Marie Artuphel


The “Exile Caravan” meets holidaymakers to discuss migration issues. The aim is to open up a space for dialogue on migration issues and to raise public awareness of the realities of migration in order to combat discrimination and prejudice. Its team travels around France during the summer to meet people and give them the means to better understand the issues surrounding migration and to deconstruct certain preconceived ideas.


Faced with the increase in armed conflicts around the world, the multiplication of humanitarian crises and the effects of climate change, more and more people are being forced into exile. This increase in migratory flows around the world, combined with rising inequality in France, has led to the migration issue taking centre stage in the media and on the political agenda. So much so that, according to an Ipsos study, in March 2024, managing migratory flows was the 3rd biggest concern of the French after inflation and climate change. The omnipresence of the migration issue has led to a crystallisation of debates and a radicalisation of opinions, making dialogue increasingly complicated.


Faced with this situation, the French Red Cross is convinced that another, more inclusive and hospitable approach is possible. On the strength of its principle of neutrality, the French Red Cross can play a mediating role by facilitating calm dialogue and deconstructing prejudice in order to highlight the positive aspects of migration. The Caravane de l’exil was born to respond to this need to talk about migration in a different way, by opening up a space for benevolent dialogue where everyone can meet.


Technical details & Operations

The Caravane de l’exil travels around France during the month of July to meet the general public: on beaches, village squares, markets, festivals, etc. More concretely, the Caravane is deployed in 19 different towns and in several regions of France and border countries to reach a varied public. Awareness-raising and deconstruction tools are used on the itinerary, based on a dual approach: a reminder of the facts about the realities of migration and the activation of empathy towards vulnerable migrants through immersive experiences as well as testimonies from exiles.

The itinerary varies from year to year, as do the activities, which change according to the context and current events. These changes and plans are co-constructed as they go along by a volunteer steering committee, enabling volunteers to be involved at the heart of the project. 

A wide range of activities are on offer, covering topics such as international humanitarian law, restoring family links and migration.


The ‘In Exile’ game, for example, is deployed every summer among 8-14 year-olds. This is a game of goose eggs in which children take on the roles of characters who have been forced into exile around the world. This activity enables youngsters to understand the departure of exiles, and to become aware of the obstacles encountered in the countries of origin, transit and reception. Virtual reality headsets are also used on the Caravan, with the immersive ‘Sense of Home’ experience raising awareness of the Syrian humanitarian crisis. Holidaymakers who discover the Caravan of Exile at random can then be immersed in Lebanon, where they meet Syrian refugees who tell them about their journey and their new life in the refugee camp. Many other activities are deployed to meet everyone’s expectations, but also to raise questions as the ‘spokesperson’ who meets the public directly in the street to challenge passers-by.


Deployment & Impact

Since 2021, the Caravane de l’exil has travelled to 57 locations across France, from East to West, both in the heart of major cities such as Lyon and Lille and in village squares such as Carantec and Lunéville. Thanks to this diversity of deployment areas, a wide audience was able to be met, opening up a space for dialogue and deconstructing prejudices among those who had questions or concerns about migration. Last year alone, the Caravane de l’exil raised awareness among 3,600 people across France, thanks to 80 committed volunteers. 

As well as deconstructing prejudices and opening up a space for dialogue, the Caravan made it possible to hear what people had to say, to listen and to be there for those who needed it. It initiated a conversation with passers-by who felt marginalised, and heard from Afghans, Tibetans and Ukrainians who shared their experiences of exile and their difficulties in France. The Caravane de l’Exil listened to the anger, the fractures and the wounds that weaken society, because they are convinced that our principle of humanity is reaffirmed and reinvented every day through discreet but fundamental gestures.