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Travel to Paris after attacks

My husband and I have planned and paid for a surprise Christmas trip to Paris and Normandy for ourselves and our 4 children aged 15-23. We would like to still go, but are concerned about safety and also whether the top tourist attractions will be open. We will be there from Dec. 25 - Jan. 4. I realize there are a lot of unknown factors, but we are concerned given the recent horrific terror attacks. Should we go or postpone our trip?

Posted by Ilja
Seattle
4244 posts

I don't know where you live but if it is any major American city you would be safer in Paris. By statistics your likelihood to be shot here in the States is quite higher than to be killed by terrorists in Paris.

Posted by jen
Portland
548 posts

Go. It will be safe and it will be devoid of tourists (at least relatively speaking).

Posted by Dave H.
Puyallup, WA
34 posts

just go. i'll be in Paris in two weeks. i'm not cancelling. i'm just hoping the Eiffel Tower has reopened by then.

carry on like nothing has happened. don't let them change your life or they win.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
10740 posts

Most everything has already reopened already.

Your trip is still almost a month away, I would think the only closures you should worry about would be the normal Christmas ones that would occur anyways.

Posted by Kim
Paris
3410 posts

RHAnderson, of course only you can decide for yourself and your family, based on whatever information you can find and your knowledge of your family.

To say that it is perfectly safe is nonsensical, because nowhere in our world is perfectly safe.

However, I tend to think of the odds of something happening as pretty small, but of course there is always a risk. There are risks every day though, even at home in the U.S., where you can go to the movies and be shot up by a nut with a machine gun.

One would hope things will be back open (and indeed most of them are open as of yesterday, except for the Eiffel Tower and Disney) by that time, but unfortunately none of us have a crystal ball (which you acknowledge yourself in your question).

I will be here Dec 25 - Jan 4; of course I live here and don't have the choice. But I don't feel unsafe (maybe that is complete denial on my part) and am going about my daily life. But I only know what's comfortable for me.

Good luck with your decision as you reflect on what's best for your family.

Posted by a.dubessay
1 posts

Bonjour! I understand of course your concern, your questions. As a Parisian, deeply in love with my native City, I chose, a couple of years ago to use my love of Paris to make a living and greet visitors in my beloved Paris. Here is the worlds I would like to tell, you and tell people from all over the world : first of all thank you for the warm messages we've received within the last couple of days from you all, from all over the world. These are very important to us.
This week we wake up from a serious "hangover". We wish that none of this all happened...
BUT we are more determined than ever to keep on living our lives that these fanatics hate so much. We are more determined than ever to go to concerts, to sit at a terrasse for a glass of wine, to dress as we want, to have our believes (or disbelieves!), to take our kids to parcs and museums.... To enjoy Parisian life!
And most of all we are more willing than ever to share the love of our City with people from all over the world.
Paris is getting back on its feet: bars are open, and yesterday, the Canal Saint Martin was crowded with families enjoying life.The Eiffel Tower is enlightened again and Museums and public places opened to visitors.
So let's show "them" that they won't win, will never win, how ever badly they hurt us. Let's LIVE!
We love you all and... VIVE PARIS! So I guess you should come :-) We need you all here. Amandine

Posted by Brad
Belmont Bay, VA
10137 posts

I can't go right now. I don't retire from the Air National Guard until December and the military has a no travel order in effect for Paris. I'm not sure how long it will last.

Other than that I'm all for going now. Many people will cancel their plans so flights and hotels will be less crowded (and thus cheaper). Sights will be less crowded so all around it's a great time to visit.

I work in DC. I'm no safer here than in Paris.

Who knows? People in Paris might even be happy to see tourists. :-)

Posted by Edgar
Medford, OR, USA
4179 posts

lilja note that: By statistics your likelihood to be shot here in the States is quite higher than to be killed by terrorists in Paris.

Monday's NPR interview seems to confirm lilja's comment:

http://www.npr.org/2015/11/16/456253966/emergency-doctor-paris-hospital-saw-unanticipated-number-of-gunshot-victims

NPR's Robert Siegel talks to an emergency doctor who was on the front
line of dealing with casualties from the Paris attacks. He says on a
normal weekend his ER will usually handle injuries from a car crash,
and maybe once a year they will handle a gunshot victim.

JEAN-PAUL FONTAINE: Usually in the emergency department in France, you
may have a car crash. Sometime, one gun but not that type of number of
patients was of gun.

SIEGEL: Normally, here, just one gun shot on the weekend, or...

FONTAINE: One per year.

SIEGEL: Per year?

FONTAINE: In Paris, that's not like in the USA, you know?

Posted by Sarah
St. Louis, MO USA
1970 posts

Edgar, I heard that interview yesterday. Imagine hospitals in the U.S. seeing one gunshot victim per year.

My friend is going to Paris next month. The trip was booked months ago and last night I asked if she was still going and she said yes. She doesn't want to live in fear of what could happen. I'm so glad she's going. I was there 3 years ago and had a wonderful time.

Posted by doria.nelson
1 posts

I too have a trip planned to Paris around that time frame. I have no intention of changing my plans. Maybe it's just because I'm young and have grown up in this post 9/11 world, but if I let violence control my plans, I would never leave my house. I'm choosing to not let fear keep me from my preferred way of life. It's up to you how you want to respond to the horrific attacks, but I generally don't think fear is good response.

Posted by Alexander
Macon, GA
707 posts

I am scheduled to fly to Marseille for the Christmas holiday. It's not Paris, but it certainly has a reputation. I'm so excited to explore a city in France that I have never yet seen. We only live once, so we must profit from each time we can travel.

Posted by James E.
USA
7886 posts

ILJA, Paris is safer than America? Let’s start with the homicide rate in Paris compared to let’s say NYC. NYC’s homicide rate is something just below 4 per 100,000 while Paris was 1.6 per 100,000 (2008). But you toss in the bomb victims and you end up with a number over 5 per 100,000 based on the bombing count alone. 7.4 total..

(2,241,000 citizens / 100,000 = 22.41 groups of 100,000. 130 victims / 22.41 = 5.8 per 100,000 citizens)

But we aren’t talking about living in Paris we are taking about visiting as a tourist. Normally I would assume the tourist zones and the middle class neighborhoods in a city are among the safest of the city; but when it comes to terrorism that may not be the case. Remember these folks want to inspire terror and that is best done against the middle and upper classes.

If you are on this forum talking about traveling to Europe twice a year then I don’t suppose you live in the bad part of your home town so I would suspect that you rarely come in contact with anything other than the safest part of your city. So for instance that NYC rate of nearly 4 per 100,000 might only be 2 per 100,000 in your realm of existence while because of where the terrorist struck similar neighborhoods in Paris might be nothing on the base line, but 5.8 based on the terror actions.

Basically trying to draw these conclusions is difficult and anyone who throws out gut feelings is probably missing the mark. For that matter there are so many variables I bet I am missing a lot of the mark as well. Still for a Rick Steves frequent traveler socioeconomic class sort of person I would suspect that Paris is going to be somewhat more dangerous than staying home.

Dangerous enough to change your plans? That’s a personal choice. I am not sure I would be comfortable right now, maybe in a week when the government has cleaned up the threats I will feel different. Personally I think they just got complacent and they will get past that quickly and things will return to normal. There is no way I would support any idea that you are safer in Paris than Seattle, WA in November of 2015, but unless something changes I also wouldn’t think a person was crazy to visit Paris right now. Find your comfort level. All the stats mean nothing if something unexpected happens.

Posted by jim_bird1
51 posts

So 130 dead, 350 maimed and 10 dead terrorists. But we "win" by being possible martars? ISIS loves those odds. If you have children why would anyone risk their lives? If you go, go by yourself or other like-minded people who understand the risks involved. Since Hollande has declared war on "islamic terrorism" and since I had a father and two uncles who received 7 Purple Hearts between them in Europe in WWII, please don't call on America to fight your battles with you for the fourth time in the last 100 years. Figure out what you are doing wrong and leave my six grandsons alone.

Posted by James E.
USA
7886 posts

jim_bird1; excellent point. I guess I was being a little to generic. I wouldn't go right now and I sure wouldn't take my children. When it comes to kids I believe in a much higher standard of care. You could even extend that to mom and dad having a responsibility to hold themselves to the same higher standard level of care so their kids will always be taken care of. My kids are long gone and independent so I tend to stick my neck out from time to time.

Of course if you already have your tickets to Paris and you want an option your can make a connection through Chucky D to Budapest for about $250 round trip.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
28655 posts

It's impossible to know what the situation will be like in late December, but I expect things will have to returned to some semblance of normalcy by then. The only issue I can see is that many of the top tourist attractions will probably be closed or operating on reduced hours over the Christmas holidays. Hopefully one of the Paris members of the forum can provide further information on that.

Posted by Ilja
Seattle
4244 posts

James, "all the stats mean nothing if something unexpected happens". But that something can happen anywhere: in Seattle, in Paris, in San Antonio, even in Budapest. We don't know where and if that something will happen. That's why we have stats to assess likelihood of that happening. I can give an example: I can fly from city A to city B and I have choice of several airlines: British Airlines, Lufthansa, Angola Air, Uganda Airline. Almost everybody would try to choose those which are statistically less likely to crash. But let's say that particular day Lufthansa crashed and African planes made it. That means than something bad can happen to me, you or anybody else in any of these cities I randomly named. Stats only tell us what is likelihood of that something to happen to us. We are not absolutely safe anywhere. Another example: several years ago family was sitting on the sofa watching TV in Woodinville (suburb of Seattle) and a big piece of ice went through their roof and ceiling and landed next to the sofa. To make long story short: the toilet of the airliner was leaking, waste froze attached to the fuselage and when plane was getting lower, temperature went up and the "bomb" released. It was all over the news and in newspapers here. Experts agreed: three feet saved family from death. While I always realize that unexpected can happen, I try to be realist and in that stats are helpful.

Posted by James E.
USA
7886 posts

The statement by Ilja was directed towards RS people who I suppose if they can afford to travel then they don't have much contact with the demographic regions where the overwhelming percentage of the crime exists; and yes I converted getting shot to Homicide. I think that was reasonable as we were discussing safety and not means and methods. To be fair i guess we would need to look at muggings, etc........ I would guess if you were to remove all or parts of a half dozen US cities you would find the US numbers go down drastically. Like is often said here, you are painting with too broad a brush. Ilja ' s home state has a homicide rate consistent with NYC for instance as does mine. The portion of the city where I live, work and function has rate lower than the NYC average; so I would not be safer in Paris. And I would expect the same lower numbers to exist in Paris in the middle class and tourist neighborhoods. So my point is that one by and large negates the other for our particular demographic group (Middle/Upper Income individuals with disposable income for traveling). That leaves us with unusual acts of crime like terrorism. (of course all of this does illustrate the ugly stratification of US society --- another topic)

As holding a few terrorist attacks against the Paris statistics it is only to demonstrate a short term reality and not to paint a broader view of the city. I expect the situation will change. Or at least I hope it does. But the question was rather pointed about the situation in a few weeks. I would want to see a few months of normality before I changed my mind.

Excellent discussion. Thank you. I will read it a few more times and see if your points color my beliefs.

Posted by Nancy
Corvallis OR
4749 posts

Boy, I hate when statistics start getting thrown around!

James, the homicide statistics for NYC do NOT include deaths by terrorism, if they did their rate for 2001 was pretty damned high. So you can't include Paris deaths by terrorism when comparing homicide statistics. If you're going to quote statistics, then do it honestly not padded to win your argument!

Posted by James E.
USA
7886 posts

You are right. Statistics can be pretty inconvenient. Bothers me too. If we were talking about 2001 I would be in total agreement with you. Actually if you go back to the 60's and the 70's you would think there was terrorism the numbers were so high. For some period of time after 911 NYC was under the same pressures that Paris is under today. The terrorism "is" the difference in all of these equations. So the real question is how confident are you that the terrorist acts are over in Paris and how confident are you that there will be none in your hometown? I wouldn't be surprised if there were another attack in Paris in the very short term; but I would be surprised if the French didn't get things tightened up to prevent anything from happening in the long run. I am very confident that terrorism is a long shot in my home town and especially in that part of town that I frequent.

To be fair and honest I am not a statistician and there are so many variables that no forum post can do it justice. Things like, murder victims are generally killed by someone they have an association with. Under that train of thought anyone on vacation should be safer than being at home; any home. In my mind I just cant make the America is more dangerous than "______" work in my personal situation. If you live in Detroit, maybe you can; and i would probably agree with you.

My post is more like things to think about and consider in an effort to make a somewhat informed decision, or to give cause to do some personal research prior to coming to a decision; as opposed to painting anyone with a broad brush. Saying America is Dangerous is sort of like saying Muslims are terrorists. All depends. But good points and it illustrates that opinions on tis sort of thing should be painted on Jello as opposed to being engraved in stone. Still so much we have to learn and experience. its all very fluid.

Posted by neilsbell2010
2 posts

I'm in Paris now, have been last 5 days. All attractions/ sights open, tho with increase security (lots of bag checks, etc.- about which I'm not complaining).
The only deaths since I arrived were 3 terrorists killed in a police raid.
So... That's 5 days, 0 "civilian" fatalities - I was in New York last year for about 5 days. There were murders nearly every day.

Posted by James E.
USA
7886 posts

Here is another way of looking at it. The first number is a Crime Index (you want that to be low) and the second number is a Safety Index (you want that to be high). You can see the US has some of the most dangerous cities and also some very safe cities. The Paris stats sort of fall in the middle of the pack (line number 95). A lower Crime Index than Milwaukee and higher Crime Index than New Orleans. I left all the US cities in the post and edited out a lot but you can find them http://www.numbeo.com/crime/rankings.jsp?title=2014 Based on the cities in the survey, Paris is safer than 15 US Cities and less safe than 21. I left in all the US cities but edited out a lot of the non-US so this wouldn't be so long. Follow the link for all the details and complete list. Since i live in one of those 21 safer cities i think i am safer here than there. But i really believe its all so marginal it comes down to your expectation of terrorism and that's a guess.

10 Detroit, MI, United States 77.74 22.26
19 Philadelphia, PA, United States 72.23 27.77
29 Las Vegas, NV, United States 66.94 33.06
37 Baltimore, MD, United States 64.32 35.68
52 Miami, FL, United States 60.57 39.43
54 Nashville, TN, United States 59.69 40.31
56 San Jose, CA, United States 59.57 40.43
58 Rome, Italy 59.37 40.63
60 Spokane, WA, United States 59.20 40.80
63 Chattanooga, TN, United States 58.59 41.41
65 Washington, DC, United States 58.21 41.79
68 Houston, TX, United States 56.79 43.21
80 Orlando, FL, United States 54.93 45.07
81 Chicago, IL, United States 54.91 45.09
85 Minneapolis, MN, United States 53.75 46.25
87 Moscow, Russia 53.54 46.46
93 Phoenix, AZ, United States 52.90 47.10
94 Milwaukee, WI, United States 52.90 47.10
95 Paris, France 52.61 47.39
97 Athens, Greece 52.35 47.65
100 New Orleans, LA, United States 52.08 47.92
102 San Antonio, TX, United States 51.57 48.43
107 Tampa, FL, United States 51.28 48.72
134 Dallas, TX, United States 47.35 52.65
135 San Diego, CA, United States 47.25 52.75
147 New York, NY, United States 45.79 54.21
156 Geneva, Switzerland 44.80 55.20
157 Los Angeles, CA, United States 44.73 55.27
159 San Francisco, CA, United States 43.49 56.51
162 Stockholm, Sweden 43.35 56.65
163 Columbus, OH, United States 43.22 56.78
164 Almaty, Kazakhstan 43.12 56.88
166 Istanbul, Turkey 42.87 57.13
167 Roanoke, VA, United States 42.50 57.50
170 Portland, OR, United States 42.12 57.88
185 Seattle, WA, United States 40.34 59.66
188 Sacramento, CA, United States 39.78 60.22

191 Denver, CO, United States 39.60 60.40
198 Boston, MA, United States 38.79 61.21
201 Budapest, Hungary 38.42 61.58
205 Austin, TX, United States 38.03 61.97
213 Richmond, VA, United States 37.31 62.69
219 Pittsburgh, PA, United States 36.41 63.59
227 Honolulu, HI, United States 35.57 64.43
240 Warsaw, Poland 34.44 65.56
242 Helsinki, Finland 34.27 65.73
244 Baku, Azerbaijan 34.16 65.84
245 Amsterdam, Netherlands 34.06 65.94
252 Buffalo, NY, United States 33.44 66.56
259 Prague, Czech Republic 32.63 67.37
262 Salt Lake City, UT, United States 32.34 67.66
264 Bucharest, Romania 31.89 68.11

273 Vienna, Austria 29.91 70.09
279 Toronto, Canada 28.66 71.34
284 Berlin, Germany 27.75 72.25
287 Frankfurt, Germany 27.52 72.48
289 Reno, NV, United States 27.03 72.97
328 Munich, Germany 16.85 83.15

Posted by James E.
USA
7886 posts

neilsbell2010, 5 murders in 5 days in NYC in 2014 would be pretty much the average. There were 328 murders in 365 days among 8.45 million people. I hope you aren't wasting your time watching the French crime statistics on television while you are there! Relax and enjoy. But if you must know, statistically at least one person was murdered in Paris since you arrived. Besides being only 2.4 million people the homicide rate is half that of NYC.

Posted by Ilja
Seattle
4244 posts

Nice statistics, James. I like it. It's all over the world. That's why I suspect that all cities possibly could not be included in the study. Then it would be beneficial to know what crimes are in statistics. Any reported crimes? White collar crimes? Drug offenses? Prostitution? Residential burglaries? Car theft? Pickpocketing? Rapes? Assaults? Murders? We don't know. As a tourist I would like to see stats for violent crime and maybe as an extra - pickpocketing.

Posted by Ilja
Seattle
4244 posts

James, Paris is the third largest city of Europe after Moscow and London, with about 8 million people. That number around 2 million is just downtown.

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
9245 posts

Unless someone doesn't remember the history, it was the role of the French at Yorktown that brought about the British surrender of their field army twice in the same war. You can see the painting depicting that event in the Battle Galerie at the Chateau of Versailles. The presence and role of the French Navy precluded any chance of a British evacuation. Sea power, ie, French sea power, decided the issue at Yorktown.

@ rhanderson6...You won't be the only tourists at that time, tourists of other nationalities will certainly be there too, regardless of Americans' concern for safety. Ideally, if you look at TV5monde (we get that in the Bay Area in the original) and read the French press, you can be informed of crime in daily life in France.

Posted by Pam
Troy, Idaho, USA
4944 posts

I feel so bad for the original poster! This is her first post on the RS forum and the thread has drifted into a debate between a few posters.

To the OP, I love the responses you have gotten from Kim and a.dubessay who are living in Paris. It still does not help you decide what you think is best for your family and how they will react to the situation there. I think it helps that they are older kids/adults so is easier to discuss events with them.

If you do go, I would love to read a Trip Report when you come back!

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
28655 posts

rhanderson,

Hope you're making some headway on your decision on visiting Paris. You may get some good information on which sights might be open then by having a look at the RS France guidebook, which you should be able to find in your local Library. Hopefully one of the RS staff members will spot this thread, as I'm sure they will be able to offer some good tips.

In terms of the "safety" aspect, that's over a month in the future and I expect things will have settled down by then and some semblance of normalcy returned to the city. Which part of Paris were you planning to stay in?

Posted by James E.
USA
7886 posts

Actually I thought it was a polite and very illuminating discussion. It made me take the time to determine if my assumptions were in any way based on reality. I discovered some are and some were not. Personally I got a lot out of it. Sorry if no one else did. But I am done. I think without going back to university its as far as a I can take it. G-d Bless All for tolerating the indulgence. Peace

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
9245 posts

@ Ilja...your point is well taken. I've been to Seattle a total of three times, twice in the winter, once in the summer, walked all over daytime, and I do like the city (otherwise no 2nd and third visits in the winter) plus the airport. At night I wouldn't be walking around solo, say at Pioneer Square or down in the waterfront area, too risky, too desolate, maybe I don't a feel for the place as yet as I do for Gare du Nord or de l'Est. No problems taking the Paris Metro at night but riding the bus in Seattle at night, I'd rather avoid , ie, after rush hour. Maybe it's much ado about nothing. Seattle's public transportation system is to me much more preferable than that in SF.

Anyone acquainted with the Bay Area knows that on any given week-end, you can count the number of total shootings, not dead, that took place that week-end in San Jose, Oakland, SF, or Richmond. One manifestation of the violence by gun fire here is the "drive by"...do cities like Paris have that? I would take my chances in in Paris.

Posted by James E.
USA
7886 posts

Ilja, like I said there are just too many variables for a guy like me. I just thought the comments about an American being safer in Paris, or any place Europe or Asia or Africa wasn't an easy proof. A reasonable gut feeling maybe, but way too broad a brush. There isn't a statistic on earth that could demonstrate that for me, where I live, that I would be safer in Paris; not that Paris is unreasonably dangerous. The only question that is outstanding is does the terrorism shift that balance and since the answer in pure conjecture there really isn't a right or wrong answer unless or until something else blows up.

So, me, personally: keep the wife and kids away for a while and see how it plays out.

Posted by jen
Portland
548 posts

James, I don't think anyone can tell people where they will feel comfortable traveling. But I've seen nothing that suggests that the tourist area in Paris is more dangerous that the tourist areas in other large European, U.S. cities. Small towns are safer both places. But frankly, the difference is so statistically slight it hardly matters for a two week trip.

But I'm not sure how much statistics matter. If you will feel uncomfortable in Paris, it won't be a vacation for you (even if it would be for me) so you shouldn't go.

Posted by James E.
USA
7886 posts

Jen, I wasn't trying to trash Paris. In fact I agree with you 100%. In this subject I just don't believe in absolutes so it was the absolute statements I was arguing. A few people just tended to cherry pick things out of my posts so they could express their opinions. While out of context, at least it's a discussion. I don't have issues with discussions.

Posted by neilsbell2010
2 posts

Thanks James - relaxing & enjoying is what I'm doing. I guess what I take from all the discussion is that terrorist attacks are like plane crashes - when one happens, it's horrific, and chances of survival are poor to nil - but they happen at rare (at least in N.America & Europe) intervals & random places, so that any one person's likelihood of being harmed is low (unless you publish cartoons offensive to some).
So, some people won't travel because they're afraid to fly; some because they're afraid of terrorists. And no, I have no idea what the relative odds are of either being fatal - it's a personal choice.

Posted by James E.
USA
7886 posts

neilsbell2010, thanks. Hope you are having a good time. I love Paris. If you have noticed my posts elsewhere in in the RS forum you might know I have favorite location. But even given that, when someone is making their first trip to Europe and they ask where to go I put Paris first on the list, followed by Rome and London. Sort of the mirepoix of European travel. We'll be back in the next year or so.

Posted by Leslie
Atlanta, Georgia
520 posts

Just got home from Paris/UK trip. We were there during the attacks and a week following it. I didn't read all the posts prior to this one so forgive me if it's repetitive. The few days after the attack were pretty aweful. We got back from a day trip on Wednesday and went to the Christmas market. It was the first time it felt normal. Not everything was open but it was definitely close to what I remember it being this time of year in cafes and shops. The tourist attractions were still slow to open. I imagine it will be sorted out when you get there. Seems the reason for it while we were there was safety for the employees. Wether you go or not with your family is such a personal choice. Not sure anyone can offer anything here other than what they would do. I'll just say I'm glad to be home but will be back again one day with my family.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
10740 posts

If I could I would go tomorrow, but will have to wait till spring.. and will be meeting my 19 yr old child there( she is traveling Europe next spring with friends for a few months and of course wants to include Paris...I can't " keep her away" cause she's a grown up too!

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
10740 posts

News is always depressing , except for those human interest stories they tack on at end of broadcasts, " 10 yr old donates birthday loot to shelter" or " Rocky the water skiing squirrel sets world record" . ...

It's emotionally draining/ depressing price to pay for not being ignorant of current events.

Posted by Ceidleh
Boston, MA, United States
1711 posts

What are they smoking over at Numbeo when they put this list together? Business takes me routinely to Hartford, and while there are certainly crappy areas, those areas really pale in comparison to Brazil and Venezuela. In fact, my company insists on providing a driver and personal security detail whenever any employee has to go to Brazil for work, but they sure don't provide either of those when an employee has to work in Hartford! I will need to send this list to Corporate Security to show them that according to Numbeo, Hartford is a hot bed of danger at #5 compared to Rio at #16 and I now require one of our Lincoln Town Cars or Mercedes with my own driver and armed security if I need to get from the office to my hotel.

And while Philadelphia made the Numbeo list, Camden, NJ is noticeably absent. However, I will say that your comment about most people who are middle to upper-middle class and either live in or visit a city on vacation have little to no reason to ever go into the crappier parts of the city is pretty spot on. I lived in Philadelphia for many years and the "daily" shootings or "frequent" murders that everyone always references when talking about how dangerous the U.S. is compared with Europe pretty much occurred in the same parts of the city - parts that contain absolutely nothing of interest to a tourist. In all the years I was there, only 2 fatal shootings happened in my immediate neighborhood (which was very close to a major tourist site). One was a woman who was shot on the street by a co-worker who was stalking her (gunman had a specific target and it happened before sunrise so not like there were hundreds of people walking in that area at the time of the shooting), the other was a mentally ill person shot by the police when he charged them - suicide by cop, not entirely uncommon.

RHAnderson, why not poll your children as to whether or not they feel ok about going a month from now. They are certainly old enough to have clear opinions about whether they would feel comfortable or if they prefer postponing a few more months. It's just over a month away, so aside from the holiday closures, I would say unless there are some strikes by workers, most sites should be back up and running by then.

Posted by Amy
Sarasota, Florida
67 posts

OP, we will be there the exact same dates. We begin in London on the 19th and then go to Paris on the 24th. I wasn't nervous after the attacks, but now that things have kept happening I am. We are still planning to go, but wondering if we should stay out of Paris. I am so sad that terrorists are ruining our dream trip. And I am concerned being a parent to my husband and my three children. This is tough. And such a personal decision. There are lots of factors in it, not to mention we have saved money to go and spent already $3000 in non refundable purchases for tickets, trains, hotels. So hard.

Posted by Ilja
Seattle
4244 posts

I would go. Paris is not Baghdad, Kabul or Bamako. It's a lot of threatening and intelligence services and police are very alert. These terrorists like to strike when it's not expected. There is always some risk. Maybe even higher if you stay in the States.

Posted by Nancy
Kennesaw, GA, United States
74 posts

if I understand correctly, you've already paid for a surprise trip to France for 6 people, all of whom can be treated as an adult (I mean, no kiddies, no nap time) I can't think of a better situation for taking it as it comes for some adventure. Your plane tickets are the most expensive part of your travel, so use them to get to Europe, but between now and then, you can decide where to go in Europe. One of the advantages of Europe is an amazing array of low cost airlines and fairly inexpensive trains to anywhere.

I have a ticket to Paris for February and after the attacks, I have been laying back and watching and waiting and preparing an alternate adventure. For example, Easyjet has a flight to Rome round trip for $95. The scenic train to Rome is approx. $250. The Eurostar to London is $100 or so. Barcelona and Madrid are affordable. And some of these fares will be less expensive when you get within two weeks of travel.

My advice would be to consider cancelling your hotel and seeing what possible options look good to you and having them in your back pocket to choose from if Paris doesn't feel right.

Posted by Webmaster
Edmonds, WA, USA
469 posts

I cleaned up a number of posts here.

This is a reminder that we do not allow you to single out members of our forum for derision, belittlement, etc whether you like their comment or not. Even if you perceive a post or person to be in violation of our Community Guidelines, it is also against our guidelines to respond to them as these replies only serve to further arguments and send threads off topic. If you do not like a comment or you disagree with that comment, you are welcome to post your differing opinion without cutting down someone else for their comments.

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RS Webmaster

Posted by zotz20
San Diego, California
28 posts

If worries about being killed by terrorists stop you from visiting anywhere - Paris, France or Perris, California, they win. Don't let them.