In the wake of Friday’s terror attacks in Paris, President François Hollande has tightened border security in France, even for those traveling within the Schengen Area, the European Union’s single-border collective. What does this mean for people traveling to and from the Fifth Republic? Is Paris back to normal?
While Hollande has imposed higher security at France’s borders, travel within Schengen remains free, although delays due to additional security. In Italy, the government has intensified border controls throughout the country, with its shared border with France receiving the strictest increased security. The Schengen region’s policy of open, shared borders was already under strain due to the ongoing refugee crisis.
In France, borders remain open, with security checkpoints on high alert and exercising heightened scrutiny of travelers. In Paris, over 1,500 soldiers have been deployed on the ground, with officials reserving emergency powers to search buildings, arrest people who are deemed to be suspicious or potentially dangerous, and seize weapons. Concert venues, performance spaces, libraries, schools, and markets have been summarily closed, and large gatherings of people have been prohibited; the measures are aimed at limiting further attacks of opportunity on high-casualty targets.
Eurostar service remains unaffected, but reports from travelers on Instagram show train cars verging on empty—the company has been offering free ticket exchanges for those hesitant to travel to Paris.
Flights continue in and out of France without any unusual delays; many airlines are also offering passengers free exchanges for flights into Paris.
For those still visiting or returning to Paris, the Eiffel Tower has been closed indefinitely in the wake of Friday’s attacks, and the Louvre was briefly open on Saturday but quickly ordered closed by France’s Ministry of Culture in deference to Hollande’s call for a national day of mourning. Every municipal museum in Paris was also closed on Sunday, as well as Disneyland Paris.
As in the wake of January’s attacks on Charlie Hebdo, it will be a while before Paris is back to normal and even longer before border security relaxes in France again—something that proponents of an integrated European Union, and its policy of open travel, hope will be sooner than later.