Generally, France is a safe place for travelers. And a perfectly lovely one! With some help from locals, we created this guide to staying safe in France.
For everything from safety tips to restaurant recommendations, work with a local to plan your trip. Locals will introduce you to a side of France that most tourists miss. Learn more.
Because of the coronavirus, the US State Department assigned France a Level 3 Travel Advisory, which recommends that Americans reconsider travel.
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.
Be on your lookout whenever you’re in a heavily-traveled tourist area like the Champs-Elysées—the crowds are perfect places for pickpockets.
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.
The “Yellow Vest” protests over rising fuel prices and income inequality have waned, but you may still come across a protest while in France. They largely occur on Sundays in major cities like Paris.
As the Yellow Vest protesters are organized, their marches never come as a surprise—check with your local to learn their schedule, and plan around it.
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.
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:
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.”
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.
Solo travelers will love all the spectacular things to do in France. 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 women travelers shouldn't have any trouble getting around by car, train, or bus.
Our trip planners provide some quick safety tips for solo travelers:
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.
If you’re coming from the US and are current on your standard vaccines, then you’re good to go. You might want to consider travel insurance however, in case you fall ill or have an accident while in France.
If you do become ill, pharmacies in France can help. Pharmacists are trained to make non-urgent diagnoses and to recommend medicine.