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French Travel Advice on Richmond Gets Lost in Translation

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Here’s one list of six major East Coast cities Richmond probably doesn’t want to be on: the French Foreign Ministry’s rundown of dangerous areas for tourists.

As reported in the Washington Post yesterday, the French Foreign Ministry includes Richmond on a list of American cities (and the entire state of Florida) with known travel concerns. The specific warning? “Également, ne pas visiter le centre-ville à pied.”

“Don’t visit downtown on foot,” France’s Foreign Ministry advises. Hurtful enough, except the Post’s butchered translation as “Do not visit the city on foot” turned the discussion at Richmond.com to how poorly the French must view Richmond’s transportation infrastructure.

VCU French Film Festival co-director Peter Kirkpatrick, who verified the correct translation, is not happy about the list. The more than 20-years running festival works in collaboration with the French Embassy.

“Bizarrely, this list includes Richmond when in fact the ‘Who’s Who’ French Film industry find Richmond to be the place to come in the United States,” Kirkpatrick says.

The French Embassy, while polite, has not responded to a request for comment.

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