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Paris during Euro 2016

Hi! I'm travelling with 3 others to Paris, June 22-26, during the Euro 2016 cup. We haven't planned to go to any games :( , we just happen to be traveling within the same time frame. As a first-time traveler, I am very nervous however for the crowds, security and the current state of affairs in France, especially in Paris, as I understand it's not the safest time to be traveling in France.

  1. Can anyone offer advice on safety in crowds? I plan on carrying a moneybelt and a small cross-body bag OR Osprey daypack (haven't decided and would gladly take suggestions)

  2. Also, if any attacks were to happen during the Euro 2016 cup, can anyone offer any emergency #'s or tips on how to handle things if something ensues.

I am looking for reassurance. I understand I can't avoid the inevitable and I am trying to keep the motto that RS follows, "you can't travel in fear."

Thank you so much from a first-time, nervous nonetheless excited traveler :)

Posted by
4 posts

Once you have your passport, be sure to register on the State Department website at travel.state.gov.

Posted by
5624 posts

Don't wear football kits of competing teams. Would you wear a SF Giants kit at Dodger Stadium or a Dodger kit at SF's AT&T Park?

Posted by
9 posts

MrsEB: I saw the news this morning, thank you! It's actually the reason behind my original post. I know I cannot escape the inevitable, but I will definitely register with the Department of State.

Posted by
2147 posts

I registered my recent 2 week trip to Paris and Budapest with STEP and received a total of 3 alerts while travelling, definitely a good thing to do. If anything major had occurred I'd have contacted the US Embassy.

As for crowds, I used a belt-loop pouch and a regular leather crossbody bag that I generally moved to the front of me in any crowds or on the metro. I don't take my usual big wallet but instead a small Coach wristlet that is then fastened to the inside of my purse in a zipped compartment--I can pull it out to access but no one is going to be able to remove it without my knowledge. I must say that in observing the local women many carried big open purses quite casually or let them hang behind them on a crowded metro. However, that degree of risk is just folly when you're on vacation in a foreign country.

Keep alert in crowds is my best advice. You will see quite a police and armed military presence everywhere, I expect even more so with this major event, and not just sites like the Eiffel tower or museums (security scanning everywhere and I had to remove my purse, scarf and jacket most places for inspection) but in squares and near some metros, and I must have passed several foreign embassies while out walking that were heavily guarded. I did not at any time feel anxious or afraid.

Posted by
20973 posts

We were in Paris for World Cup in 98. The city was very quiet and lacking tourists. Two things - all of the world cup spectators were at the games and the press had warned about how crowded Paris was going to be because of the World Cup participants. As a result a lot of tourist may have changed their plans and avoided Paris that week. Whatever the reason the city was very pleasant during that time.

We have had this terrorist discussion many times. I personally think Paris and Europe probably are safer now than in the past ten years or so. Your greatest risk for personal injury is still the drive to and from your local airport.

I think the State Department warnings or alerts should be taken with a huge bag of salt. The warnings are so general and non-specific that they are of little value to your planning. I take them mostly as CYA announcements. Some day one of them will be correct.

We headed to southern France in September and never gave a single thought to tourists or State Department warnings in our decisons. I see little value in registering with the State Department.

Posted by
8927 posts

Yeah take the State Department warnings with salt. Been to previous Euro tournament in years past and they have issued similar warnings for all the past tournaments hosted by other countires, they are covering their butt.

Posted by
7204 posts

Most of the State Dept "warnings" or announcements are pretty much common sense. It's almost like they (State Dept) is doing a CYA.

Posted by
6244 posts

There is a difference between State Dept 'warnings' and 'alerts'. This most recent one for Europe is an alert, which just means that there are things going on there during this time that may make it more judicious to use your normal travel common sense, be aware of your surroundings and keep your valuables out of sight as much as possible. It does not mean you shouldn't travel there or you will be in danger if you do travel there - that would be a warning. There have been many alerts in recent years and most have come to nothing and worrying about them is useless.

Posted by
64 posts

Congratulations on your upcoming trip to one of the world's most wonderful cities! Needless to say, there will be a major police presence during your stay, especially at popular tourist sites. You can plan on seeing large numbers of armed police and military officers. I assume you are wearing the kind of money belt that is tucked into your pants or skirt. Any other kind is visible and is not ok. I used to wear a money belt, but found it annoying, so I leave my passport and most of my cash and credit cards in the hotel room safe, carrying only what I need in a crossbody bag. I carry a copy of my passport and my driver's license, of course. Carrying a backpack in crowds can be an invitation for thieves. It is very easy for a petty thief to open a compartment of your backpack. If you choose to use one, I strongly suggest you put it on your shoulder and hold it close, whenever you are in a crowd (in a market, on the metro, standing in line, etc.). I try to blend into the crowd and act like a local as much as possible. The French, as a whole, are refined and sophisticated....no baseball caps, etc. My husband and I travel internationally for months at a time. Of course, we use common sense and are just as careful abroad as in the United States. However, we travel for enjoyment and for life experiences. We do not travel in fear. Try to relax (while keeping your purse close) and have a wonderful first trip to Paris. Bon voyage!!

Posted by
31219 posts

In addition to the website linked above on warnings for travellers, THIS is another good website. It's addressed more to travellers from the U.K., but affects other travellers as well since terrorists won't be asking about nationality before they attack.

I would be a good idea to make a note of the U.S. Embassy address and phone numbers, and perhaps register for the Smart Traveller program. I would not carry a Daypack, since those will be subject of increased scrutiny, and may not even be allowed inside the venue.

I'm sure security is going to be extremely tight, so I doubt there will be any problems.

Posted by
5624 posts

Last night's PBS Newshour had a segment on ERUO 2016 showing Russian gangsters in action in Marseille, not Paris. The French arrested several English fans.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/10/euro-2016-england-fans-clash-with-marseille-riot-police-for-seco/

in marseille 11 JUNE 2016 • 9:36AM Gangs of Russian Ultra football
hooligans have pledged to bring further chaos to Euro 2016 following
two days of violence involving England fans ahead of their opening
match.

Posted by
487 posts

My wife and I were in Paris for a week in March 2015; which is after the Charlie Hebdo attack. We really could not have felt safer; you just need to be aware of your surroundings and watch for the usual issues that are discussed on these forums like pickpockets etc. If you follow the discussions on these forums for handling those types of situations, you should be okay.

Posted by
5624 posts

Emma note that "...the location of matches changes with each match" brings to mind American Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Willie Keeler's moto. Willie's advice is to: “Keep your eye on the ball and hit ‘em where they ain’t”. In this case, unless you are a football fan, figure out the active EURO 2016 venue locations and avoid those locations.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-3357430/Euro-2016-fixtures-Dates-group-schedule-times-venues-England-face-Wales-Stade-Bollaert-Delelis-Lens.html

Posted by
5624 posts

Russian update:
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/15/sports/soccer/russia-euro-2016-suspended-disqualification.html?smprod=nytcore-iphone&smid=nytcore-iphone-share&_r=0

VILLENEUVE-D’ASCQ, France — The Russian soccer federation was fined
about $170,000 and given a suspended disqualification from the
European Championships on Tuesday as punishment for in-stadium fan
violence. The sanction essentially leaves the Russian team on the
verge of being kicked out of the continent’s most prestigious
tournament two years before Russia hosts the World Cup.

The penalties were issued by the disciplinary committee of UEFA, which
oversees European soccer, and put Russia one further incident away
from the extraordinary possibility of being sent home in the midst of
a major competition. Russia’s next game is Wednesday, in a group-stage
match here, just outside Lille, against Slovakia.

Tuesday’s punishment was the result of ugly incidents at the end of
Russia’s first match in the tournament, a 1-1 tie with England on
Saturday in Marseille. Just after the final whistle, video showed a
mass of Russian fans — many of them wearing gloves more common in
mixed martial arts fighting and with shirts or scarves covering their
faces — streaming into a nearby section full of English fans and
attacking them. Fireworks and flares were also set off inside the
stadium during the match.

The two groups of fans had clashed with each other, local residents
and the police in the streets of Marseille in the days before the
match — resulting in a slew of arrests — but the in-stadium violence
was unexpected, both for its scale and its coordination. The Russian
soccer federation said it would accept the punishment announced
Tuesday but that it considered it “extremely severe.”