France has been the prime target of terrorists since the beginning of 2015, with three separate attacks, probably because France stands for individual liberties, freedom of expression, equality and women’s rights, all of these values being deeply resented by these extremists. It’s because having a glass of wine with friends at a café is at the core of the French way of life that France has been so severely hit.
Many tourists have decided to postpone their trip to Paris, as well as to the French Riviera, because of understandable safety concerns. Since mid-July, hotels throughout the country are half full, at best, offering deals and rebates hardly ever seen, even on 5-star accommodation. Getting a restaurant reservation is a piece of cake, even at the Eiffel Tower’s Jules Verne. No line at the Orsay or Louvre museums. Flights to and from Paris are unusually affordable. France is definitely a good option for the wallet.
In fact, France, as a tourist destination, is probably one of the most affordable European countries to visit at the moment… and one of the safest. Security has been greatly reinforced and secret services have completely been reorganized to face this new threat. The French government and parliament have worked together on a set of new laws allowing much tougher measures, improved surveillance of private communications, and hundreds of suspected or potential terrorists have been placed under house arrest. Parisians have now grown used to seeing police and military patrols around town and at all major tourist spots. Bags are searched at the entrance of all museums and churches. In fact France is now much safer than it has ever been in the past.
But – and this is probably the best reason to consider a trip to the city of lights – if tourists stop coming, it means that terrorists have won. Just like after 9/11 in the US, it is important to continue supporting the French economy by visiting this wonderful country. Spreading fear is the very goal of those enemies of our liberties. Continuing living the good life in spite of intimidations if what the French have chosen to do. And smart tourists should do too.
David has taken almost 500 groups of ToursByLocals travellers on tours since 2011. Since July 14, he has not received a single booking. This is a shame for the many travellers who are missing out on meeting a delightful guide in an enchanting city. We hope you will - as David does - continue to "live the good life" and not skip Paris on your travels.