Bad things can happen anywhere but by exercising only the most reasonable precautions, you'll find the French Riviera a safe and secure destination. Let's look at some of the issues travellers to the French Riviera face.
Although violent crime is rare, theft is not, particularly during the summer season and in heavily touristed destinations. Other high-risk periods include major festivals such as the Cannes Film Festival and Nice Carnival where people are having too good a time to pay attention to their surroundings. Watch out for:
- the "gold ring" scam where a passerby appears to find a valuable ring that is actually worthless and then tries to sell it to you.
- the "petition" scam where you are urged to sign and donate to a worthy cause while a cohort steals your wallet
- pickpockets that look for crowded areas and also public transport. Keep handbags zipped and wallets tucked away.
- "car door grab" where a thief reaches into an open car window and snatches whatever he can
- "necklace grab" which has become more prevalent with the rise in gold prices.
It stands to reason that if you go swimming and leave your stuff on the beach unattended, you're running a risk. Beach theft is more of a problem in the summer and more likely on popular, centrally located public beaches. The best protection is to leave your valuables at your hotel or pay for a private beach-restaurant. Another option is to install yourself next to the lifeguard or to ask a trustworthy-seeming person nearby to keep an eye on your stuff. For more on Riviera beaches, click here.
Driving on the French Riviera can be fraught with anxiety. Drivers are irritable and aggressive as they try to navigate traffic-clogged streets. Priority on the right is vigorously insisted upon and woe unto those who fail to correctly navigate traffic circles. Watch out for kamikaze passing on winding mountain roads and bus lanes on city streets. The two-lane coastal road that connects Antibes and Cagnes-sur-Mer is known to be particularly accident-ridden. Getting around by motorcycle is particularly dangerous unless and until you understand local customs. Pedestrians also need to be highly attentive, particularly in crossing intersections where a right turn on a green arrow is permitted. See more on getting around the French Riviera.
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