Service stations
are as plentiful on secondary roads as in the United States.
specific information concerning French and Monegasque driver's permits,
vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact
the French and Monegasque National Tourist Office hotline at (202)
659-7779, or via the Internet at http://www.franceguide.com.
SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
has assessed the Government of France’s civil aviation authority as
Category 1 - in compliance with international aviation standards for
oversight of France’s air carrier operations. For further information,
travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the
U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA Internet home page at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign
air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services.
For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers
may contact the DOD at tel. (618) 229-4801.
REGULATIONS: French customs authorities may enforce strict regulations
concerning temporary importation into or export from France of items
such as firearms, antiquities, medications, business equipment, sales
samples, and other items. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of
France in Washington or one of its consulates in the United States
for specific information regarding customs requirements.
customs authorities encourage the use of an ATA (Admission Temporaire/Temporary
Admission) Carnet for the temporary admission of professional equipment,
commercial samples, and/or goods for exhibitions and fair purposes.
ATA Carnet Headquarters, located at the U.S. Council for International
Business, 1212 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036, issues
and guarantees the ATA Carnet in the United States. For additional
information, please telephone (212) 354-4480, or send an e-mail to
firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit http://www.uscib.org for details.
PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject
to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly
from those in the United States and may not afford the protections
available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking
the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses.
Persons violating French or Monegasque laws, even unknowingly, may
be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use,
or trafficking in illegal drugs in France or Monaco are strict, and
convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
ISSUES: For information on international adoption and international
parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html
or telephone (202) 736-7000.
AND CONSULATE LOCATIONS: Americans living in or visiting France
or Monaco are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the
U.S. Embassy in Paris and obtain updated information on travel and
security within France and Monaco.
Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Paris is located at:
rue St. Florentin
(Place de la Concorde, Metro Stop Concorde).
(Tel 011/33/1-43 12 22 22 or (in France) 01-43 12 22 22; fax: 01-42
61 61 40)
Further information can be obtained at our web site: http://www.amb-usa.fr.
Consulate General in Marseilles is located at:
Blvd Paul Peytal
(Tel: 011/33/4-91 54 92 00; fax: 011/33/4-91 55 09 47)
Consulate General in Strasbourg is located at:
(Tel: 011/33/3-88 35 31 04; fax: 011/33/3-88 24 06 95)
The Consulate General in Strasbourg does not produce passports on the
premises. American citizens in this area whose passports are lost or
stolen and who have urgent travel needs should address themselves directly
to the American Embassy in Paris.
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