Road Conditions and Safety: Roads are generally comparable to those in the United States, but traffic engineering and driving habits pose special dangers.
Traffic Laws: While French cities actively encourage bicycle rentals through widely available city-sponsored systems, you should be cautious, especially in a busy and unfamiliar urban environment. Helmets are neither required nor readily available near rental stations. If you plan to ride a bicycle in France, you should bring your own helmet.
Pedestrian accidents occur when a pedestrian steps out into the street, often when a car or motorcycle is making a turn through a pedestrian crosswalk. Pedestrians should be cautious and aware of traffic even when they have a green walking signal since this is no guarantee against aggressive drivers. Do not assume cars will stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk.
Public Transportation: Paris has an extensive and efficient public transportation system. The interconnecting system of buses, subways, and commuter rails is comparable to or better than that found in major U.S. cities. Similar transportation systems are found in all major French cities.
Between cities, France has 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 air service. Traveling by train is safer than driving.
Please refer to our road safety page for more information. We suggest that you also visit the French National Tourist Office?s website for specific information on French driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax, and mandatory insurance. See Embassy of France?s driving in France webpage for information on using U.S. driver?s licenses in France.
Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of France?s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of France?s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA?s safety assessment page.
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to France should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings website (select ?broadcast warnings.?)
Dial 15 to connect to emergency medical services, or dial 112 to reach an operator.
Medical care is comparable to that found in the United States.
The U.S. government does not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance (our webpage) to cover medical evacuation.
If traveling with prescription medication, check with the government of France to ensure the medication is legal in France. Always, carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor?s prescription.
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.
See also Public Transportation information.
Flying Drones: The use of drones and drone footage in France is highly regulated. It is against the law in France to operate drones over public spaces in urban areas, and near airports, military bases, prisons, nuclear plants, and large gatherings such as outdoor concerts and parades. The privacy of individuals captured in drone footage is paramount. Violators can be arrested and subject to fines of up to 75,000 euros and/or one year imprisonment. Review the information sheet provided by the French government concerning hobbyist drone flights.
French Foreign Legion: U.S. citizens interested in joining the French Foreign Legion (FFL) should be aware that the cognitive and physical tests for acceptance are extremely challenging.
Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:
LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in France.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance. Getting around French cities can be challenging for those with mobility issues. Many sidewalks are narrow and uneven, and cobblestone streets make access difficult, but the major tourist areas have better facilities.
The English-language Paris Visitors Bureau website contains additional information specifically designed for travelers with special mobility needs. For further information, e-mail U.S. Embassy Paris or U.S. Consulate General Marseille.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Credible information indicates terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Europe. European governments are taking action to guard against terrorist attacks; however, all European countries remain potentially vulnerable to attacks from transnational terrorist organizations.
French authorities have spoken publicly about the heightened threat conditions for terrorist attacks in Europe.
When traveling or living in France, you should:
Demonstrations occur regularly. Large, public demonstrations take place for a variety of political and economic issues. Demonstrations tend to take place on politically significant holidays and during international summits hosted in the country.
Crime: The majority of crimes directed against foreign visitors, including U.S. citizens, involve pick-pocketing, vehicle and residential break-ins, bicycle theft, and other forms of theft.
Victims of Crime:
Report crimes to the local police by dialing 112 from a mobile phone or 17 from a landline and contact the U.S. Embassy Paris at +(33)(1) 43-12-22-22. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.
Tourism: The tourism industry is generally regulated and rules with regard to best practices and safety inspections are regularly enforced. Hazardous areas/activities are identified with appropriate signage and professional staff is typically on hand in support of organized activities. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is widely available throughout the country. Outside of a major metropolitan center, it may take more time for first responders and medical professionals to stabilize a patient and provide life-saving assistance. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Passports must be valid for at least three months beyond your planned date of departure from the Schengen area. If your passport does not meet Schengen requirements, you may be refused boarding by the airline at your point of origin or while transferring planes. We recommend that your passport have at least six months? validity remaining.
Contact the French Embassy in Washington at 4101 Reservoir Road NW, Washington, DC 20007, tel. (202) 944 6000, or one of the the French Consulates General in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, or San Francisco for the most current visa information.
Special Note: Overseas departments and territories of France (i.e. those not located in Europe) are not included in the Schengen Agreement. Please see Country Specific Information on French Guiana, French Polynesia, and the French West Indies for entry and exit requirements. For other departments and territories, visit the Embassy of France website for the most current visa and entry requirement information for those areas.
Monaco: For further information on entry requirements to Monaco, travelers may contact the Embassy of the Principality of Monaco, 888 17th Street NW, Suite 500, Washington D.C. 20006, Tel: (202) 234-1530, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; or the Consulate General of Monaco, 565 Fifth Avenue ? 23rd floor, New York, NY 10017, Tel: (212) 286-0500, Email: email@example.com.
HIV/AIDS Restrictions: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of France.
2 Avenue Gabriel
Telephone: +(33)(1) 43-12-22-22
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(33)(1) 43-12-22-22, enter zero ?0? after the automated greeting
Fax: +(33)(1) 42-66-97-83; +(33)(1) 42-61-61-40 (Special Consular Services)
Only the consular sections in Paris and Marseille are authorized to issue passports. The other offices provide limited services to U.S. citizens.
U.S. Consulate General Marseille
Place Varian Fry
13286 Marseille Cedex 6
Telephone: +(33)(1) 43-12-47-54
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(33)(1) 43-12-22-22
Fax: +(33)(4) 91-55-56-95
U.S. Consulate General Strasbourg
15, Avenue d'Alsace
67082 Strasbourg Cedex
Telephone: +(33)(1) 43-12-48-80
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(33)(1) 43-12-22-22
Fax: (33)(3) 88-24-06-95
When calling from within France, drop the country code and add a zero. For example: +(33)(1) 43-12-22-22 becomes 01-43-12-22-22.
Please note that the emergency after-hours telephone number for all U.S. posts in France is: +(33)(1) 43-12-22-22. Ask to speak to the duty officer if you need emergency assistance after business hours.
This Infomation from U.S. Department of State