By Georgia Bird – 28th June 2023
You’ve got your passport, tickets, luggage…what else do you need before you set off for your trip?
Each time I have visited Paris, I have gotten increasingly confident in my ability to keep myself, and those I travel with, safe from the potential risks of Paris.
Below we share these all with you, along with some other little snippets of advice! We outline risks, hand out tips, and set a conclusion to this important question:
is Paris safe for tourists?
Table Of Contents
- Is Paris Safe: An Overview
- Common Scams To Look Out For
- How To Stay Safe In Paris
- Where To Stay And Where To Avoid
- Relationships In Paris
- Is Cycling In Paris Safe?
- Is Driving In Paris Safe?
- Healthcare In Paris
- Backpackers In Paris
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Is Paris Safe: Conclusion
Is Paris Safe: An Overview
Paris has the same crime rate as London; whilst London’s crimes focus mainly on property crimes, Paris’ crime statistics focus mainly on crimes against tourists due to its high volume of visitors.
Civil Unrest In Paris
While protests are frequent within Paris in response to Government proposals, there is no safety risk that these impose as long as you steer clear of them.
It can cause inconvenience in regards to public transport and flights, but should not deter you from visiting the city.
If you find yourself caught in a protest, make your way to the edge of the crowd and wait for a public building to find shelter in. Keep calm, and walk away- do not run.
Natural Disasters In Paris
According to Gov.uk, the risk of natural disasters whilst visiting Paris is incredibly low. The only risk outlined is forest fires, but this is aimed more towards the south of France due to its high temperatures.
This being said, you should always make yourself aware of the nearest exit to you, and your hotel’s evacuation process in the event that any natural disasters do occur.
Due to this, we can conclude that Paris is safe in regards to natural disasters.
The Emergency Services Number for France is 112
Common Scams To Look Out For
Various parts of Paris have their resident scams, however most will be seen throughout the city. You will have no issue as long as you are able to recognize when someone is being ingenuine and has bad intentions.
The best rule of thumb here is to avoid getting distracted. It is difficult as Paris is very busy, however a distraction which only lasts a minute or so could be the difference between a good and bad day of your trip.
Let’s have a look at some of the most popular scams you will encounter on your trip.
Particularly through the Montmartre area, you will see this scam play out; especially around the Sacre-Coeur.
Groups of men will approach tourists, offering them a “free” piece of strings; tourists accept, thinking the men are just being kind, then they will harass them until them donate.
They will not take no for an answer, and will call their “colleagues” over for anyone putting up a fight.
They will also use this opportunity to pick-pocket whilst the tourist is distracted and overwhelmed at the chaos.
It is likely this group of men will try to hold your arm as you pass them. Be forceful, snatch your arm away, say:
This means “leave me alone“
I have only seen this one around the Sacre-Coeur, but it is prominent throughout Paris.
Groups of people, sometimes even children, will approach you and ask you to sign their petition. As you are filling out the form, it will ask you for a donation amount.
If you choose to donate, it will be going to a fake charity.
Whilst you are distracted filling out your details, they will take it upon themselves to pickpocket you- taking anything they can.
I actually fell for this one the first time I encountered it- realized halfway through what was going on, and had to drag Callum away as he was also signing up!
Luckily we don’t keep anything in our pockets, and I was carrying all our stuff in a cross-body bag which sat underneath my coat.
On your romantic trip to Paris, it may seem like a good idea to purchase your amour a rose as a token of your love!
Sellers will approach you, offering a rose with a welcoming smile on their face. You may think this is a gift, but it is not.
They will then demand payment; even if you immediately hand the rose back, they may still choose to follow you.
If you want to shower your partner with gifts, head to one of the many florists in Paris. Don’t accept gifts from strangers- it is never with good intention.
The Gold Ring
This scam is one of the oldest in Paris and plays out as follows:
A lady will walk by you, and pick up a gold ring that has been placed on the ground beforehand. She will then insist that you take the ring, in exchange for a few Euros as a “finders fee”.
She may also say that it is against her religion to wear jewellery, so you really must take the ring.
The ring will look like gold, but it is just cheap brass. They will be persistent, so just say “no” and walk away. If they begin to shout and accuse you of stealing, it is just so you give them “hush money”. Do not give in to their tactics.
There are hundreds of souvenir shops in Paris, so avoid street vendors at all costs.
You may think you are doing no harm in stopping and looking at the souvenirs laid on the ground, but as soon as you touch anything they will demand payment.
The street vendor can be quite aggressive if you choose not to purchase, so do not risk it.
As you are walking along taking in the Parisian air, you will suddenly hear “you think too much”. You may think this is an insightful comment as, it is true.
Really, it is just a scam artist waiting to prey upon those who are looking for a spiritual interpretation of their life. They will then offer to guess personal details about you to prove they are legit.
Everything they say will be wrong, and you will be left with a hefty bill. Do not engage if anyone approaches you, and continue your day as normal.
Other scams appear in the form of shell games, card games etc. If you are smart enough to not fall victim to street games, even standing nearby can leave you open to having your belongings taken as it is a pick-pocket hotspot.
Fake Metro Workers
Every city in the world has this scam operation, particularly those with Metro systems that can have a range of ticket options.
Whilst you are working your way through the ticket machine, someone in an official looking uniform will approach you and offer to help.
They will offer to get your ticket for you and tell you the price of an adult ticket; however they will then only purchase a child’s ticket- pocketing the difference for themselves.
If you are caught by a Metro worker with an incorrect ticket, you will be fined. Only purchase your own tickets, or go to a ticket counter.
Is Cycling In Paris Safe?
Cycling in Paris is just as safe as cycling anywhere in the world. According to the Copenhagenize 2019 Index, Paris has been voted as the 8th bike friendly city in Europe.
Helmets are compulsory for under-12’s, but we always recommend wearing a helmet whenever you ride a bicycle. You may be the most experience cyclist, but there are still thousands of cars on the streets of Paris.
Many cycle paths have been added into the city. This, combined with the fact that Paris is generally quite flat and small, makes cycling a really fun way to see all the most famous monuments.
There are even guided bike tours you can book- allowing a guide to take you around Paris on a bicycle and taking you past everything you would want to see!
Don’t wear headphones whilst you are riding, and concentrate on where you are going.
Pedestrians from abroad may not realise that they are looking the wrong way when trying to cross the street and will step out in front of you.
Embark On An Adventure
✈Book Your Guided Bike Tour Here✈
Is Driving In Paris Safe?
Driving is convenient and, most of the time, fun! But is Paris safe for motorists?
Getting behind the wheel of a car in Paris may seem like a novelty, but Paris has some of the most confusing and narrow roads in Europe. Parking spots are rare and expensive, and the lack of stop signs can wreak havoc on your day.
If driving is something you absolutely have to do in Paris, take a look at some things to consider.
Hiring A Car
Car hire is a great, cost effective way for those travelling abroad to see more of the country they are visiting.
The minimum age for most rental agencies in France is 25 years old, however this varies depending on the agency. Some places will allow those under 25 to hire a car, but only if “young driver insurance” is purchased alongside the hire agreement.
Other companies may require those hiring a vehicle from them to have been driving for at least a year.
It really does vary, so websites like Discover Cars make booking your car hire that much easier by comparing all your options.
A downside to car hire is that you will be liable for the cost of fuel, and if you are involved in an incident on the busy streets of Paris, you will have to foot the bill.
Driving Your Own Car
Vehicles from abroad can be driven temporarily in France. For example, those from the UK can drive their vehicle in France for up to 6 months.
You will need to have folder with your V5, full UK driving license, passport, and certificate of motor insurance. These must be with you at all times, and ready to hand over to the police if you are stopped.
It is compulsory to also have a sticker stating “UK” and another stating “Crit’Air vignettes” (clean air) on the back of your vehicle.
You can read all about driving in France and their laws on the RAC website.
In order to be legal, you must have an EU Driving Kit in the boot of your vehicle at all times. You can be penalized if you are found to not have this, so don’t risk it!
Châteaus Accessible From Paris Via Car
Whilst Paris is insanely beautiful, it would be a waste to have a car and not visit one of the many picturesque Châteaus in France.
Situated only 42km from Paris, this 11th century town is entirely worth the short drive. You will be transported back in time, to a place that fairytales were seemingly based off.
A must see when visiting Chevreuse, and the main reason that most people visit, is to see Château de la Madeleine. The Middle Age fortress is incredibly well preserved, and is also free of charge!
Versailles is in the same region, however Chevereuse is a much more quirky day out for all ages.
Take the A6, also known as Autoroute du Soleil, to Chevreuse from Paris.
The stunning Château de Malmaison was the home that Napoleon Bonaparte’s wife purchased in secret, and holds great historical signicance as many events played out here.
It now stands as a museum, and is only 19km from Paris.
For only €6.50 per person, it is a great way to have a cheap, yet interesting, day out.
Take a walk through the house, then through the lush gardens- it truly is the perfect day out for a sunny day in France.
This Château is only 43km from Paris via the A115, which now offers an exhibit which compines history and impressionism.
The art exhibitions, combined with the beautiful gardens, make for a wonderful, educational day out. For only €12, it is a steal too!
Healthcare In Paris
In the unfortunate event that you do take ill whilst on holiday in Paris, your travel insurance should be the first place you go to to see if you are covered for the healthcare abroad, and how much you are covered for!
As previously stated, 112 is the emergency number in France. But there are a few more ways you can seek treatment.
If you have a minor issue that you believe you can treat yourself, there are Pharmacies dotted around regularly in Paris.
To prevent a frustrating language barrier, either read up on how to say what you want, or simply show on your phone the items you need.
Every one that I have ever been in, they have always been incredibly kind and will be happy to help.
SOS Médecins France
You may find you need medical advice, but is not an emergency. This is where SOS Médecins France steps in! Call +33 (0) 147077777 and they will put you in touch with a Doctor who can speak your preferred language.
This is not a free service, so be sure to check with your insurance provider that you will be covered for this.
GHIC for UK Citizens
The Global Health Insurance Card (formally the European Health Insurance Card) covers those from the UK whilst they are in the EU. It will allow you reduced, or even free, healthcare whilst on a trip, as long as you have a valid passport with you.
They are free, and there is no reason as to why you should not have one- so make sure to apply for one before your trip to Europe!
Your EHIC will still be valid as long as it is in date. Don’t forget to apply for a GHIC once it runs out.
How To Stay Safe In Paris
It is incredibly easy to keep yourself safe in Paris; here are a few tips to making sure you can enjoy your trip with no hiccups!
Don’t Wear Expensive Items Or Gadgets
Whilst that Rolex may look good in one of the fashion capitals of the world- is Paris safe enough for you to be showing off those goods? Probably not.
Either leave the valuables at home, or make the most of your hotel safe and leave them in the room; especially if walking the streets of Paris at night.
Don’t Flash The Cash
Similarly to the above, try not to pull out bundles of cash when paying for things. It will draw attention to you and make you an easy target.
Either sign up for an international bank card such as a Revolut card, or make use of the hotel safe and spread your money out so you aren’t carrying all your cash at one time.
Be Mindful Of Your Bag
When relaxing at the many quaint Parisian cafe’s lined along the streets, ensure you do not leave your bag hanging on the back of the chair or out of your view.
It is very easy for someone to distract you whilst they take your bag. Keep your bag attached to you in some way, or use a money belt to keep your items secure.
Keep Your Bag To The Front And Leave Pockets Empty
A couple of rules you really should follow are to keep your pockets empty at all times, and to wear your backpack/bag on your front, especially when on crowded public transport.
This takes away any chance for a pickpocket to be able to access your items, and will mean a hassle free trip for you.
Don’t Cheap Out On Travel Insurance
If you are taking any valuables with you to Paris, we always recommend never going for a cheap option when purchasing travel insurance.
With the crime rate, and the chance of civil unrest in the city, it is always better to be covered for any loss of belongings, or any flight delays you may have.
Don’t Trust Everyone You Meet
If you are heading out for a night on the town, don’t trust everyone you meet. Make sure to be aware of your drink at all times, and don’t take any substances from anyone.
They may act like your friend, but the risk is not worth your health, or even life.
Be smart, and drink responsibly.
Know Your Embassy
Most countries you visit will have a Diplomat to represent your home country- make sure you know everything you need to know about yours before travelling to Paris.
If you lose your passport or run into any legal issues whilst you are abroad, this will be the body you will turn to to ask for assistance.
You can find the list of diplomatic missions in Paris here.
Most important of all, just stay aware of your surroundings and trust your gut instinct.
If you find yourself in a situation you decide is dangerous, immediately begin planning your exit, find your nearest police officer, or call the emergency services on 112.
Where To Stay and Where To Avoid
Every district in Paris has it’s good and bad areas- make sure to do your research before you click that “Book” button. We have listed a few places you should look at, and a few you should try to avoid, below.
✅Le Marais And Beauborg Quartier (3rd and 4th Arrondissement)
✅Latin Quarter (5th Arrondissement)
✅Montmartre (18th Arrondissement)
❌La Brillat and Chevaleret (13th Arrondissement)
❌Porte de Vanves (14th Arrondissement)
❌La Grange aux Belles and Buisson-Saint-Louis (10th Arrondissement)
Backpackers In Paris
Paris is the ideal place to start an European road trip due to its international airport accepting flights from all over the world.
It stands a good chance that if you are backpacking through Europe, you may be on a slightly tighter budget than those just vacationing in Paris.
Hostels have ultimately gained themselves bad names, as the idea of having to share rooms and bathrooms with complete strangers has become an uncomfortable situation for some people.
However they are a great way to see a city on a small budget: if you’re doing Paris right, you should hardly even be in your room!
Here are 6 hostels that have high reviews but are careful on the bank account.
Relationships In Paris
Paris is known as “The City of Love”, and is one of the top honeymoon destinations in the world.
If you are travelling with your life partner, it would be typical to wonder “is Paris safe for my relationship?”.
There is absolutely no issue with PDA in Paris- in fact, it is probably expected as the romance that emanates off the city sweeps you into your own little love bubble!
As long as no nudity is involved, you won’t have any issues being loved up with your lover.
Paris is known as being incredibly progressive, and is a great place for the LGBTQ+ community and their allies to attend. Le Marais is even known as the “gay district”, with its rainbow-clad buildings, and bustling nightlife.
Make sure to visit the iconic bookshop Les Mots A La Bouche on Rue Sainte-Croix during the day; during the night make your way over to Le Cox on Rue des Archives for an unforgettable night.
We hope you have found everything you need to so far! Just in case you haven’t, here are a few frequently asked questions.
Is Paris Safe To Walk At Night?
The touristy areas of Paris are entirely safe to walk at night, as they are consistently lively so you will never be alone.
That being said, still take precautions and try not to linger in one area too much, unless you are in a group of people. Keep your wits about you, and have fun whilst staying safe.
The Metro can be particularly risky at night as there is not much life down there; we recommend making your way back to an area within walking distance of your hotel whilst it’s light rather than taking the Metro in the early hours.
Is The Area Around The Eiffel Tower Safe?
The Eiffel Tower is generally quite safe, but pick-pocketing is very common. Follow the advice given in the article, and you will be absolutely fine.
Scams are common in this area as it is constantly full of tourists, so just make sure to be aware of these.
Don’t let this put you off visiting the Tower at night! It is an absolute must to see it twinkle when visiting Paris.
Is Paris Safe For Women Travelling Alone?
Paris is completely safe for women travelling alone as long as the above advise is followed. We recommend staying in the Latin Quarter, or Le Marais- especially if you will be walking at night. Make the most of trusted taxi services, and try to avoid the Metro late at night.
I traveled alone to Paris when I was 18 and unknowingly stayed in a mixed gender hostel in one of the “rougher” neighborhoods of Paris; I did not have one bit of trouble during my whole trip, but wouldn’t risk it again.
Can I Drink The Tap Water In Paris?
The tap water in Paris is safe to drink according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). If you aren’t sure and would rather not risk it, bottled water is fairly cheap to purchase in any supermarket.
Eau Gazeuse or Eau Petillante means Sparking Water.
Eau Plate means Still Water.
If you do not specify you want Still Water in restaurants, you are likely to receive Sparkling as standard.
Is Paris Safe: Conclusion
We have never had any issues on any of our trips to Paris, and that is because we are very self-aware.
Paris is as safe as you allow it to be. In that, if you don’t follow these steps, you are more susceptible to being a target.
This post is in no way intended to put you off visiting Paris- it is a city that everyone needs to visit at least once in their lives.
Rather, it is to ensure that you go there with the knowledge of how to keep you, and your loved ones, safe.
Follow all the guidelines above, and you will be fine. It seems like a lot when written in front of you, but when you are there actually experiencing the city, you will find that you are not as worried as you thought you would be, and that Paris is safe.
At time of writing, there are currently no Coronavirus measures limiting tourists to enter France. This is in accordance with the information provided on gov.uk.