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

Is Lyon Safe for Travel?

ViaHero
Updated December 7, 2020

Normally, Lyon is a perfectly safe destination. Locals helped us put together this guide to safety in Lyon. It covers everything from the coronavirus to tips for solo travelers. 

Work with a local to build your trip to Lyon. Our locals offer up-to-date information you might not find online—and tips on how to avoid the crowds. Learn more

Is Lyon France Safe? 

When will France be safe for travel?

Naturally, one of the most common questions about travel to France concerns the coronavirus. When will France be safe for travel? 

Here's the latest:

December 7th: Presently, American citizens are not permitted to enter France unless they qualify for an exception. 

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Read our full update about travel and coronavirus HERE. Or, send a message to a French local

Safety in Lyon

Place de la Comedie Is Lyon France Safe
Place de la Comédie | Michael Moffett/Unsplash 

One of our favorite cities to visit in France, Lyon offers travelers a compelling combination of vibrant university life and stellar history. It’s also considered to be a fairly safe destination in France.

However, Lyon is a big city—it’s the 3rd-largest in France—which means that there are some things that travelers should know. Overall, it’s a wonderful place to visit in France. By following a few common-sense safety rules, you’ll be fine!

France Travel Advisory 

Pre-pandemic, the US State Department gave France a Level 2 Travel Advisory. For context, this is the same rating they assign to places like Italy and the U.K. 

Today, the State Department assigns France a Level 3 Travel Advisory. This recommends that Americans reconsider travel. 

Common scams in Lyon

Although France is a safe destination, locals tell us you should watch out for scammers and pickpockets: Beware of: 

  • Fake charity scam: In this scam, someone will approach and ask you to donate to a charity. Locals say this is often a charity for the deaf or blind. It’s a scam, so walk away. Locals note it's common at the Lyon train station.
  • Pickpockets: Whenever you’re in a crowded place—train stations, tourist hubs, the Lyon metro, or festivals like the Fête des Lumières—keep an eye on your belongings. Don’t leave your wallet in your back pocket. If you carry a purse, think about investing in a cross-body bag for your trip. 
  • Gold ring scam: If someone “finds” a gold ring on the ground and offers it to you, refuse. The gift comes with a price tag, and the scammer will become aggressive if you refuse to pay anything. 

These scams are common throughout France. So be on your guard, use common sense, and trust your instincts if something feels off. 

Local tip: If anyone offers you something for free—a rose, a bracelet, or another charm—refuse it, and walk away. These are common scams in France. 

What to know about protests in France

In the last few years, locals note that France has seen strikes over transit, retirement policies, and inequality. That means that—while French transportation is generally safe and reliable—strikes might disrupt travel.

Travel agencies might tell you to skip Lyon if a protest is likely. However, locals say that protests are usually planned in advance. If you work with a local to plan your trip, they’ll let you know how to navigate the latest strikes. After all, they do it all the time!

What solo travelers in Lyon should know

Solo Travel Is Lyon France Safe
Woman in Lyon |  Nicolas COMTE/Unsplash

Whether you travel to Paris or Lyon, locals tell us that France is a safe destination for solo travelers. They offered a couple of tips for anyone adventuring alone: 

  • Be firm if you want someone to leave you alone: American friendliness can sometimes be misinterpreted as flirtation. 

  • Keep an eye on your drink: If someone offers to buy you a drink, be sure you see it made. Just like you would at home. 
  • Know how to get home at night: After enjoying Lyon’s incredible bars and restaurants, know how you’re going to get home. As you navigate the city at night, don’t wander far from the crowds. 

Work with a local to plan your trip if you’re looking for personalized advice on exploring Lyon solo. It’s like having a best friend in France—but you’ll still explore on your own. 

Important French phrases

No matter where you go in France—so many options!—it’s good to know a few phrases. Locals tell us that these are some basic ones to keep in mind: 

  • Hello (morning): Bonjour
  • Hello (evening): Bonsoir
  • Thank you: Merci (merci beaucoup=thank you very much)
  • Please: S'il vous plait
  • Excuse me, where is…-Excusez-moi, où se trouve…?
  • I would like...Je voudrais 

As a big city, Lyon is a good place to stay in France if you speak no French. People in restaurants and hotels will speak English. But don’t expect the entire city to be fluent. 

In any case, it’s easy to say hello and thank you in French. Even if you have a terrible accent the effort is appreciated.

Emergency numbers to know

Although it’s unlikely, here are some good numbers to have on hand in case you run into trouble in France—whether you’re in Lyon, Paris, or somewhere else: 

  • 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

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