When a traveler is planning to visit a city as beautiful as Avignon situated in an interesting area like Provence, it is hardly out of order to be bothered about safety. The city remains one of the most attractive in Southern France with a pull force involving millions of tourists from different parts of the world every year.
In general, Avignon is a safe destination, like many other parts of Provence. Burglary and petty theft just seem to be the major problems- especially in areas that tourists do frequent- but assault is uncommon. When you visit Avignon, it is important to take the standard precautions: keep expensive electronics and camera equipment hidden, don not flash money around, and beware of pickpockets in the usually crowded area.
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Here are What You Should Know About Safety in Avignon:
Avignon is generally peaceful, and it sees fewer protests than a place like Paris. That means the transport system is often uninterrupted, so it remains efficient. The police are good at what they do in keeping residents and tourists safe, but visitors will still have to be careful throughout their stay in the city. They might be easy targets for pickpockets on the streets and in crowded places.
Transport and Taxi Risk
Public transport in Avignon is safe and efficient. The city is small, so walking is easy. There is the bike-sharing service called the Vélopop that allows both locals and visitors to ride along. But be careful when you board cars and trains. Theft from luggage and pockets do occur on public transport. Keep your bags close to you at the bus or train stations, and if you are riding a train at night, ensure that your compartment door is locked. Also, do not board suspicious taxis. The transport risk level in Avignon is moderate.
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Natural Disasters Risk
There might not be an occurrence of natural disasters big enough to disrupt vacation plans, so follow the weather closely. To be in the loop on safety, always be in touch with the tourism office and do as they say. Sometimes, violent thunderstorms occur in August and September. So before going on hiking expeditions, check the weather. And carry along some rain equipment and additional clothing against hypothermia. Mistral winds can be harsh as well.
During a fire emergency, dial the designated number. Forest fires are not uncommon from July to August and spread quickly. From July to the middle of September, trails that are prone to this risk are closed. For your safety, do not walk in closed zones. In Avignon, like many parts of the Provençale region, campfires are not allowed. In July and August, barbecues are not allowed as well.
Car thefts are common cases reported to the police. Leave nothing valuable inside your car, but if you must, hide it well. In nearby cities like Nice and Marseille, cars can be jacked at the red lights. That is why you need to keep the windows and doors locked when idling. In addition, park your car where there is a level of security. Leaving your car in a secluded place without a guard or security camera is risky. The car-theft risk level is low.
Beaches and Rivers
Beaches and rivers are mostly safe, but you need to be careful. Watch out for pale-purple jellyfish on beaches. And do not forget that the main rivers are usually linked to hydroelectric stations. So flood can abruptly happen when dams are open. In Provence, swimming is not allowed in reservoirs without stable banks (like Lac de Chaudanne northeast of the Gorges; Lac de Ste-Croix, southwest of Gorges du Verdon; and Lac de Castillon.
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Muggings in Avignon
The chances of being kidnapped or mugged in Avignon are slim. Some dangerous districts might be avoided, especially at night. But stay clear of deserted areas and poorly-lit streets. There have been reports of ugly incidences in late hours. Still, the mugging risk level is moderate.
The possibility of terror attacks in Avignon and the rest of France exists, and the risk can be high. This is due to the periodic threats posed by Islamic groups in recent times. This is more of a western Europe problem than it is French. Do not be surprised to see heavily armed military personnel in tourist areas and frequently crowded areas. Still, visitors need to be watchful and adhere strictly to the instructions of authorities.
Avignon is safe, but be careful around the Palais des Papes area of people trying to convince you into signing a supposed petition. Some scammers will follow you at the moment you depart the place and claim to be working for Palais des Papes or any other establishment in the city. This is a lie, and if you happen to sign the petition, these persons will ask for money. When such people approach you, ignore them.
The common scam is Avignon involves a gold ring. A thief will supposedly discover a gold ring in your path. Another one is to leave a newspaper on your restaurant table and ask if you speak in English. Do not pay attention to children with clipboards, especially the ones pretending to be deaf.
Women Travelers’ Risk
Avignon is generally safe for lone women travelers. But you should be vigilant as you will be in any other city in the world. France is among the most visited destinations for tourists in the world. That is a subtle indicator that it is a safe place to travel. So, women traveling alone will hardly have a problem exploring Avignon.
How Safe is Avignon?
Avignon is the one to visit regardless of its size. For the vigilant and experienced traveler, they do not need to worry about safety coming into the city. And the assuring thing is that pickpockets and muggings are not alarming in the center, unlike some neighboring cities, while police forces are effective in keeping crime rates to the minimal.
All the same, you should avoid taking flaunting your valuables and observe your surroundings well. Mobile-phone theft ranks high among reported cases. Tourists strolling around when Google Maps lead them are the group of travelers who are victims of this. So, try not to meander around the streets when you do not need to. Keep your phone close to yourself when at train stations and conceal it well when it is idle.
As a safety measure, carrying a rucksack in crowded arenas, and slinging it across your bust makes it more difficult for pickpockets to get into your bag. If you feel you cannot keep your valuables safe enough or that your luggage is much for the outing, either leave your passport in your hotel. If you are still not confident about this, walk up to the hotel reception and make use of their safe.
As for your documents, make photocopies of them and upload them to the cloud or simply email to yourself. When swimming, keep your valuables safe on the beach or wherever you will be. Ask management concerning locks where visitors can keep their possessions.
At the tourism office -located at 41 Cours Jean Jaures- you can get a map of Avignon where hotels are listed in different price ranges. You will also find restaurants, day trips to the nearby countryside, and ideas for nightlife. Avignon is not big, and no major attractions are difficult to walk.
Is Avignon Safe? – Summary
Formerly the seat of the Papacy, Avignon is where you will want to be for its brilliant blend of the varied-era architecture, urban life, beautiful landscapes, and terrific tourist spots. The city of about 200,000 residents is safe and receptive of any group of people. Public transport and crowded areas are places where travelers often get targeted. But if you remain vigilant and keep your possessions safe, you are not expected to experience any such incident.
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