French Embassy warns tourists to stay away from Baltimore and parts of DC


Red Alert Politics reports:

The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs has a list of recommendations and warnings for travelers visiting the U.S. — and some of their advice might surprise you or make you laugh.

Tourists are warned that the majority of homicides take place on public roads and are often linked to drug trafficking. French visitors to the U.S. are also told to make small payments in cash instead of using their credit cards — and to never let their credit cards out of their sight — in order to avoid credit card fraud.

The warnings also get into specifics about cities.

From Red Alert’s excerpts of the English translations:

  • Washington: avoid areas northeast and southeast, and the bus and train station “Union Station” at night. In the tourist areas of Georgetown and Dupont Circle, it is best to be vigilant at night. The Anacostia neighborhood is not advisable to day and night.
  • Baltimore is considered a dangerous city except downtown.

The original version (en Français):

  • Washington : éviter les quartiers nord-est et sud-est, ainsi que la gare routière et la gare ferroviaire de “Union Station” la nuit. Dans les quartiers touristiques de Georgetown et de Dupont Circle, il est préférable d’être vigilant la nuit. Le quartier Anacostia n’est pas recommandable de jour comme de nuit.
  • Baltimore est considérée comme une ville dangereuse à l’exception du centre-ville.

As far as Baltimore goes, just saying it’s dangerous except for “downtown” is a little vague. I’m not sure exactly what they mean by “downtown” but that seem a bit vague. Of course, their initial warning about Baltimore being dangerous will probably scare most of the French tourists away. I expect they meant the area around the Inner Harbor, which is usually the only exposure many tourists get to the city. There are places and times that even some areas near the Inner Harbor aren’t the safest. This was probably written by some wonk sitting at a desk in the Embassy in DC that may have been to the Inner Harbor and nowhere else and is going with old information. There are plenty of other areas that are perfectly safe to go to. Granted, there are some areas as a tourist from another country that people might want to avoid.

The DC warnings seem to have been written sometime in the 1980s or 1990s with the warnings to totally avoid Northeast, Southeast, and Anacostia. The Union Station at nigh warning is really antiquated too and seems to be leftover from a time when they had major issues there late at night because of the movie theater that used to be on the Food Court level. There are plenty of areas in all of the ones to avoid that are fine to visit. It’s probably advisable to be vigilant at night in any city whether it’s the areas they said to avoid totally or in Georgetown and Dupont Circle. The author probably lives in Northern Virginia and comes straight in to work and goes straight back to the suburbs at the end of the day while going to Georgetown spots because of the proximity to the Reservoir Road location of the Embassy.

If the U.S. Embassy in Paris put out a similar document about the bad areas in and around Paris there would be outrage by the French.

Jeff Quinton

Jeff Quinton

Jeff Quinton is an award-winning blogger who has been aggregating and blogging since 1998. He has worked as a reporter, in government, and as a communications professional in Columbia, SC and Washington, DC.

Quinton is a native South Carolinian who has lived in Baltimore since 2006. He is a recent convert to the Catholic Church and is active in the Knights of Columbus. He has been involved in the pro-life movement nationally and locally since 2010.

Quinton is a veteran who served as an intelligence analyst in the Army National Guard. He is also an Eagle Scout.
Jeff Quinton