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Recent Rioting has not Diminished France as a Favored Destination

There has been a great deal of reporting in the international press on the riots in France. Some headlines such as "Paris is burning" conjure up images of a city in total disarray. But as VOA's Brian Padden reports, so far there is no sign the news of riots in France has deterred tourists from visiting Paris.

At a rally near the Eiffel Tower, minority rights advocates appeal for the end to the violence in France. Nearby tourist Bob Graham, from the United States, says his family decided to continue with their Paris vacation despite reports of rioting.

“We're quite concerned because we came in by train. The train came by the suburbs of Paris where the violence was. So we were concerned about that. And we did keep up with the news and made the decision to come."

The major tourist sites in Paris have been virtually unaffected by the riots. At places like the Louvre, it is business as usual.

Australian Jane Caraffy says reports of violence in the media can make it seem like the entire city is under siege. "I lived in London for years. You live through riots and things. There are always in very specific areas and as long as you are sensible you can avoid things."

At the Notre Dame Cathedral Katrina Bergmann from Germany says she was unafraid because she had not been reading the paper or watching the news on TV. She says she didn’t know it was happening.

The reports of riots also caught Jean Elwa from Egypt by surprise.

But he said his visit has not been marred by demonstrations or incidents of violence. Some who work in the tourism industry are concerned that reports of riots in Paris could hurt tourism in the future.

Taxi driver Franck Michel speculates that only visitors from one country might let these news stories influence their decision to visit Paris.

"The Americans. They would be the only ones affected by this. When something like this happens in France they are the first ones to get scared."

He is confident the rest of the world will continue to visit and enjoy the history and hospitality for which France is so famous.