Paris is the City of Love; it’s the home of the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, and the freaky catacombs, too. Even the graveyards are famous in Paris: Père Lachaise Cemetery for one.
It’s easy to think of beloved cultural icons like Paris as these shiny little slices of paradise where bad things never happen. For better or worse, Paris is still a major capital city and with that comes city problems. There are petty theft and reports of violent crime. But tourists often struggle to gauge how likely they are to be affected by these things.
In fact, you may be wondering, “is Paris safe to visit right now?”
That is why we have created this epic guide to staying safe in Paris. We are going to help you travel smartly and avoid the dregs of Paris.
Whether you’re travelling solo, with friends or with your family, you’ll find some useful information in our tips and tricks for your visit in one of the most romantic cities.
From driving around the city to the famous Parisian food, or travelling as a solo female backpacker, we’ve listed up a couple of do’s and don’ts to make your trip to Paris enjoyable, and most importantly, as safe as possible.
How Safe is Paris? (Our take)
Paris pretty much speaks for itself as a destination, right? It’s France’s capital city and a world-famous city, after all! And that’s for a good reason: world-renowned museums, good food, beautiful architecture. Millions of tourists are drawn into the city every year, making Paris one of the most popular vacation destinations worldwide. Most backpacking trips to Paris end trouble-free.
But it’s not all quite as romantic as you’d think.
There’s a lot of pickpocketing going on, not to mention criminal gangs and some big protests. For all its grandeur, Paris is still a big city and suffers from big-city problems.
Generally speaking, France is a safe country to visit and Paris is not an exception to this. Of course, you need to have a general sense of awareness about your surroundings, but you won’t likely be in immediate danger. The biggest risk while travelling Paris is petty theft.
As a well-developed European city, there might be thefts here and there, but the living standard is still very high. It does pay to keep an eye on the news though, and if you don’t want to get caught up in a large protest, keep off the streets when the French get a bee in their bonnet.
Is Paris Safe to Visit Right Now?
Most backpackers to France pass through Paris at some point.
40 million tourists visited the city in 2018, which makes Paris the most popular destination for vacation in Europe.
While there have been terrorist attacks over the years in Paris – and while they garner a lot of media attention – the likelihood of one happening while you visit Paris is low. There have been new measures put in place to mitigate the consequences of these attacks as well.
As in many big cities, there are issues for women as well – for example, groping on the metro can be a problem. My personal way of dealing with assholes is to call them out and publicly shame them. But that doesn’t work for everyone. The other thing is, assholes aren’t unique to Paris, so they aren’t a reason to miss out on seeing one of the world’s greatest cities.
The yellow vest movement, an anti-government demonstration, used to be a real safety problem in Paris, but the number of protests has pretty much died down.
These protests are noteworthy because they often take place around popular tourist sites – e.g. the Arc du Triumph – and they sometimes turn violent, too. Trying to find out when protests are scheduled (usually at the weekend) is a good idea. Also, consider avoiding the Champs Élysées during these days.
We’re saying Paris is very safe to visit right now but expectations will still need to be tempered.
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Safest Places in Paris
Paris is very safe in most areas. The only thing you might have to worry about is pickpocketing thieves around the tourist spots. As long as you keep your eyes open, you’ll be safe in Paris no matter where you stay. However, we’ve listed the three best districts below.
Le Marais – 3rd and 4th Arrondissement
Le Marais is a historic district located on Paris’ right bank. An excellent destination for art lovers, Le Marais is home to some of the finest art galleries and most interesting museums on the planet. Since the overall vibe is more relaxed, you’ll almost be safe from the Paris pickpocketing threat.
Great for History Lovers
Great for History Lovers
Le Marais is a historic district located on Paris’ right bank. An excellent destination for art lovers, Le Marais is home to some of the finest art galleries and most interesting museums on the planet.
Eiffel Tower – 7th Arrondissement
Of course, we’ll have to feature the 7th Arrondissement with the famous attraction – the Eiffel Tower. This district is ideal for sightseeing as everything is practically in walking distance. However, this means that you’ll have to be more aware of pickpocketing and petty theft. Just keep your eyes open and stay aware of your surroundings and you’ll be perfectly fine.
Best for Sightseeing
Best for Sightseeing
Paris’ 7th arrondissement is one of the most iconic neighbourhoods in the city. Situated on the left bank, the 7th arrondissement is right in the heart of the action, making it the best neighbourhood in Paris to stay in for sightseeing.
Saint-Germain-des-Pres – 6th Arrondissement
This can be considered as one of the safest districts in Paris. It’s suited for families and culture lovers thanks to its peaceful vibe and plenty of activities. Brimming with history, culture, art and cuisine, this centrally located neighbourhood is home to upscale art galleries, iconic museums, world-class restaurants and brand name designer boutiques.
Saint-Germain-des-Pres is one of the classiest districts in the city. Brimming with history, culture, art and cuisine, this centrally located neighbourhood is home to upscale art galleries, iconic museums and world-class restaurants.
Places to Avoid in Paris
There are no official no-go areas in Paris. Some people consider a few arrondissements a little sketchy. These areas should mainly be avoided at night but are generally fine during the day. As a female traveller, you should only walk through these districts with company or hop on an Uber instead. Be careful in the following places:
- The 10th Arrondissement: Gare du Nord and Gare de l’Est
- Northern 18th and 19th Arrondissement: nearby Marx Dormoy, Porte de la Chapelle, La Chapelle, Porte de Clignancourt, Porte de la Villette.
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12 Top Safety Tips for Traveling to Paris
So with all the historic sights and things to do in Paris come a few safety issues. Though a lot of the bad stuff that does happen in Paris won’t be affecting tourists, it still pays to travel smartly.
And so we thought we’d share with you some of our top safety tips for travelling to Paris so you can still have an awesome time in this cool city:
- Watch out for distraction techniques – asking you to sign up to petitions, people working in groups, anything that seems off probably is.
- And read up about scams – like the ‘gold ring’ trick for example. There are loads out there, so do some research.
- Don’t keep all your things in one place – if you get something stolen with all your stuff in it, you’ll be screwed. Be smart! Consider keeping an emergency stash in a money belt (you can leave it in the hotel room if you like).
- Keep your belongings close to you – don’t let your bag dangle around, or hang it on the back of your chair, anything like that. It will disappear from under your nose.
- Be wary of your luggage – around transit hubs and places like your hotel lobby.
- Use the hotel safe for your belongings – you never know when things might go missing.
- Be smart with drugs – make sure you know who you’re buying from, if you must partake.
- Pickpockets are a thing – all over the metro and at big tourist sights like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Pompidou Centre, Champs Élysées.
- So try not to look wealthy – it may be a chic city (or seen as one) but try to blend in. Looking like a tourist makes you a target.
- Watch out when you’re getting money out of ATMs – scammers and potential thieves could be lurking behind you.
- Learn yourself some French – hey, French people like talking French. This will really help you.
- Steer clear of any political protests – Actually, you could go to them if you’re like me and are interested in the things that a city find important. It’s exciting to get caught up in a moment of history. But do be alert, and if you don’t want to get caught up in a big crowd, it’s best to avoid these protests.
Some General Safety Tips from the OG Broke Backpacker
Is Paris safe to travel alone?
Solo travel is definitely something we’re all about. Getting to challenge yourself, learning new languages, growing as a person, being self-reliant – doing all of these whilst travelling the world is an awesome experience.
Paris is safe to travel alone (though all the stuff we mentioned already applies), we’re sharing a few tips so you can make your solo trip even more secure:
- If you want to be around people, then find yourself somewhere social to stay. There are quite a few cool hostels in Paris. Chatting with travellers from all over the world is a great way to get rid of those solo travel blues.
- Ask the staff at your accommodation for insider info, like food recommendations, where it’s safe to walk around and explore, what things you should see. Local tips are always the best!
- Learn a little bit of French. The effort of speaking the local language will go a long way.
- Stay in areas you want to explore so you don’t have to travel around too much. Most hostels tend to be around the city centre where you can also find lots of great Paris places to visit.
- You may be in a well-developed city, but you should still let people know where you are and what you’re doing. Keep in touch with friends and family back home and tell them what you’re up to.
- Use Google Maps to navigate the city, particularly its massive public transport network. If you don’t want to bother with the metro, Paris is a walkable city as well.
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Is Paris safe for solo female travellers?
A lot of women travel to Paris by themselves and have a great time. In fact, many women choose to make it their first-time solo travel destination.
Unfortunately, being a woman in any country can come with complications. Knowing how to protect yourself and stay safe in a new country is definitely a necessity for all solo-female travellers (or travellers in general).
We’ve listed up a couple of tips that can make your trip a bit safer and therefore much more enjoyable:
- Be careful on nights out. Looking up your route back home is a good idea, as well as watching the number of drinks you’re having (with that also comes the rule of never taking your eyes off your drink).
- Although you don’t need to cover up in Paris, Parisian women don’t often wear revealing outfits. Doing so will definitely bring more attention to yourself, especially after dark. Just dress casual and you’ll be fine.
- If someone’s flirting with you or making advances, and you’re not interested tell them to fuck off. No point beating around the bush, be direct and move away from them quickly.
- Don’t be overly polite with strangers. It’s ok to chat to people, obviously, but they don’t need to know everything about you.
- In general, you should be aware of your surroundings and be vigilant. A no-brainer really.
- Choosing the right area of Paris to stay in is important. Make sure your accomodation is safe and read the reviews.
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More On Safety in Paris
We’ve covered the most important safety aspects already, but there is loads more to know about how to stay safe in Paris. Read on for even more detailed safety information.
Is Paris safe to travel for families?
Paris is very safe for families and fun as well! It’s full of museums and art galleries. You’ll find loads of parks too – great for cooling off in summer.
Do just a little bit of research and you’ll find amazing things to do with children in Paris.
Whilst Paris is safe to travel for families, it isn’t always the cheapest, especially with kids. But you can get a Famille Nombreuse – this is a discount ticket for families of five (that’s 3 children) and covers a ton of different attractions.
And depending on the age of your kids, discounts apply at some places in addition.
Is it safe to drive in Paris?
Driving in Paris is stressful. Drivers can be pretty unpredictable, there’s loads of traffic congestion, you’ll have to deal with huge multi-lane roundabouts (e.g. Place Charles de Gaulle), and much more.
Here are some reasons not to drive in Paris:
- Local drivers can be pretty aggressive
- If you do drive in Paris, you can’t use your phone. Not even an earpiece.
- You can also get some pretty heavy fines if you’re caught speeding.
- Renting a car can be very expensive. And you need good luck finding a parking spot.
So while you totally can drive in Paris, it’s probably easier to stick to local transport.
Cycling in Paris
Riding a bike, in general, is one of the safest ways of transport since you’ve got full control of your speed and where you’re going. Just make sure you wear your helmet!
Paris has a massive and constantly expanding bike path network since 1990. There are over 800km of bike lanes, all distributed through the city. Since the normal streets can be quite busy, and the metro is usually quite packed, choosing your bicycle to get around is, in most cases, the fastest option.
Although you’ve got the bike lanes to yourself, you need to be aware of traffic, especially in the inner city where the bike lane is only marked by white lines on the ground. If you ride your bike further from the centre, the bike path will be separated by little speed bumps that stop anyone from crossing your lane.
Is Uber safe in Paris?
Uber in Paris is safe and super convenient! Here’s why:
- It’s an easy, cost-effective way to get around and connects you all over the place.
- No worries about hailing a cab or dealing with pushy drivers.
- As an added bonus, the language barrier also won’t be an issue.
- You can track your journeys and even share your location.
Are taxis safe in Paris?
The taxis are safe in Paris but just make sure you don’t get in an unlicensed taxi. These are illegal and sometimes unsafe. You’re more likely to encounter these kinds of taxis at transport hubs, airports and popular places like Gare du Nord.
Spotting an illegal Taxi is pretty easy since licensed taxis have Taxi Parisienne written on the top. If the light’s on, it’s vacant. On the front right of the car, there will also be a plate showing the taxi license number. Check for these and you’re good to go. Just make sure that the taxi has a working meter that you can actually see.
Is public transportation in Paris safe?
The public transport in Paris is safe but you should probably be a little wary when it comes to the metro line. Some are easy to use and are very secure, while others are crowded, chaotic, and sometimes crawling with thieves. Note these:
- Line 9 that passes through the Trocaderoand Champs Élysées is well known for pickpockets. It’s actually not uncommon to find someone with their hand in your bag.
- Heavily touristed Line 1is the same.
- RER Line B has also been known for assaults. Take care not to be in an empty carriage, or travel late at night.
If you plan on using these or any line for that matter, be sure to maintain awareness of yourself and your belongings.
- Number one rule: Don’t fall asleep on the train. Thieves actively look for sleeping passengers. Your wallet, phone, or whatever, will be gone before you know it.
- You also see strange characters on the Paris metro. They’ll jump on at one station, walk through the carriage, ask for money, play the accordion, anything to get a euro or two. These folks are usually harmless and it’s best just to ignore them.
- Make sure that you listen out for the buzzer indicating the doors are going to shut. And stand away from the doors. It’s a tactic of thieves to grab stuff and jump off the train just as the doors close.
- Try to avoid rush hour.
All that being said, public transport in Paris is still quite useful. It’s pretty efficient and fairly affordable. It may be intimidating to first time visitor, but with a little practice, you’ll catch on quick.
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Is the food in Paris safe?
It’s no secret that France is famous for food and Paris, being the capital, is no different. This is literally the home country of the Michelin star system. You’ll find so many gourmets eats in Paris, like foie gras, steak tartare, escargot and – of course – a lot of wine.
But the thing is, not all food in Paris is guaranteed to be good – some places are really shitty and you can still get sick. Granted, the chances of you getting ill are very low, but it still pays to be cognizant.
So here are our top foodie tips for Paris:
- High prices do not equal high deliciousness. You shouldn’t have to shell out a lot for good food in Paris.
- Be careful with scallops, which is a favourite of ‘gourmet’ dishes. If you’re going to order something like that on a Monday or a Sunday, you should know that the fish markets are closed on these days. It won’t be fresh and it will most likely be old (probably purchased on a Saturday).
- Street food exists in Paris. Choose the stalls with the highest turnovers and the most costumers.
- And for the most basic tip ever, wash your hands before you eat, especially after a long day of exploring the city.
- Travelling with an allergy? Research ahead of time how to explain your allergy. Keep in mind that store owners and restaurant staff might not know all the foods that contain allergens, so it’s helpful to know the names of some of these too. If you’re gluten-free, pick up a handy Gluten-Free Translation Card with descriptions of Celiac disease, cross-contamination risk, and local Paris ingredients in French.
Can you drink the water in Paris?
Yep, it’s perfectly safe to drink the water in Paris. However, some people do find that it doesn’t quite agree with them. The tap water has been filtered and cleared of all sorts of bacteria. If you are staying in an Airbnb or a homestay in Paris, ask the host, as some areas are better than others.
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Is Paris safe to live?
Paris is safe to live in and (no surprise) quite desirable. The cheese, wine, baguettes, croissants – who could blame people for moving here for these pleasures!
Whilst some areas have high levels of crime, most violent crime is pretty rare in Paris. Honestly, you’ll have to go to some sketchy areas to actually feel like your safety is at risk. These are outside the city centre.
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Is it Safe to Rent an Airbnb in Paris?
Renting an Airbnb in Paris is perfectly safe, as long as you read the reviews. Staying at an Airbnb during your trip will also open up new possibilities and options to experience the city. The local hosts are known to take great care of their guests and give the absolute best recommendations of what to do and what to see.
Not only can you save a little money, but you can also feel good about it going directly into a local host’s pocket. The hosts often have heaps of valuable insight about padding out your Paris itinerary, too!
Is Paris LGBTQ+ friendly?
On the whole, Paris is a very welcoming city to our rainbow communities! There is no need to stick to one part of the city in order to feel accepted, as across the city there is broad acceptance of LGBTQ rights. That being said, there are also gay bars and clubs that are an extra celebration of what it means to travel gay!
Unfortunately, like anywhere in the world, there are some sections of the community who can’t find it in them to tolerate someone different from themselves. Gay travellers should still be wary and trust their instincts in parts of Paris. You can expect a supportive gendarmerie if something does happen though.
Above all, you can expect to have a great, gay time when you travel to Paris. It is unlikely to be unsafe and there is a lot of stuff to see and do!
FAQ’s on Safety in Paris
Planning a safe trip to a popular city can be a bit overwhelming. To help you out, we’ve listed and answered the most commonly asked question on Paris’s safety.
So, is Paris Safe?
On an everyday level, Paris is safe – safe to visit, safe to live in, and safe for your kids. There’s nothing really unsafe about the French capital. It may be sketchy at times, but what major city isn’t?
It’s all about knowing what areas you should and shouldn’t be in. The areas with the highest crime rates definitely won’t be being visited by you.
And, yes – there are pickpockets and scammers of all sorts. But not falling for their tricks is the best way to go about keeping your money safe in Paris. Not being oblivious to your surroundings and keeping everything close to you – especially in crowds, tourist areas and on public transport – is the thing to do if you want to keep all of your money for yourself.
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It’s good to get lost sometimes, but it’s also good not to get too lost. There are people that want you home in one piece.
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Disclaimer: Safety conditions change all over the world on a daily basis. We do our best to advise but this info may already be out of date. Do your own research. Enjoy your travels!
Thanks for reading – that was fun! 😀
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