Safety and Security

Safety and Security in France - Student Travel

Our top priority is the safety and security of all of our travelers as it has been for over 40 years. We provide an extensive Safety & Security program through planning, partnerships, monitoring, communications, education and insurance policies, for our groups traveling to France, and for French students who stay with host families in the U.S. and Canada.

VIE works closely with the Paris to provide planning and support every step of the way.  Our full-time staff in Paris work with local, on-call Family Stay organizers to respond quickly and professionally to any emergency and support each group traveling in France.

To this end, we monitor all news and updates pertaining to travel to and within France.  We stay informed through a multitude of resources, including the U.S. State Department, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the French government (Ministère des Affaires étrangères).

Other safety systems in place while traveling to France with VIE:

  • Vistas in Education provides medical and trip insurance for all participants in our Travel and Family Stay programs.
  • When touring the provinces, groups will have a professionally trained, bilingual guide certified by the French government at all times.
  • VIE gives Organizing Teachers a French cell phone upon arrival in France for use while in France. Our Paris office can reach the teacher at this number at any time and the Organizing Teacher can reach our permanent staff in France.
  • Organizing Teachers and Travelers are given several important phone numbers in case of emergency :
    • The phone number for our full-time Paris office staffed by bilingual French nationals.
    • The phone number for each hotel they are staying at as well as the address
    • If participating in a Family Stay, the phone number for the Family Stay Organizer who lives and works in the region.
    • The personal cell phone number for Michel Wolf, the founder and president of Vistas in Education, who lives in the Paris area.
    • Teacher and students are instructed on the use of 112, which is the French equivalent of 911.

In over 40 years of business, we have cared for thousands of students and their teachers. We are proud of, and stand by, our impeccable safety record.

Important Terms

travel alert
The U.S. Department of State issues a Travel Alert for “short-term events we think you should know about when planning travel to a country.” Alerts can be issued for upcoming elections, international events, elevated risk of terrorist activity or health alerts. Note: VIE’s programs have successfully operated under these conditions. The Standard Cancellation Policy still applies.

travel warning
The U.S. State Department issues a Travel Warning “when we want you to consider very carefully whether you should go to a country at all.” Examples of reasons for a Travel Warning include unstable government, civil war, ongoing intense crime or violence, or frequent terrorist attacks. If a Travel Warning is issued, please see VIE’s Cancellation for WorldWide Events policy.

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VIE in France

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In addition to our office in the U.S., VIE has a full-time partner in APEC, our sister office (the Association pour la Promotion des Echanges Interculturels). Our year-round, on-site Paris office gives us a local presence with direct insight and real-time updates. This ensures that every group has on-the-ground support while traveling in France.

Cancellation for Worldwide Events

Vistas in Education has a security policy protecting families against major financial loss in case of unforeseen world events. Students will receive a full refund (minus a $100 administrative fee) if the U.S. State Department issues an official Travel Warning (Public Announcements and Worldwide Cautions do not count) against travel to France AND this Travel Warning is issued or in effect during the time the student’s program is to take place in France.  In the event that VIE activates the Financial Security Plan, refunds will be issued within 60 days.