France and Monaco - Consular Information Sheet
July 27, 2000
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: France is a developed and stable
democracy. Monaco is a developed constitutional monarchy.
ENTRY 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.
site of the French Embassy in the United States is: http://www.france-consulat.org.
DUAL 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.
SAFETY 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.
In 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
The 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, etc.
CRIME 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
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.
The 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 occur at the major department stores (Galleries
Lafeyette, Printemps, Samarataine) where tourists often leave
wallets, passports, and credit cards on cashier counters during
In 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.
ATMs (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.
Pigalle 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
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
Break-ins of parked cars are also frequent. Locking valuables
in the trunk is NOT a safeguard. NEVER leave valuables in
Thieves 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.
Purse 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.
The 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.
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Medical care comparable to that found
in the United States is widely available.
MEDICAL 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 difficulties.
Please 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 of death.
Useful 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: (202) 647-3000.
OTHER 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.
TRAFFIC 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
Safety of Public Transportation: Good
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Good
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Good
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Good
Roads 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.
Paris, 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 air service.
Drivers 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.
For 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.
AVIATION 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.
CUSTOMS 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
French 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 email@example.com, or visit http://www.uscib.org
CRIMINAL 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.
CHILDREN’S 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.
REGISTRATION/EMBASSY 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.
The Consular Section of the U.S.
Embassy in Paris is located at:
2, 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.
The Consulate General in Marseilles is located at:
12, Blvd Paul Peytal
(Tel: 011/33/4-91 54 92 00; fax: 011/33/4-91 55 09 47)
The Consulate General in Strasbourg is located at:
15 Avenue d’Alsace
(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.