As most of you know by now, Nicolas Sarkozy was elected president of France last weekend. At this early stage, it is hard to say whether his tenure will revitalize the country, which was the central plank in his election platform – to break with past and social processes that were not working. Well, this is not a political website,so we wish Mr. Sarkozy great success.
Our concern, however, is with travel and tourism under the new president. As you may also know, Sarkozy was the interior minister during the three weeks of riots that shook France late in 2005. By all accounts, he is despised in the suburbs dominated by immigrants from northern Africa and the Middle East. Since his election, there has been sporadic violence in this community across France that has been considered a show of these residents dissatisfaction with the vote and their status in French society. During this summer, all travelers to France should pay extra attention to this issue.
It is likely that problems could flare in Paris, Lyon, Marseilles and Toulouse, although trouble could pop-up anywhere. In general, the rioting in 2005 was far from the tourist areas in most of these cities, although it did affect trains to and from the DeGaulle airport. So, keep an eye out if you plan to travel in any of the urban centers of France this summer.
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