Bride & Groom MOM Subscribe

Find Local

Capital Comment Blog > Politics

This Is What France Has to Say About DC

France tells its citizens who visit Washington to ignore half the city.

Le sigh.

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.

That’s what France tells its citizens who visit Washington. Just like the State Department issues travel advisories and warnings for American tourists going abroad, other countries provide the same service for their people, but the recommendations—even from one of our closest allies—are not always flattering.

Translated from the French, the above travel advisory reads: Avoid the Northeast and Southeast quadrants and Union Station at night. In touristy areas like Georgetown and Dupont Circle, it’s wise to be vigilant at night. Anacostia is not recommended during day or night.

So if French tourists visiting DC follow their government’s warnings, you’ll never see them eating on H Street, Northeast, or at any of the restaurants around Navy Yard and Barracks Row in Southeast. And forget about any future Tocquevilles surveying baseball at Nationals Park (in Southeast) or Major League Soccer at RFK Stadium (in Northeast). And all French people will miss the burgeoning arts scene in Anacostia.

In contrast, the State Department’s advice for Americans who visit Paris is relatively tame: “Political violence in Paris and throughout France is relatively uncommon, although there are occasional instances of extremely large demonstrations simultaneously occurring in many French cities.” That’s about as scary as the City of Lights gets.

Not cool, France. Not cool.

Read Next

David Yurman Shopping Event (Photos)

  • Ridiculous advice

    This advice is certainly dated - it's the exact same info that the orientation folks at American University's Washington Semester program gave to my class back in 1998. I rolled my eyes then and even more so now.

    I have lived in the DC area all of my life, among very friendly neighbors in SE, NE, and inner-Beltway PGC. I'm a dorky white girl. I guess I've just been ridiculously lucky or something, but the worst that's ever happened to me is a catcall or two. In fact, I kinda feel safer in some of the residential neighborhoods here on the east side of town, where the vibe is more like a small town - everyone nods their heads and says "how ya doin?" as you pass, and if you screamed someone would likely come running out on their porch to see if you're okay. I know this is silly, but I feel more nervous among office buildings over in NW, because I am paranoid that if some crazy person started yelling at me, people would avert their eyes and not want to intervene.

    In fact, my dad was punched by a panhandler at a Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the Mall in the mid-80's, a college friend was held up near the National Zoo, and in the last few years a coworker's home in Glover Park was burglarized, and a friend was sexually assaulted running in a park in Arlington. So, personal experience is just anecdotal and all, but it's been the exact opposite of the usual stereotype.

  • ginned

    Just Stay Away From The Blacks Areas...

  • ChgoBluesGuy

    Dear French citizens, welcome to Washington DC. Please enjoy our national treasures, beautiful public spaces, and the buildings which house the world's most successful democracy. For cutting edge local food, music, and art, please proceed to New York, Philadelphia, or Baltimore. If you find yourself in an area selling $15 "hand-crafted cocktails," please proceed to nearest Metro station ASAP. Sincerely, a DC resident.

  • French Citizen

    Dear Benjamin,

    I am French and i have been living in D.C. for a 1,5 year now and as you pointed out, it is a common thing for governments to inform their citizens on the safety of neighborhoods in foreign countries. That is their job and we are still free to take the information into account, respect it or reject it. However, I bet that you will find a higher percentage of French, or Europeans, who hold a passport and use it to actually go out of their country and explore the world than Americans. Bottom line is I don't think your post makes a lot of sense in terms of the reality of what/where French people are doing/going... Why not write a your next post on the number of Americans who have never put a step out of their country and don't know how to pronounce a word in a foreign language ?

  • annoyed

    You're so ignorant it's hardly worth defending, but this is a completely ludicrous comparison. It's much easier to travel to different countries in Europe where the typical country is the size of two or so U.S. states, shared currency is the Euro, and the Eurorail is an easy and cheap method of transportation. When you travel to Germany, it's nearly the same distance as someone driving from Maryland to Georgia.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Most Popular on Washingtonian

The Summer Drinking Semifinals: Denizens Brewing Co. vs. Jack Rose

10 Offbeat Date Ideas in Washington

The Summer Drinking Finals: POV Lounge vs. Jack Rose

Donald Trump Sues José Andrés Over Old Post Office Hotel Restaurant

The 15-Step, Absolutely Perfect Burger

6 Great Swimming Holes Near Washington, DC

Things to Do in DC This Weekend July 30-August 2: BRNDA, a Midnight Run, and "Hip-Hop Meets the Music of Ireland"

21 Things to Do in DC This August

6 Can't-Miss Restaurant Openings This Week