While you eagerly anticipate your chance to see the Eiffel Tower sparkle with your own eyes, it’s not unusual to find yourself wondering if it’s easy to stay safe in Paris. A certain level of anxiety comes with visiting a new place, and the City of Lights is no exception.
Whether you travel ten times a year or once every five years, it’s important to educate yourself on how to stay safe. Luckily, we know something about the French capital city and travel safety.
From saving local emergency numbers to your phone to understanding the safest neighborhoods, this post will break down everything you need to know about staying safe in this massive city. Keep reading, and you can say “au revoir!” to those travel-induced anxieties.
|Canal Saint-Martin, Châtelet, Champs Elysées, Latin Quarter, Le Marais, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, So-Pi
|Areas to Avoid
|Le dixième, Montmartre, Dix-neuvième
|MEININGER Hotel Paris Porte de Vincennes
|How to Get Around
|Paris Metro. It includes the metro, buses, trams, and RER trains
|112 – European Emergency, 17 – French Police
What We Cover
- Paris Crime Statistics
- Is Paris Safe for Solo Travelers?
- Is Paris Safe for Women?
- Is Paris LGBTQIA+ Friendly?
- Can You Walk Around Paris at Night?
- Can You Drink the Tap Water?
- How Safe is Public Transportation in Paris?
- Do I Need to Be Concerned About a Terrorist Attack?
- Civil Unrest, Protests & Riots in Paris
- Where are the Safest Areas to Stay in Paris?
- What Areas Should I Avoid in Paris?
- How to Contact Local Authorities
- Should I Register with the U.S. Embassy or French Authorities?
- Verdict: Is Paris a Very Safe City?
- Tips for Staying Safe in the French Capital
Paris Crime Statistics
We’ve included some stats below that showcase varying crimes in France vs how they compare to crime rates in the United States as you can see, France, while far from perfect, is generally safer than the United States regarding personal safety.
|Total crimes per 1000
|Intentional homicide rate
|Murder rate per million people
|Rapes per million people
But why does France have a higher crime rate per 1000 people than the U.S. if it’s safer? Well, even though you’re far less likely to become a victim of violent crime, France does have a higher rate of property crimes. This is all the more reason to keep an eye on your luggage and not dress like a tourist!
Is Paris Safe for Solo Travelers?
Many travelers “Do Paris” solo as their first independent trip. With its bustling public transportation system, it’s relatively easy to navigate.
Countless hostels host meet-up events for travelers to get to know one another. You’re never truly alone in this cosmopolitan city unless you want to be, and there are many activities and accommodations for the solo traveler.
As we’ll say throughout this article, it’s important to exercise caution throughout your journey. However, Paris is considered a safe and welcoming destination for solo travelers. If you want to meet other travelers on your solo trip to Paris, consider joining the Latin Quarter Guided Pub Crawl to Bars and Clubs.
Is Paris Safe for Women?
As someone who lives in a bustling metropolis, I felt safe in Paris as a woman. However, I recognize my privilege and understand that some women unfamiliar with city living might be a bit uncomfortable. I would describe traveling in Paris as a woman to feel similar to traveling to New York City or London as a woman.
You’ll likely feel okay if you’re comfortable in big cities and understand how to interact with them. On the other hand, if you’re generally nervous in big cities, you’ll probably feel the same in Paris. That said, statistically speaking, traveling to Paris for solo female travelers is considered safe.
Regarding accommodations, I always opt for a hotel or private room in a hostel. During one of my recent trips to Paris, I stayed at the MEININGER Hotel Paris Porte de Vincennes and felt very safe.
Is Paris LGBTQIA+ Friendly?
Overall, Paris is considered an incredibly welcoming and safe environment for folks identifying with the LGBTQ+ community. While I am not a member of this community, many of my friends have shared that they felt safe, seen, and welcome in the City of Lights.
Paris is known for its vibrant LGBTQ+ nightlife scene and offers many queer-focused events throughout the city. In fact, Disneyland Paris offered the first Disney-sponsored Gay Day at a Disney park.
Can You Walk Around Paris at Night?
Visitors can generally explore Paris at night if they stick to popular and well-lit areas. Like any major city, avoiding being alone when the sun goes down is important. It’s particularly advisable to avoid walking around the 19th and 18th arrondissements at night.
Additionally, avoiding walking through parks at night or taking unlicensed taxis is generally a good idea. Plenty of public transit options in Paris operate until late at night. The metro runs until around 12:45 am on weekdays and until 1:45 am on weekends.
Can You Drink the Tap Water?
Drinking from the tap in Paris is safe. You can fill up your water bottle and brush your teeth from your hotel room sink with no issue. Plus, there are water bottle refill stations scattered throughout the city limits.
However, avoid drinking the water when you see “Eau non potable.” That is the French translation of “Not drinking water.”
How Safe is Public Transportation in Paris?
Public transit in Paris is widely regarded as safe and efficient. The extensive network includes the metro, buses, trams, and RER trains. Most locals use public transit as these services cover the city and suburbs extensively.
Public transport is one of the fastest and most affordable ways to navigate Paris. Nonetheless, it’s wise to maintain awareness of your surroundings and monitor personal belongings to thwart pickpockets that tend to operate in crowded environments.
If you’re taking late-night rides, staying in well-lit areas and avoiding empty compartments is best. Additionally, try to strategically time when you arrive at train stations with the train schedule so you’re not standing alone very long.
If public transportation hubs make you nervous, try the Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Tours with Optional Cruise to ensure you see all the Paris highlights.
Do I Need to Be Concerned About a Terrorist Attack?
After the terrorist attacks of 2015, it’s understandable that you may have some concerns about visiting Paris. According to the United States Department of State, France has a “Level 2” travel advisory.
A Level 2 from the U.S. State Department means “Exercise Increased Caution.” Currently, France is under this advisory for terrorism and civil unrest. That said, many other European countries like Germany, the United Kingdom, and Italy are under similar warnings.
Additionally, it’s important to keep perspective in mind. Many countries consider the United States dangerous due to the high number of mass shootings. Consider perspective and use your best judgment.
Civil Unrest, Protests & Riots in Paris
Civil unrest is essentially a French tradition. However, it’s not as romantic as Jean Valjean’s story. For example, In January 2023, over one million people took to the streets of France over the Pension Reform Strike.
Streets were on fire; folks came home with bruises – it got ugly. This strike lasted six months and was immediately followed by violent, nationwide riots in response to the death of a French teenager at the hands of police.
So yeah, the French passion for taking to the streets is no joke, and Paris is often the epicenter of demonstrations. As a result, it is vital to avoid epicenters such as the Place de la Bastille, Place de la Nation, and Place de la République during active protests.
Where are the Safest Areas to Stay in Paris?
Paying attention to your surroundings is important no matter where you go. A few neighborhoods in Paris have gained a reputation as considerably safer than others, which is great when thinking about where to stay.
Those neighborhoods include:
- Canal Saint-Martin
- Champs Elysées
- Latin Quarter
- Le Marais
See Related: Most Famous Hotels in Paris
What Areas Should I Avoid in Paris?
Conversely, you are probably wondering what neighborhoods you should avoid on your trip to Paris. Being from Chicago, I understand how neighborhoods can gain an overly dramatic negative reputation.
We suggest exercising increased caution in these areas, yet still urge you to approach them with an open mind should you decide to visit them. Depending on where you’re from and your own life experiences, what feels “safe” to you may not feel safe to someone else.
These neighborhoods are:
- Le dixième
How to Contact Local Authorities
- 112 – European Emergency: This is the standard European line for all emergencies.
- 17 – French Police
- 18 – Firefighters
- 114 – Emergency number for those who are deaf or hard of hearing: This number can be accessed via SMS text, chat, and video.
- 116 117 – Ambulance
- 197 – Kidnapping
Should I Register with the U.S. Embassy or French Authorities?
If you’re an American citizen, it’s always a good idea to at least familiarize yourself with the location of the United States embassy. The United States embassy in France is located at 2 Av. Gabriel, 75008 Paris, France.
While on a tourist visa, you don’t need to “register” with the U.S. embassy or the French government. However, enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) doesn’t hurt. STEP is a free service that allows U.S. citizens traveling abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
In case of an emergency, the embassy can reach you more easily. It also lets the embassy send you important updates about safety conditions, such as natural disasters or civil unrest.
Verdict: Is Paris a Very Safe City?
Overall, Paris is a pretty safe city. Most travelers will find themselves welcome and travel throughout the tourist centers without issue. That being said, it is essential to pay attention to your surroundings, avoid demonstrations, and stay vigilant with your belongings.
Venturing outside of the main drag can get a bit dicey. According to France 24, 10% of young men living in underprivileged areas of Paris under the age of 30 belong to a gang. Therefore, avoiding unfamiliar areas and sticking to the tourist centers at night is important.
See Related: Essential Travel Tips for Visiting Paris on a Budget
Tips for Staying Safe in the French Capital
While Paris is generally a safe city, as with any large urban center, it’s wise to take certain precautions to ensure your safety and the safety of your belongings. Below are some practical tips designed to help you navigate Paris confidently:
- Keep your belongings close: Pickpocketing and petty theft are perhaps tourists’ most common issues. Valuables attract pickpockets – always keep your valuables in a secure place, such as a money belt or a bag in front of you. Be aware of your surroundings in popular tourist attractions like the Arc de Triomphe or transit hubs like the Gare du Nord train station.
- Be cautious with public Wi-Fi: Cybersecurity is just as important as physical safety concerns. Avoid accessing sensitive information or making transactions over public Wi-Fi networks.
- Avoid carrying large sums of cash: It’s advisable to carry a minimal amount of cash and use credit cards or mobile payment options where possible. Unlike other parts of Europe, Paris is very credit card-friendly.
- Stay informed about local events: Protests and strikes can occur regularly when you visit Paris (Les Mis, anyone?). Monitor local media and stay updated via local news sources. Avoid areas where demonstrations are taking place.
- Learn basic French phrases: Knowing how to ask for help or directions in French can be invaluable, especially in an emergency. Be sure to download a translation app, like Google Translate, before you arrive.
- Use reputable transportation services: Stick to official taxis and public transport services, especially at night or when traveling alone. Uber also works in Paris.
- Trust your instincts: If a situation or location feels unsafe, trust your intuition and leave the area if possible.
- Make copies of your documents: Keep copies of your passport, travel insurance, and other important documents safe. This will make it easier to replace them if they get lost or stolen.
- Consider an anti-theft money belt: I know, it sounds nerdy. But wearing an anti-theft money belt can give you peace of mind, knowing your valuables are safe and secure.
- Have a plan: Always have a plan in case of an emergency, such as knowing the address and contact information of your embassy, hotel, and nearby police station. In addition, make sure to have travel insurance that covers medical expenses and emergency evacuations.