COUNTRY DESCRIPTION ^
Monaco is a developed constitutional monarchy.
SECURITY AND SAFETY ^
The Government of France maintains a national anti-terrorism plan, "Vigipirate Renforce." Under this plan, in times of heightened security concerns, the government mobilizes police and armed forces at airports, train and metro stations, and other high-profile locations such as schools, embassies, and government installations. Over the last year, arrests have been made in France in connection with various possible terrorist plots. American citizens should remain alert and vigilant, and report any suspect packages or suspicious activities to local police. All passengers on subways and trains are urged to be aware of their surroundings and to report any unattended baggage to the nearest authority.
In the past, political assassinations and random bombings have occurred in France. 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. There have been numerous politically motivated bombings on the island of Corsica and there have been two bombings on the mainland near Nice following the conviction and sentencing of several prominent separatists in France. While no deaths were caused by any of these acts of terrorism, Americans should remain vigilant when traveling to Corsica.
Violent civil disorder is rare in France. In the past, however, student demonstrations, labor protests, and other routine demonstrations have turned into violent confrontations between demonstrators and police. Americans are advised to avoid street demonstrations.
has a relatively low rate of violent crime. Nevertheless, while the overall crime rate has fallen slightly in recent years, the volume of crimes involving violence has increased in France. Thieves commonly target vehicles with non-local license plates and work in or near tourist attractions such as museums, monuments, restaurants, hotels, beaches, trains, train stations, airports, and subways. Americans in Monaco should be particularly alert to pickpockets in train stations and subways. Photocopies of travel documents and credit cards should be kept separate from the originals.
In Monaco, the numbers are 17 (police emergency), 18 (fire department) and 9375-2525 (medical/paramedic team/ambulance).
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 Monaco are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines. Under the PROTECT Act of April 2003, it is a crime, prosecutable in the U.S., for U.S. citizens or permanent resident aliens to exploit children sexually via pornography, the Internet or other means or to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a person under the age of 18 in a foreign country, regardless of whether there was intent.
MEDICAL FACILITIES ^
Medical care comparable to that found in the United States is widely available.
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 it may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
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 United States. Drivers should be prepared to make last-minute maneuvers, as most French drivers do. The French typically drive more aggressively and faster than Americans and tend to exceed posted speed limits. Right-of-way rules in France may differ from those in the United States. 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. Many intersections in France are being replaced by circles, where the right-of-way belongs to drivers in the circle.
On major highways, service stations are situated at least every 25 miles. Service stations are not as plentiful on secondary roads in France as they are in the United States. Paris, the capital and largest 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 reliable. High-speed rail links connect the major cities in France. Many cities are also served by frequent air service.
For additional general information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, please see Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at
http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html. For specific information concerning French and Monegasque driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax, and mandatory insurance, please contact the Monegasque National Tourist Office hotline at New York at (202) 659-7779 or via the Internet at:
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 safety standards for oversight of France 's air carrier operations.
For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the United States at tel. 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's Internet web site at
http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.cfm. 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) 256-4801.
Please also refer to the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement.
May 18, 2004