See France like a local. Work with a local to plan your trip.

Is it Safe to Travel to France in 2021?

Updated September 13, 2021

Is it safe to travel to France? Mais, oui! Home to bustling cities, beautiful countrysides, and (perhaps) the best food in the world, France is an excellent destination for travelers. 

Our locals in France helped us put together this guide to staying safe in their home country. It covers everything from the coronavirus pandemic to tips for solo travelers. 

Looking for insider info on safety in France? Work with a local for on-the-ground access as you plan your trip. Learn more

"Linelly helped us beyond anything we could've planned ourselves. Everything she suggested for us was spot-on, and I feel we got the best experience by following a local's guidance."
Kate, Recent Traveler
Kate, Recent Traveler

France and the coronavirus pandemic

Travel to France is still a little complicated. As of June 2021, France has developed a system for vaccinated travelers to enter France. 

Vaccinated travelers from the United States and other "orange" countries are permitted to enter France with proof of vaccination (a CDC card). 

Beginning on September 12, unvaccinated travelers from the United States are also permitted to enter France but must present a negative PCR (72 hours) or antigen test 48 hours). They will also be tested on arrival, and are required to quarantine for seven days — at which point, they must take another test.  

Unvaccinated travelers will also need an essential reason to travel to France. That is, France will not permit unvaccinated tourists at this time. 

Overall, travelers must simply follow whatever local rules are in place. That includes wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and respecting curfews.

Because these rules can change and fluctuate at a moment's notice, we recommend connecting with a local who can help make things clear. 

France is a great place for solo female travelers

Woman in Paris | Tristan Colangelo/Unsplash

If you are permitted to travel to France, our locals say you shouldn't worry about going alone. Solo travelers will find plenty of spectacular things to do in France. So, enjoy! 

Whether you want to nurse a coffee and people-watch in Nice, explore a Parisian museum, or wander the beaches in Normandy, France offers plenty of wonderful activities.

Locals tell us that women traveling solo in France should feel safe nearly anywhere they go. They say that catcalling is no worse than any other European country, and female travelers shouldn't have any trouble getting around by car, train, or bus. 

Our trip planners provide some quick safety tips for solo travelers

  • Don’t walk alone in poorly lit and deserted areas.
  • Don’t accept drinks from strangers. 
  • American friendliness can be misinterpreted as flirtation—so be firm if you want someone to stop bothering you
  • If you’re on a long train trip using the Intercités de Nuit (night train) on SNCF, France’s national railway, ask for the special compartment for women and families. Even better, splurge on a private compartment on overnight trains.
  • Speaking of which, most French cities have great hostels with female-only rooms.

Benefit from insider advice—many of our trip planners are women. They can give solo travelers insights on what it's like to navigate the country alone. 

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Pickpockets and scams are your only real concern

Locals tell us that pickpockets operate at popular tourist sites and on public transportation. Follow common sense and be vigilant. Locals note that Parisian thieves are very good at what they do (tourists have been frequenting Paris for centuries), so be mindful and aware of your surroundings—especially in big cities like Paris and Marseille

Our locals tell us these are some common scams to avoid: 

The string bracelet scam

In this scam, a street vendor asks if you want a “friendship bracelet.” If you say yes (and often, even if you say no), a string/bracelet is tied so tightly around your wrist that you can’t move and then they demand money for the bracelet. Their partner may pick your pocket while they have you “indisposed.”

The gold ring scam

This scam involves a seemingly innocent person on the street pretending to find a gold ring on the sidewalk. They then ask you if it’s yours. When you say no, they offer to sell it to you (some have stamped 18k on the ring). If you end up buying it, you’ll own a worthless piece of polished brass. If you say yes, they will give you a sob story about being poor and ask for money. 

The streets of Paris are largely safe at night

Paris at sunset | skeeze/Pixabay

Romantic, classic, and full of unique charm, Paris is easily one of our favorite places to visit in France. (And there are so, so, so many.)

Happily, locals tell us that, generally, Paris is safe at night. So enjoy those moonlight strolls, Parisian sunsets, and magical nightcaps at bars where Hemingway wrote his novels. 

Just keep in mind that some places are safer than others. Locals tell us that the Le Marais district, the Latin quarter, and the South Bank—popular hubs for tourists and locals alike—are vibrant and safe day and night. Montmartre and Les Halles can be a bit sketchy. 

Local Tip:

Be on your lookout whenever you’re in a heavily-traveled tourist area like the Champs-Elysées—the crowds are perfect places for pickpockets. 

Work with a local to plan your trip.
See a side most people miss.

The Paris Metro is safe to ride

Metro in Paris | Paris-Sharing/Flickr

Locals tell us that le metro is safe, but petty theft is common at crowded stations.

Just take common-sense safety precautions when using public transportation—like you would anywhere else. 

We know that public transit in a new country can be confusing, but locals tell us that transportation in France is easy to use.

You may encounter a protest—but don't worry

Protests and strikes are a part of life in France. It's something to be aware of, but most won't interfere with your trip. 

Marches never come as a surprise—check with your local to learn their schedule, and plan around it. 

Local Tip:

The French like to protest! But big strikes usually come with plenty of notice, so it's easy to create a travel plan to avoid them. 

Emergency contact info you should know

  • Emergency - 112 (European emergency number like 911 in the US)
  • Police (24/7) - 17
  • Health emergencies - 15
  • US Embassy Paris - +(33)(1) 43-12-22-22, enter zero "0" after the automated greeting
  • Website - U.S. Embassy Paris
  • If you work with a local to plan your trip, they'll be available via phone in case you run into any issues
Still have questions about travel to France?
Why not ask someone who lives there? ViaHero connects you with a local to help plan your trip. They’ll create a guidebook based on your personal travel style.
You’ll see a unique side of a destination and travel independently—all while saving time and money in the planning process. Find a local today.

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