Rugby World Cup September 2023

Travel Risk Advisory:

Analysis of potential and ongoing risks for Rugby World Cup 2023

Between 8 September and 28 October 2023, the Rugby World Cup (RWC) will take place in nine stadiums across France. It is the first time the competition has been held exclusively in the nation, and across the seven weeks more than 600,000 international visitors are expected to attend the event. The tournament will open with the hosts taking on New Zealand at the Stade de France, Paris, where the final will also take place.  

The tournament will feature 20 of the top 22 ranked countries and includes nations from five continents. South Africa are the defending champions having won the 2019 World Cup Final against England, whilst Chile will be the only team making their debut on this occasion. ­

Free Travel Risk Advisory for Rugby World Cup in France 2023

In anticipation of the Rugby World Cup, share this comprehensive travel risk advisory to ensure the safety and well-being of travellers and executives attending the event.

In this report:

→ Overview of security in France during Rugby World Cup

→ Likelihood of crime, protests, civil unrest, terrorism and environmental risks

→ Transport and healthcare facilities in france

→ Full risk assessments for each location in France hosting matches

→ Travel security advice for visitors attending World Cup 2023


1             Stade Pierre Mauroy, Lille

2            Stade de France, Paris

3            Stade de la Beaujoire, Nantes

4            Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux

5            Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint-Etienne

6            OL Stadium, Lyon

7             Stadium de Toulouse, Toulouse

8            Stade Veledrome, Marseille

9            Stade de Nice, Nice

How Safe is France for Rugby World Cup 2023?

The security situation across France is consistent, with it considered a safe destination for travel and it is highly likely that visits to the country during the RWC will be trouble-free. The most significant threat to travellers is opportunistic crime in major and tourist cities, where all of the stadiums are located. Instances of violent and serious crimes do occur, though travellers are unlikely to be targeted.

Travel Risk Overview for France in 2023


Opportunistic crime is a common occurrence in France, particularly in the major cities and in vicinity of tourist hotspots. Tourists are highly likely to be targeted at transport locations such as the underground, RER lines and mainline stations. Popular tactics employed by criminals include pickpocketing, distraction techniques, and bag snatching.

Visitors should take and maintain sensible precautions concerning the security of valuable belongings such as passports, jewellery, and money at all times. It is also worth noting that there has been an increase in scams involving technology. Criminals use card-skimming devices at cash machines or install small cameras to capture unobscured PIN codes.

Travelers should exercise caution when using ATMs, obscure the entry of their PIN codes, ensure that the machines they use appear to be in good condition and are free from any suspicious attachments.

There is also a high chance of car break-ins in France. It is highly likely that parked vehicles with foreign number plates or obvious car rentals will be disproportionately targeted. Travellers driving to and from the RWC are advised to choose secure parking options and to remove all valuables from parked vehicles.

Given the nature of the event, crime involving tickets is also almost certain to be an issue throughout the tournament. There is a high likelihood that match tickets bought through unofficial mechanisms such as ticket touts will not be valid. It is advised that all spectators should only purchase from official providers.

It is also important to note that anyone who engages in the buying or selling of tickets through unofficial means may be prosecuted by the French authorities.

How likely is Civil Unrest and Protests in France During Rugby World Cup 2023?

Protests and strikes are a regular occurrence in France, and large-scale demonstrations have been routine throughout 2023. Most protests are non-violent, however, there is a realistic possibility that any demonstration that features a heavy police presence could turn violent.

In January 2023, a nationwide movement against pension reforms led to mass strikes and resulted in hundreds of thousands of people across numerous cities protesting. There were multiple incidents of violent clashes between the police and protestors after the security forces were alleged to have used heavy-handed tactics. The clashes are reported to have resulted in over 500 people being injured.

In June 2023, much of France experienced up to three weeks of violent riots and looting in numerous cities following the fatal police shooting of an unarmed 17-year-old from the north African diaspora. Although the victim was shot in Paris, it triggered riots in many of the major French cities were the RWC is being held such as Marseille, Lyon and Lille. This incident highlights the propensity for such events to gather momentum and spread across the country.

It is recommended that any travellers to France during the RWC monitor local media to identify any news events that have the potential for nationwide escalation.

There are several potential catalysts for protest activity and civil unrest during the RWC. The hangover from the pension reform presents a realistic possibility for disruption.

At the time of the unrest, demonstrators threatened targeting the Paris 2024 Olympics and the RWC presents another international event, that if disrupted would embarrass the French government.

There are no significant planned strikes or protests currently planned for the RWC however longstanding issues such as the socio-economic situation, the ‘Yellow Vest’ movement, and tensions over immigration are all potential catalysts.

The greatest civil unrest threat however is highly likely to come from environmental protesters, who have been increasingly targeting large scale public, sporting events, to draw attention to their cause.

There is also a sustained threat posed by French football hooliganism, with many Ligue 1 matches due to occur during the RWC. It is recommended that any RWC fans, especially those wearing national team jerseys, avoid any large gatherings of French football fans as there is a realistic possibility that they will target foreigners.

Environmental Risks in France During Ruby World Cup 2023

Environmental factors and weather in France during the RWC will likely vary considerably between each region given the tournaments broad geographic scope.

Current weather forecasts indicate the greatest environmental threat nationwide and particularly across the south, will most likely be extreme heat.

Projections indicate that temperatures may rise to five degrees Celsius above the typical averages. The summer of 2023 has witnessed severe wildfires affecting much of the south of France. With temperatures unseasonably hot, there is a chance that this trend may continue into the RWC. However, this risk will diminish significantly as the RWC progresses into Autumn.

Is There Any Risk of Terrorism During Rugby World Cup 2023?

The terrorist threat level in France was lowered to medium or the “attack risk” level in March 2023. This level indicates that it is very likely that terrorists will try to conduct an attack in France.

France has been targeted by several high-profile terrorist attacks in recent years, the most infamous of which was the 2015 Paris attack where the Stade de France was targeted by suicide bombers. The principal terror threat in France is posed by Islamic extremists.

France is almost certainly targeted by terrorists for its foreign policy, military interventions to combat the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, as well as extremist groups in several African nations, France’s commitment to freedom of expression and to influence France’s large Muslim population.

Despite the Paris attacks, large and coordinated terrorist attacks are rare in France. Terrorist attacks are most likely to be perpetrated by radicalised lone-wolf Islamic extremists using knives, firearms, or vehicles.

Attacks are likely to be indiscriminate in nature but will prioritise the targeting of transport hubs, government buildings, Jewish affiliated establishments, and tourist attractions. The non-specific, lone-wolf and geographically broad scope of such attacks means there are limited measures which can be taken to pre-empt an attack.

The RWC, as a high-profile and international event, raises the potential risk of terrorist targeting due to the significant global repercussions and attention an attack could generate. However, it is almost certain that the French authorities will have robust countermeasures in place, including an enhanced security presence, mass surveillance systems, physical barriers, emergency response plans, the deployment of specialist units and would have conducted thorough risk assessments.

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In anticipation of the Rugby World Cup 2023, share this comprehensive travel risk advisory to ensure the safety and well-being of travellers and executives attending the event.