Safety and Security
The Government of France maintains a threat rating system known locally as "Vigipirate." This system is similar to the U.S. Homeland Security Advisory System. Under this plan, in times of heightened security concerns, the Government of France augments police with armed forces and increases visibility at airports, train and metro stations, and other high-profile locations such as schools, major tourist attractions, and government installations. Over the last year in France, there have been numerous arrests of suspected Islamic militants involved in various terrorist plots. France maintains open borders with its European neighbors, allowing the possibility of terrorist groups entering/exiting the country with anonymity, including via air travel to French Guiana. Although Americans have not been specifically targeted in terrorist attacks in France within the past few years, travelers should maintain vigilance. They should immediately report unattended packages observed in public places or any other suspicious activities. French law enforcement authorities are proactive and will respond appropriately. If there is a security incident or suspicious package, do not linger in the area to observe.
Although violent civil disorder is rare in France, in the past, student demonstrations, labor protests, and other demonstrations have developed into violent confrontations between demonstrators and police. Although the distance of French Guiana from "la Métropole," the part of France located on the European continent, keeps it relatively isolated from civil disturbances and domestic issues, Americans are advised to avoid street demonstrations, particularly if riot police are on the scene.