EU citizens with an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) are entitled to care in Dordogne & Lot from the national health system (which in practice means you are covered for 75–80% of your treatment). As the UK is no longer a member of the European Union, requirements for UK citizens may differ – check before travelling.
All travellers should consider comprehensive travel insurance that includes 24/7 medical assistance, medical expenses and emergency evacuation; accidental death and permanent total disability, baggage loss or delay, money and passport, trip cost cancellation and personal liability.
On the whole, health risks are no different from those in other Westernised countries. In summer, aside from the danger posed by over-exposure to the sun, there’s the nuisance of mosquitoes, and the rare possibility of being bitten by a tiger mosquito carrying dengue, chikungunya or even West Nile Virus.
The latter disease typically occurs from May to November. Using an insect repellent containing 50% DEET or 20% Picaridin and applying according to the manufacturer’s instructions can help. Apply sunscreen first, ideally about 20 minutes before applying the insect repellent. Similarly, if you are walking in areas where mosquitoes are prevalent, consider pre-soaking or spraying your outer layers of clothing with permethrin to kill the mosquitoes on contact.
More common now is Lyme’s disease from ticks. Wear light colours when walking in the woods, making it easier to spot a tick in case one lands on you. It is also worth checking yourself at the end of the day, particularly behind the ears, in the groin and under the armpits.
If you take the same precautions you do at home, you should be fine. Holiday homes that look empty are a prime target for burglars. Report any thefts to the nearest gendarmerie – the reward is the bit of paper you need for an insurance claim. If your passport is stolen, contact the police and your nearest consulate for emergency travel documents. By law, the police in France can stop anyone anywhere and demand ID; in practice, they only tend to do it to harass minorities, the homeless and scruffy.
Drug use is illegal in France but in practice the police only make an issue of victimless crime when it suits them, and there’s not much your consulate can do about it.
In recent years, terrorists have hit France and it is now common to see armed police at airports and popular holiday areas. You can download the SAIP app which gives alerts to any major incident.
Women travelling alone should not encounter any problems, although try to avoid arriving or leaving big city train stations alone late at night, where you might attract unwanted attention. If you are hesitant about travelling alone, download an app such as Find My Phone, Noonlight, bSafe and Life360 which can be used to check in with family or alert the police to your location.
France is a very tolerant country, but in remote villages a certain amount of discretion may be called for as you may encounter confusion, especially among elderly residents. A list of LGBTQ+ friendly hotels, bed and breakfasts, bars, and more, in France is available in English at travelgay.com and dailyxtratravel.com.