You generally can't use tripods inside public buildings, but outside, as long as your not holding people up, there shouldn't be a problem. I've never had a problem using a small tripod. I've even used a small table-top tripod inside churches with no problems. Just be sensible. A monopod could be a more flexible option.
As for the film going through the hand baggage scanners, I wouldn't worry. I've travelled quite a bit, including between Europe and NZ, never had my film hand inspected, and never (like most other people) had a problem. I would only be concerned if using high speed film.
Scanning hand baggage, including all your camera gear and film has been standard practice in Europe for many, many years.
I suspect that the mail is X-rayed . . .
This may all be true but consider; JandC photo has a "NO X-RAY" tape they put on the boxes; anyone remember seeing them? I have had a career in Radiology and Radiation Therapy. In an x-ray film cass. there are "screens" of rare earth that when "hit" with x-rays emits light to expose the film. I would like to see someone really test the films by taking some of differing speeds and going through some airport scanners. I.E. slow, medium, fast, some of each. Develop after a set after one round trip, two trips, three trips etc. At some point there should be an elevated FB+Fog. I found that it isn't worth the time to ask for a hand inspection. They just look at it, hold you up, then put it through the scanner anyway.
Personally I wouldn't worry too much about it. I have travelled in and out of europe a lot, and have had my film x-rayed, and really have not seen a problem. I think if you were to have multiple exposures with really fast film you might be in trouble.If you are just going to France, get the stuff hand inspected in the states, and try for a hand inspection in France. Do put the film in a separate bag so they don't keep it under the scanner too long. My camera bag frequently drives xray guys nuts and they look at it for a long time, probably not a good idea for film.
Also watch out for museums and such, as some of them put your stuff through xrays also.
Hi Christian!) .. Don't be so modest. I remember your great handheld 8x10 shots .. your "pictorialist" phase? But seriously...Yes, you can use a tripod in Paris, but don't forget that in some cases (such as in parks or if photographing certain monuments), you may be approached by a security guard asking to see your permit. The thinking is: "tripod = professional = profits = France-wants-its-share". I have been forbidden to shoot in parks on several occasions. As soon as they see me carrying a tripod, they start "hovering".
These permits are issued by city hall, cost about $10.00 each and, if memory serves, you need a different permit for each park or monument you want to photograph.
And by the way, —strictly speaking— images of the Eiffel Tour lit at night cannot be commercialized because the lighting is patented, or something like that. The "Eiffel Tower Company" (yes, it's privately owned) wants their share, too. Same goes for fireworks on and around the tower. I think that fine art images slip by on this rule.
While I can understand these policies with regard to movie production or big ad campaigns, it's unreasonable to apply the same restrictions to small-time pros and fine-art photographers. I hope the French authorities and companies will realize that if they liberalized these ridiculous policies, their tourist efforts would benefit enormously by all the published photos and free publicity.
Hey Christian, please feel free to make any corrections, if you've had other experiences!