At the beach in Koh Nang Yuan, Thailand

By Norbert Figueroa, an experienced architect, travel writer, long-term budget traveler, and photographer with over 13 years of travel experience in over 139 countries and counting. @globotreks


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Ah, Paris. A city filled with history, culture, incredible food, and, of course, l’amour. If you’re planning a trip to this gorgeous city, there’s probably one burning question you need the answer to: How many croissants can I eat before I go into a food coma?

Okay, I jest. Of course, for most travelers, safety is always a priority. And it should be! But is Paris safe? The answer is a resounding yes. Still, there are some safety considerations you’ll need to keep in mind when you’re visiting Paris. And yes, you need to know it before you devour more wine and baguettes than is good for your health.

In this guide, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know before your big trip. So what are you waiting for?

Oh, and before I forget… Bienvenue à Paris! (If you don’t know what that means, it may be time to start brushing up on your basic French. It won’t hurt to know a few phrases!).

Overview: Is Paris A Safe City?

The City of Lights is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, so it’s no surprise it’s on your list of must-visit cities. But traveling to a new place can be scary, especially when you have to consider your safety. Luckily, I have great news for you.

Paris has a mesmerizing and romantic atmosphere and is the heart and soul of France – literally! The French capital welcomes millions of tourists every year without any major hiccups. Sure, like any other big city, Paris has its quirks. Still, when it comes to crime rates, it’s nothing to lose sleep over. So, is Paris safe to visit? Absolutely!

But let’s get down to the nitty-gritty – petty theft. Unfortunately, petty theft is pretty common here, especially in tourist hot spots. However, all you need to do is keep a close eye on your belongings (especially in crowded areas). And, when you can, it’s best to leave your valuables in your hotel room.

It’s helpful to know that most iconic landmarks have beefed up security, though, so your visit to the Eiffel Tower should be worry-free. You can also easily stroll around the gorgeous city at night, but stay away from the city limits and certain areas. As long as you stick to well-lit areas, you’ll be just fine.

Paris Arc de Triomphe, France

Crime Rates & Tourist Risks In Paris

According to the U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory, France as a whole is considered a level-2 location. But what does this mean? In essence, it means that when you’re traveling here, it’s important to take precautions and be informed about common problems like petty theft.

While there is a small risk of petty theft like pickpocketing or money-hungry scammers, there’s no need to panic. There are almost no cases of violent crimes in the popular central neighborhoods (or at all), so you can visit Paris without having to take self-defense classes beforehand.

It’s worth remembering that most popular tourist destinations in Europe require a certain level of vigilance. Additionally, there will almost always be opportunistic criminals waiting to take advantage of tourists.

This is true for tourists in most destinations around the world, making Paris safe to visit – as long as you’re paying attention to your surroundings. Just be aware of pickpocketers and scammers in the big city, though, since many travelers get caught unaware of these potential threats.

Pickpocketing

Pickpocketing is unfortunately very common in Paris, particularly around the city center. In fact, petty theft is one of the biggest risks you’ll need to be aware of when you visit.

Luckily, you can avoid unfortunate mishaps by securing your bags and keeping your wallet and cell phone inside of your bag rather than carrying them around in your hands.

Typically, these scammers try and distract you by asking you for directions or causing a commotion. Once your guard is down or you’re distracted, they snatch your belongings and make a run for it. They may also work in pairs, making the theft quick, easy, and efficient.

For this reason, it’s essential to always be on your guard and keep your bags secured. For instance, you should always wear your backpack on the front of your body when you’re in busy tourist areas, which is where they tend to strike the most.

Scams

Although visiting Paris is usually pretty safe, there are always underhanded charlatans who are waiting to prey on unsuspecting tourists. For this reason, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and keep your wits about you – especially around tourist areas like the Eiffel Tower and the Notre Dame Cathedral.

Some of the most common tourist-targeted scams include the gold ring and rose scams. Still, there are others that you may want to be aware of to stay vigilant.

The gold ring scam

Imagine this: You’re strolling through the city center when someone taps you on the shoulder and holds out a ring. ‘Is this yours?’ they ask. Of course, it’s definitely not your ring. But when you politely tell them it isn’t yours, they begin to appraise the ring in front of you.

While the ring doesn’t look like much (since it’s not), they say that it’s worth a good amount of money and offer to sell the ring to you at a ‘discounted price’. Then, they walk away with a decent chunk of cash while you’ve successfully bought a worthless piece of junk. Yikes!

The best thing to do when you’re faced with this scenario is to walk away. Try not to engage in conversation with anyone, and – whatever you do – don’t buy any jewelry from them.

Rose in a vase

The rose scam

Another popular scam that you may run into (especially around iconic landmarks) is ‘the rose scam’. Generally, the scam goes like this: Scammers around the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, or the Arc de Triomphe will offer you a rose for free. When you accept it, they will start to aggressively demand payment and refuse to take it back.

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This creates an extremely uncomfortable situation, and most tourists tend to pay the scammer just to get the interaction over with. But rather than spending your money, it’s always best to ignore anyone trying to give you anything for free. Remember, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. That goes for free roses or trinkets as well!

Tip: Despite this being known as the ‘rose’ scam, it’s important to remember that scammers may do this with other items. For example, there have also been instances where they place a friendship bracelet on your wrist before demanding that you pay for it. It’s best to walk away from anyone who is approaching you rather than to unexpectedly get caught up in an underhanded interaction.

Petition scams

If you’ve ever traveled to any other European cities, then you probably already know about this scam. However, it’s particularly rife in the French capital.

You may be approached by someone with a clipboard and, in some cases, an official-looking T-shirt or uniform. After a brief explanation of their cause, they may ask you to sign a petition. But when you do, they will usually begin to demand a donation for their fake cause.

Like the gold ring or rose scams, the best thing to do in this situation is to ignore the scammers and walk away. No matter how official they may seem, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Tip: Even though some of these scammers seem aggressive, the incidence of violent crimes against tourists is generally very low. There’s no need to worry about them escalating their aggression. Instead, avoiding eye contact and walking away is the best way to handle things.

ATM scams

Have you ever watched the behavior of Parisians around ATMs? If you have, you may have noticed that most locals shield the screen of the ATM while they’re using it.

And there’s a good reason for this! Some indiscriminate scammers steal PIN numbers from locals and tourists alike, which means they need to be on their guard when withdrawing money. And you should, too!

Certain scammers may hang around ATMs and, when you approach, they will tell you that the machine is broken. They will then offer their ‘assistance’ and watch as you input your PIN before stealing your bank card to make withdrawals of their own.

Although it may seem like common sense, you should always protect your private information like ATM PIN numbers. If you want to complete your withdrawals safely, it may be better to use ATMs that are inside banks.

Street in Paris

How To Navigate Paris’s Neighbourhoods – The Safest Areas & Places To Avoid

One of the best parts about planning any trip (particularly to a dream destination like Paris) is putting together your itinerary. Whether you prefer to stick to a schedule or make your plans in the spur of the moment, it’s wise to know which areas you can safely enjoy and which areas are a little less… welcoming to tourists.

Safest areas in Paris

Le Marais

Le Marais is one of – if not the – safest districts in Paris, with a vast majority of honeymooners and couples picking it for their romantic getaway. It’s filled with lush parks, traditional bistros, and amazing boutique shops where you can pick up a souvenir or two before heading home.

This is also one of the best places to stay in Paris with kids.

Here, you can let your hair down and enjoy a relaxed holiday. Just remember to keep the usual safety precautions in mind!

St Germain-des-Prés

Another top-tier area to visit is St Germain-des-Prés, where you soak up the Parisian culture without having any safety concerns. In St Germain-des-Prés, you’ll find an authentic cafe culture and plenty of art to enjoy.

Latin Quarter

The Latin Quarter is a central and safe neighborhood in Paris that offers you a mix of contemporary Parisian life and rich history.

This vibrant area of the city is home to historic universities and a vibe that you just can’t beat! It’s easy to lose yourself in the atmosphere here and, luckily, you can! You can be as footloose and fancy-free as you’d like.

Gare de Lyon

Gare de Lyon is one of my favorite places to stay when I’m in Paris. Not only do I always feel extremely safe here, but it’s well-connected with public transportation routes to make it a breeze for me to get around. So, not only is it convenient, but it’s also the perfect spot for solo travelers or tourists who are more at risk of being targeted.

Rue Oberkampf

Rue Oberkampf is well-known for its nightlife and features a variety of bars. Located between Bastille and Republique, this is the place to be if you want to enjoy a safe night out (within reason, of course!).

You can easily head to one of the local bars, have a relaxing drink, and head back to your accommodation without worry. Just remember to stay within the well-lit and busier areas at night!

Areas to be cautious of in Paris

10th arrondissement

An arrondissement is what we in the U.S. call ‘boroughs’. There are 20 of these administrative districts in Paris. Unfortunately, they’re not all made equally and there are some areas that are safer than others.

The 10th arrondissement, which is home to the Gare du Nord and Place de Republique, has higher crime rates and is known for certain security issues. While it’s fine to explore the area during the day, you still need to use common sense and avoid it altogether at night.

18th arrondissement

The 18th arrondissement is filled with retro bars and hot spots for young adults. However, the area is best enjoyed before the sun goes down. This is because the 18th arrondissement is associated with the ‘red light district’ and has issues related to prostitution and seedy bars.

19th arrondissement

While the 19th arrondissement is an idyllic place for families during the day, it’s another area that should be avoided at night. Pickpocketers and other petty thieves are rampant here in the evenings since there are plenty of dimly lit areas and empty streets after dark.

Bridge in Paris, France

Safety For Different Types Of Travelers

Since Paris is considered a safe city, it’s easy to forget that there are always ways that you can safeguard yourself against unwanted and unpleasant scenarios.

Solo travelers

Paris can be extremely safe for solo travelers, including solo female travelers. Still, there are some things to keep in mind before you jet off to Paris for an impromptu holiday.

When you’re traveling alone, you should always:

  • Let someone know where you are going and what time you will be back
  • Share your itinerary with your hotel
  • Stick to exploring the city during the day, unless you’re with a guide
  • Have emergency numbers on hand
  • Keep your valuables like your wallet and phone hidden
  • Have a stash of extra money in case of emergencies
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Female travelers

Surprisingly, female travelers usually find Paris safe to visit alone. However, you may still want to take the same precautions and exercise the same common sense as other tourists.

It’s also important to be hyper-aware of your surroundings and avoid standing out too much. Ideally, you’ll want to travel in groups, but solo female travelers can still be just as safe in this incredible city.

LGBTQIA+ travelers

While Parisians are generally very accepting of LGBTQIA+ travelers, you should still try to exercise some caution and be aware of local attitudes – especially in less urban areas. You may also need to exercise some discretion in public spaces.

If you feel unsafe at all, it’s always best to avoid confrontation and simply walk away. You should also have emergency numbers close at hand if you’re traveling to the outer areas of the city.

Tip: I’d highly recommend trying to connect with local LGBTQIA+ communities in Paris for better insights into the city’s social scene.

BIPOC travelers

Paris has a history of incredible diversity, which means that you can enjoy a carefree trip in almost every area of the city. Still, instances of racial discrimination aren’t completely unheard of, so just be aware of potential instances of prejudice.

You shouldn’t let that stop you from having a ball, though! These instances are very rare, and most travelers don’t have any major issues when they’re staying in the city. Just be sure to avoid any confrontation if you’re faced with it since this can escalate the situation.

Metro Sign in Paris

Getting Around Safely In Paris

In a major city like Paris, there is no shortage of transportation options. Of course, each one has its own safety concerns and considerations, though. For tourists, walking, public transport, and taxis are the most common options for getting around the city.

I’ve been to the city a few times, and I’ve gathered all the information I’ve learned on my travels. So let’s get you where you need to go – and safely.

Walking

Paris is a highly walkable city (as long as you have a comfy pair of shoes!). Exploring the charming streets is one of my favorite things to do on holiday here, but that’s not to say it’s without its fair share of danger.

Besides keeping your eyes peeled for pickpocketers and scammers in bustling tourist areas, you should also stick to well-traveled and well-lit routes. Otherwise, your belongings may fall into the wrong hands – or be snatched by them!

Public transportation

Paris has plenty of public transport, including buses, trams, and the metro line. While buses and trams are generally safer, the metro is much more convenient when you want to explore the city.

Petty crime rates are higher in and around metro stations, though, so remember to stay vigilant. If you can, it might be best to travel with an anti-theft bag to make your travels as worry-free as possible. That way, you can enjoy all the best places to visit in France by train.

Taxis

Taxis can be a safe and easy way to get around the city quickly. When you take a taxi, however, you should always choose licensed taxis from designated taxi stands. They should have a sign on the top of the car and a working meter inside the car (you can take a peek before actually getting in).

Before the taxi starts moving, you should also confirm the fare and take note of how much you’re paying the driver. Some taxi drivers may try to take advantage of tourists by claiming you underpaid them and demanding the ‘full’ fare.

Louvre Museum, Paris

Practical Safety Tips For A Worry-Free Trip To Paris

Want to navigate Paris like a local and enjoy a stress-free trip? Then you’re going to want to know some handy tips and tricks to address your safety concerns.

Besides the obvious tips like taking out travel insurance (seriously, you’re going to want travel insurance), there are some other ways to deter criminals and make your trip as enjoyable as possible. I use HeyMondo travel insurance, and I highly recommend it.

Below, I’ve listed some of my top travel tips and basic safety precautions for a worry-free trip to Paris. Believe me, these tips are tried-and-true! Unfortunately, I’ve had to learn some of these the hard way. But at least now I can help you to avoid the same mistakes I did, right?

1. Watch out for scams

I’ve already mentioned what type of scams to look out for when you visit Paris. But what can you do to avoid these situations? The answer is easy!

You should always stay alert, trust your gut instincts, and disengage if something doesn’t feel quite right. In most cases, you’ll want to avoid making eye contact or talking to people on the streets or around landmarks. This will decrease the risk of running into a scammer that has ill intentions.

If you need to ask for help or directions, it’s better to ask the proper authorities. There are normally tourist information kiosks or receptionists in or around Parisian landmarks, which are great places to get answers to your questions.

2. Secure your belongings

The easiest way to stay safe in Paris is to safeguard your belongings. This doesn’t only apply when you’re out and about, though. You can also make use of a hotel safe (usually located in your room) before you leave your accommodation. That way, you can keep any valuables secure and only take your necessities with you.

When you’re exploring the city or busy tourist areas, you’re likely going to take a backpack with you. While this is a convenient way to keep your belongings on hand, scammers and thieves may see your backpack as a giant target.

Therefore, using anti-theft bags or wearing your backpack on your chest rather than your back can help to deter cases of petty theft.

You should also make use of any inside zips or storage areas inside of your bag or your jacket to keep your valuables (like your wallet or cell phone) hidden. Try not to walk around with these items on display – it will only entice criminals who are looking for naive tourists to take advantage of.

3. Stay aware of your surroundings

Whether you’re in a busy tourist spot or a quiet neighborhood, it’s always important to be on your guard. Being aware of your surroundings can help you to identify potential dangers and walk away from threatening situations before things get out of hand.

Having your nose in your phone is a surefire way to lose track of what’s happening around you. For that reason, another benefit to keeping your phone hidden in your bag is that you won’t be walking around glued to your screen.

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Tip: If you do have to use your cell phone, try to stop somewhere safe and well-lit. Going inside a nearby establishment like a restaurant or hotel may help you to use your phone more safely without becoming a target.

Croissant at a coffee shop

4. Learn basic French phrases

While many Parisians speak English, it won’t hurt to know a few French phrases. Ideally, you’ll want to know enough to hold a basic conversation with someone or ask them questions in an emergency.

Knowing some French not only enhances your overall travel experience but it can also show respect for the local culture. Plus, you won’t stick out as much when you’re exploring the city. That means criminals are less likely to single you out.

Some important phrases may include:

  • ‘Je m’appelle’: My name is [your name]
  • ‘Pouvez-vous m’aider?’: Can you help me?
  • ‘Puis-je avoir un plan de la ville, s’il vous plaît?’: Can I have a map of the city, please?
  • ‘Je ne comprends pas’: I don’t understand
  • ‘Parlez-vous anglais?’: Do you speak English?

5. Know the emergency numbers

Of course, you always want to avoid an emergency. But things just… happen. That’s why it’s always a good idea to be prepared for unexpected problems.

Remember, if you’re phoning an emergency number in France, you’re going to need to know some basic French. That way, you can relay important information.

Luckily, if you’ve been following my tips, you should know a few phrases to help things along. You can start by telling the operator your name and asking them for help. You can also ask them if they speak English. If they don’t, you’ll want to have a French-speaking person nearby to talk to them.

Emergency numbers in Paris (from a French landline or cell phone):

  • Police: Dial 13
  • Medical Emergencies: Dial 15
  • Fire services: Dial 18
  • Poison control: 01 40 05 48 48

It’s also important to remember that the main emergency line for Europe has English-speaking operators that you can talk to. You can get in contact with them by dialing 112 from your phone.

6. Try not to stand out too much

The last thing you want to do in a foreign city is to stick out like a sore thumb. While Paris is a very safe city for tourists, it’s also a very big city with plenty of nasty pickpocketers waiting to get their sticky little fingers on your belongings.

For that reason, I’ve found it’s much easier to navigate Paris when you blend in. This will also help to deter pickpocketers and scam artists from singling you out.

Try not to flash your camera or any other expensive items around. This will only draw criminals in like moths to a flame.

Additionally, you’re going to want to dress like a Parisian. Typically, the dress style here is casual chic, which mixes casual wear with high-fashion items. I’d suggest flipping through a few French fashion magazines or doing a little Google searching before you pack for your trip.

Moulin Rouge in Paris

FAQs

Is Paris safer than London?

Generally, London is considered just as safe for tourists as Paris. According to the U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory, the United Kingdom is a level-2 location, which is the same as France.

In terms of actual safety within the cities, both of them carry the same level of risk and similar potential threats. Petty theft, fraud, and scam artists are just as rife in London, which means you’ll need to take similar safety measures to those you take in Paris when you’re traveling here.

However, there have been whispers from locals who say that London is slightly more dangerous than Paris. Although, like any other destination, this may depend on which area you’re staying in and where you go exploring (especially at night).

Is Paris safe for first-time travelers?

Paris is an ideal destination for most travelers. But is Paris safe for first-time tourists? While some people suggest that traveling to a safer city may be better for your first big trip, I disagree. As long as you’re vigilant and you’re aware of the potential threats around the city, I think that Paris is a fantastic location for any first-time traveler.

Thankfully, this guide will give you all the information you need to know before you jet off to the City of Lights. Just be sure to read some of my other blogs on Paris before you go! That way, you’ll be able to navigate the city like a true local and take full advantage of your Parisian adventure.

Cafe on Street in Paris, France

Is Paris safe for digital nomads?

Are you taking full advantage of your company’s ‘work from anywhere’ policy? Good for you!

Paris may be an excellent choice for digital nomads, but that’s not to say there aren’t better destinations. While the city offers good amenities like co-working spaces and reliable internet connectivity, it can become pretty pricey if you’re planning on staying for an extended period.

You’ll also want to be extra vigilant when you’re traveling to and from your workspace. Whether it’s a coffee shop or co-working space, taking your laptop with you on the metro or in a taxi can be risky.

Still, you can always pack your laptop into a more subtle bag and leave your laptop bag at your hotel. An anti-theft bag may also come in handy in this case.

Can you travel to Paris on a budget?

It’s definitely possible to travel to Paris on a budget. Although the city is known for its luxurious and high-end lifestyle, there are plenty of options for budget-friendly accommodations, experiences, and meals. You can also cut costs by using public transportation and enjoying free activities like local markets.

Want to know more about traveling in Paris on a budget? I can do you one better! I have an entire guide dedicated to how to travel Europe on a budget. Who knows? You may just find some tips and tricks to help you save your pennies and score yourself some great deals.

Conclusion

And voilà! Paris is a city that’s as safe as it is enchanting. Boasting its reputation as a global hub for history, art, food, and romance, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience in the City of Lights.

Like all big cities, Paris has a certain level of danger that you need to be aware of. Still, there’s nothing major that should deter you from booking your flight and living the high life in Parisian style. As long as you watch out for pickpockets and avoid no-gooders running scams around tourist areas, your trip should be a breeze.

Before I say ‘au revoir’ and you start packing your suitcase, why not check out my guide on where to stay in Paris? Together, we can start planning the Paris vacation of your dreams.

Is Paris Safe? | Ultimate Safety Guide And Tips For A Worry-Free Trip
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