View Full Version : Trip to France

02-10-2016, 02:36 PM
I'm planning a trip to Europe with my wife and two boys - ages 9 and 7.

We'll be spending five days in Paris, staying with friends, and then taking the train to the south - Nimes is the name of the town, and visiting friends in Jonquieres and Aix en Provence.

As you can see, we're spending the whole time staying with friends, which adds a layer of local intel and security. In Paris we will be doing tourist things and getting around by public transport. In the south, our friends are taking time off from work and will loan us their car for they cannot be with us.

Anything I need to be aware of, security-wise, other than obvious 4-S things? I've been to Paris before, but not in ten years, and never with my kids!

02-10-2016, 03:22 PM
Good to go now and not wait; Paris is 'changing'.

Be particularly mindful of certain areas:
"The Parisian suburbs make up the areas with the highest proportion of Muslims in France. According to a 1999 census, 1,611,008 immigrants live in the Ile-de-France region. Of this figure, 466,608 are from the Maghreb, 238,984 from Sub-Saharan Africa, and 50,125 from Turkey. These three groups of immigrant populations comprise nearly 50% of the immigration population in the Ile-de-France region. Accurate data on the large numbers of immigrant descendants and children are unavailable.2 (http://www.euro-islam.info/country-profiles/city-profiles/paris/#footnote_1_476)"

02-10-2016, 03:57 PM
Not a security thing but if you are considering picking up any luxury items that travel well it might be a good time to shop, dollar strength is on your side! I would shop some prices stateside and have the currency exchange calculating skills sharp.

I am thinking jewelry or a luxury watch but the one personal experience I have is I bought a kuu kuu clock in Germany and had it shipped from the store directly to my house so I was able to avoid the VAT tax.

I went on a similar trip with wife and kids a few years ago and stayed with family although we hardly spent any time in Paris. The train from the airport in Paris was interesting, a bunch of muslims riding and a few tagged up train stations, kind of like NYC I guess. I thought it was cool to see the military patrolling the train stations. I tried to get a three man team to pose for a pic with my kids but the leader shook his head no, not surprised but it was worth a try, lol. A few times my wife and I were able to leave the kids with family and go walk around hitting bars/pubs/whatever they're called in France with no problems. Definitely contact your cellular provider before going but plan on spending some time and money in a cell phone store over there to get the right SIM card (if that's still what is used) and make sure everything is working. Nothing much else to say, I was pretty comfortable the whole time. Seemed like the French were mostly smaller and skinny people. The best beer I had was Czechoslovackian Budweiser. It was NOT Anheiser Busch and I have not seen it since Europe. Great stuff.

Sounds like an awesome trip, enjoy!

02-10-2016, 04:02 PM
We spent a week or so in Paris last September and traveled widely throughout the city. We used the Metro extensively. Our observation was the migrants appeared to be concentrated generally in the eastern third of the city. If you are taking public transportation be advised that certain east side Metro stations and even general transportation hubs like the Gare du Nord are infested with middle-eastern and North African migrant men who are just standing around with nothing to do. They stand in groups smoking, littering, and stare at you as you walk by. The adjacent La Chapelle metro station was particularly bad in this regard. That station was absolutely filthy and walking through that station even in the daytime my wife and I both felt a real air of menace. I would not have wanted to be there at night and I wouldn't have wanted my kids anywhere near it any time.

We stayed in the western two-thirds of Paris and the rest of it seemed perfectly safe, even at night. Of course, much has changed in the short time since we were there.

We also visited Aix en Provence and it was one of our favorite places. Aix, the former home of the artist Cezanne, consists of a wonderful old part of the city surrounded by charmless modern suburbs. Stay in the old part if you can as that is where all action is (cafes, eating, shopping, tourist attractions, etc.). There is even an Apple Store.

02-10-2016, 04:25 PM
Daughter was there in March. Said the entire city smelled of urine. The French, in typical style, treated her group of teenagers like shit. In Italy, the people were wonderful. Go figure.

Captain Ron
02-10-2016, 05:10 PM
Buy your train tickets now, early. Don't get the cheapest seating, do not take a cheap night train. If you wait until the last minute you will probably not get a good train or a good seat. Always have one adult awake and watchful over your bags regardless; possible exception is private sleepers but I've heard of those being opened as well. You can try to lock your stuff down while you sleep but straps can be cut.

Don't dress like a proud United States citizen or yokel tourist. Try to bring clothes that fit in with the locals and you will be treated better. Same goes for knowing some French, etc. I enjoyed Paris, was there for a week several years ago. It helped to speak French... Bought some cheap clothes from a "last-years fashion" store of some sort and got asked for directions in French a few times. For one or two people renting a scooter or motorcycle is the way to go, not sure if a car is worth it as the Metro is extensive with stops everywhere.