Foreign travel advice

France

Summary

France plays host to the Euro 2016 football tournament from 10 June to 10 July 2016. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has put together some top travel and safety tips to help fans travelling to France for Euro 2016. See ‘Be on the ball’

There were scenes of significant violent disorder affecting fans in Marseille from 9 to 11 June. There have also been confrontations between rival supporters in other host cities across France, resulting in arrests and injuries. Travelling fans are advised to be cautious. If you suspect violence may be about to break out, leave the area immediately.

The next matches involving British teams are Wales v Northern Ireland in Paris on 25 June and England v Iceland in Nice on 27 June.

Prefets (local French government offices) across France have been authorised to take all necessary measures to prohibit the sale, consumption and transport of alcoholic drinks on match days, pre-match days and whenever the local fan zones are open. There may be measures to restrict the use of metallic cans and glass bottles. Measures may be extended to the surrounding areas, including transport links to the stadiums. Additional security checks may be put in place. There are likely to be long queues so arrive early. Check local sources for more information.

There is a high threat from terrorism. Due to ongoing threats to France by Islamist terrorist groups, and recent French military intervention against Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL), the French government has warned the public to be especially vigilant and has reinforced its security measures.

During Euro 2016, stadiums, fan zones, venues broadcasting the tournament and transport hubs and links represent potential targets for terrorist attacks. You should be vigilant at all times, especially in areas hosting Euro 2016 events, and follow the advice of local French authorities.

A national state of emergency will remain in place until 26 July, in order to cover the tournament period and other significant events like the Tour de France cycling race. Check the French government’s advice about what to do if a terrorist attack occurs. See Terrorism

The French government has launched a free smartphone app to alert users about possible security incidents, including all major natural, technological and terrorist-related risks. Users will be able to view alerts for up to eight geographical areas. The app, called SAIP (Système d’alerte et d’information des populations), is available in English and French. You can download the app by entering the term ‘SAIP’ in the Apple App store or Google Play.

Transport strikes continue to affect some rail services across France and in Paris. Nationwide protests have been announced for 28 June 2016. You can find real time information on rail traffic on the SNCF website, and on Paris metro and bus systems on the RATP website.

To mark the Centenary of the Battle of the Somme, a national commemorative event will be held at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Thiepval Memorial in northern France on 1 July 2016. The event is ticket only. The public ballot for tickets is now closed. All those that entered have been informed of the outcome of the ballot. For further information on the event and travel and access restrictions around the town of Thiepval, and for information on other events in the Somme, you should visit the Somme website.

While there continue to be large numbers of illegal migrants in and around Calais, who may seek to enter the UK illegally, the security situation has improved significantly since the summer of 2015. Although the risk of incidents has decreased, you should keep vehicle doors locked in slow moving traffic in and around Calais, and secure your vehicle when it’s left unattended.

There’s occasional disruption to cross channel services due to strike action and migrant activity in and around Calais. Check the website of your chosen operator before you set off. In the event of any disruption, information about alternative routes and operators is available via this interactive map.

Around 17 million British nationals visit France every year. Most visits are trouble-free. The most common problem reported is pick-pocketing. See Safety and security

The Emergency phone number in France is 112.

You should apply for a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before you travel. If you already have an EHIC, make sure it hasn’t expired. Some medical costs aren’t covered by the EHIC so you should also take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel. See Health

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.