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Should I cancel my trip to France because of riots?

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Should I cancel my trip to France because of riots?
Workers clear away a burned-out car in a suburb of Bordeaux. Photo by Philippe LOPEZ / AFP

The UK and US governments have issued warnings to their citizens over travel to France because of the ongoing riots - but is it really necessary to cancel a planned trip?


France has been gripped with four nights of rioting after the death of a 17-year-old boy at the hands of police, and it's widely expected that trouble will continue over the weekend.

Clashes have been seen in towns and cities across France, with cars and buildings including mairies and schools burned, shops looted and police officers attacked with fireworks and missiles.

The dramatic images of vehicles and barricades on fire and platoons of riot police on the streets have also made headlines around the world.

READ MORE: UK and US warn over travel to France due to riots

But if you have a trip to France planned, is it really necessary to cancel? 


Obviously this is a personal decision and a lot will depend on your circumstances and your reasons for travelling to France, but here are a few guidelines for making decisions.


The clashes between rioters and police have undoubtedly been very violent and several hundred police officers have been injured since Tuesday, when the rioting began.

However, there are so far no cases of members of the public being injured and it is very rare for rioters to attack passers-by - most of the violence is directed at buildings, parked cars and the police.


Clashes have been reported in towns and cities across France, but the most serious violence has largely been confined to the low-income suburbs.

There have, however, been small groups of rioters in central Paris with shops on the Rue du Rivoli and Les Halles looted on Thursday night and tear gas fired on Friday.

IN DETAIL Where exactly are the riots in France?

Although small towns have seen some clashes too, rural France is so far unaffected. 


Around France, buses and trams will stop at 9pm "until further notice". In Paris, the Metro should run as normal - although it will end at 1.15am not 2.15am as is normal on weekends. Police may close certain stations, if they are close to clashes.

Outside of the cities, SNCF trains, inter-city buses and flights are expected to run as normal while road travel is also expected to be unaffected. 

The riots are not connected to strikes, so it's unlikely that there will be any service cancellations. 

If you are driving, it's advisable not to park your car on a city street as parked cars are often a target for arsonists - try to find a multi-storey car park or private garage instead. 


Several local authorities have declared overnight curfews - mostly from 10pm to 6am, although it's unclear how effective these were and whether they were actually enforced. They are largely confined to the low-income Paris suburbs that have seen the worst of the rioting.


In towns and cities across France bars, cafés and restaurants have been open as normal and clientele has been at normal levels, although some shops - especially supermarkets and McDonald's which have been targets for looters - took the decision to close early on Friday evening.


You can follow the latest updates on the riots and how they are affecting daily life in France at The Local's homepage here or on The Local Europe app.


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