There was a time, not long ago, when French people were advised not to go to Baltimore or Cleveland Heights, Ohio.
That time has come to an end.
On its website, the French Foreign Ministry warns tourists to avoid certain parts of America. Harlem and the Bronx, for instance, are deemed unsafe at night.
Even as recently as last week, that list also included Cleveland Heights, to be avoided (along with Cleveland-area counties Lakewood and Euclid) at both day and night. Baltimore, the French Ministry wrote, was “considered a dangerous city except downtown,” according to a translation from Google Translate.
But after Cleveland Heights’ mayor took offense, the French have backed off their implicit claim that his hometown, along with Baltimore, is a distasteful slum.
“The French government is foolish and doesn’t know what they’re talking about,” Cleveland Heights Mayor Edward Kelley told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “Our crime is down, and it’s one of the safest cities in Ohio based on FBI crime statistics.”
Since then, the warning has disappeared. Here’s all the French Ministry site has to say about the Cleveland area (again, a rough translation from Google Translate):
Cleveland : The city does not endanger the day but at night is not recommended. Some suburban neighborhoods Northeast are also to be avoided.
The Baltimore warning is also gone.
“We are updating progressively all the elements of the travel advisory. We just communicated a couple more changes to Paris, so the final version should be out soon,” a French embassy spokesperson told ABC News on Monday.
Et voila! The French can now enjoy Charm City worry free.
They just shouldn’t visit north Philadelphia, Northeast or Southeast D.C., North St. Louis around the airport, Detroit after dark, or the Southside of Chicago, according to the French Foreign Ministry. Nor should they leave belongings in their cars in Houston. Or stop for anyone trying to flag them down on a dark road in Florida. The Foreign Ministry still advises against all of those things.