Travellers Worldwide is reader-supported. If you buy a product we link to, we may earn a commission.
Skip to Content

Is Paris Safe to Visit in 2023? | Safety Concerns

Is Paris Safe to Visit in 2023? | Safety Concerns

Are you trying to find out if Paris is safe to visit? The City of Lights has a reputation as one of the top travel destinations in the world. Paris is home to iconic pieces of architecture like the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, and the Notre Dame cathedral.

It’s also a great city for art and history buffs, and tourists can visit the Louvre museum or the Musee d’Orsay. Indulge in legendary cuisine, stroll through lush parks, or walk the streets and admire the architecture.

The nightlife is also top-tier, with live music, unique drinks, and lively atmospheres. In short, there’s no better place to go than Paris for your next European vacation.

Paris is a fun place to visit, but safety is crucial when visiting. We’ve compiled a list of top safety concerns in the city, so read on all you need to know.

Is Paris Safe to Visit?

Nighttime view of Champs-Elysees with cars traveling for a piece asking Is Paris Safe

Ioan Panaite/Shutterstock

Paris is a moderately safe place to visit. It has average safety comparable to other similar capital cities, and safety concerns include pickpocketing, terrorism, and civil protests.

Paris can be a very safe place for tourists if you know what areas and situations to avoid. The US government lists France as a Level 2 travel advisory level. Level 2 means citizens should exercise increased caution when traveling to the country.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go to Paris; it just means that there are a few things you should be aware of before traveling. Stay vigilant in areas where crimes commonly happen, such as the city center, museums, and the Metro train, where over 7,000 thefts occurred in 2018 alone.

It’s possible to avoid theft and pickpocketing and still enjoy your trip, so read below the steps you need to take. The UK, like the US, has a travel warning on France because of heightened terrorist and protest concerns.

Terrorism and civil protests generally occur in busy spaces such as city centers. Stay aware of your surroundings and watch out for gathering crowds.

Even though terrorism is a concern, France’s intentional homicide rate has decreased over the years, and you likely won’t find yourself the victim of a massive crime unless you’re in a rough area. As Paris has a population of over two million, it’s easy to get lost in the crowd.

Fortunately, we’re here to help you learn how to make your trip as safe as possible. Keep reading, and we’ll reveal everything you need to know about safety in Paris, plus a few extra tips on enjoying the city.

Crimes in Paris

Street view in Montmartre depicting greenery and a general safe atmosphere in Paris

Catarina Belova/Shutterstock

Below, you’ll find a breakdown of common crimes in Paris. We’ll share crime statistics, where they typically happen, and how you can avoid becoming a victim.

Pickpocketing

Petty theft or pickpocketing frequently occurs in Paris, and the US government reports that it is the most frequently occurring crime against tourists. Around 50,000 reported thefts took place in the first quarter of 2022 alone.

But how can you avoid becoming another victim of Paris’s pickpocketers? The most vital step is to be vigilant of your surroundings. It’s tempting to bury your face in a phone or map as a tourist, but you must stay alert and keep track of what’s happening around you.

Look out for groups of people, especially youths, who appear shifty or wear discreet clothing. Children are the most likely pickpockets, as the laws make it difficult to prosecute minors in France.

Thieves may belong to any racial or gender category, but most are young. A youth may approach you and start talking to you, while another sneaks up behind you to snatch your wallet or phone, so take caution when chatting with strangers.

Pickpocketing is most prevalent in the Paris city center. The US embassy of France states that areas surrounding the Eiffel Tower, the Notre Dame cathedral, and the Champs-Elysées are the worst for pickpocketing.

How can you prevent pickpocketing? There isn’t a guaranteed strategy, but you can reduce your losses by carrying less cash and valuables. Keep less than €40 in your bag and store your identification and cards separately in a deep pocket or small purse.

Civil Unrest

Civil unrest is a concern in Paris and throughout France. Protests frequently happen, especially in larger cities, and crowds can get dangerous. Past events have included arson, property damage, and looting of shops.

While protests are frequent, the majority of them are peaceful. You may see large gatherings of people chanting or holding signs, but that’s not necessarily a sign of immediate danger. There is only a risk to tourists if the protest gets violent.

Violent, illegal protests that cause harm to people or property require the presence of Paris’s riot police. According to the US government advisory, police have controlled past riots with water cannons, rubber bullets, tear gas, and other chemical agents.

Riot situations are not something you want to be part of as a tourist. Fortunately, avoiding civil unrest is more straightforward than dodging pickpockets.

You can make your trip safer and more enjoyable by doing a few simple things to keep riots and similar crimes from ruining your vacation. Stay aware of large open plazas, such as the Paris city center, where protests might occur.

Consider leaving if you see a gathering of people or a heavy police presence. You can also hang out in a museum or quiet indoor space if you are worried about protests.

Avoiding Bad Areas

Cafe on the corner in Montmartre, a safe neighborhood in Paris for a piece on Is Paris Safe

Catarina Belova/Shutterstock

Paris is a beautiful city, but like any metropolis, there are areas to avoid. As the fifth most dangerous city in France, Paris has its fair share of shady neighborhoods. Read on to learn which areas to avoid and how to have the safest time in Paris.

The city divides into 20 arrondissements or boroughs. Most are safe, especially during the day. However, you’ll want to avoid the 19th Arrondissement, as it has a reputation for crime, drugs, and trafficking.

The 10th Arrondissement isn’t a dangerous place. However, there is one rough neighborhood within the borough. Try to avoid Gare du Nord in the northern part of the 10th Arrondissement, as violent crimes have happened there.

Avoid several neighborhoods within the 18th Arrondissement, including Goutte-d’Or, Barbès, Château-Rouge, and La Chapelle. We also recommend staying away from the Puces de Saint-Ouen, a flea market in the 18th Arrondissement.

Things to Consider

View of Notre Dame cathedral at sunset for a piece on Is Paris Safe

Gurgen Bakhshetyan/Shutterstock

Consider these tips when visiting Paris. You’ll have more success in the Paris environment and ensure your trip goes smoother.

  • Take advantage of public transport. You can book a Paris Metro Pass and zip around the city in minutes.
  • Bring an adaptor to charge devices. European wall sockets are different, so bring a travel adaptor to use your devices.
  • Get used to late suppers. Paris is a city that’s open late, and many people don’t eat their evening meal until eight o’clock. Check restaurant times before you go and ensure they’re available.
  • Learn a few phrases in French. Merci means thank you, bonjour is hello, and s’il vous plaît is please.
  • Consider taking a day trip. Monet’s Giverny gardens, the Chartres gothic cathedral, and Napoleon III’s Fontainebleau palace are about an hour away in different directions.
  • Relax on Sunday. Paris is a Catholic nation, and most businesses close on Sundays in religious observance.
  • Eat, drink, and eat some more! Paris is among the best places in the world for bread, coffee, cheese, wine, and champagne.

Frequently Asked Questions

Image for a piece on Is Paris Safe featuring Arc de Triomphe

Jakub Barzycki/Shutterstock

Learn more about safety in Paris and read these frequently asked questions:

Is it safe to walk in Paris at night?

Paris is relatively safe to walk in at night. It’s a city with a busy nightlife, and you’ll likely see other tourists and locals walking about at night. Just remember to be extra careful after sunset.

Posh areas are more deserted at night, so be aware of these seemingly safe areas. The city center is the busiest area, and the central neighborhoods will feel like daytime, with hundreds of busy people going to restaurants, clubs, and theaters.

Is Paris friendly to tourists?

Parisians are helpful and friendly. Expect to feel welcome as a tourist, as travelers are a staple part of the city. Paris attracts over 30 million tourists annually, and locals are used to meeting travelers.

Paris’s reputation is that the city is rude or prim, but this is a stereotype. Indeed, many Parisians like to dress well, so you might want to dress chicer to fit in the city. But most citizens of Paris won’t judge you for how you express or hold yourself.

Is the area around the Eiffel Tower safe?

The area surrounding the Eiffel Tower is among the busiest in the city, and there is a risk of crime. Annually, the spot attracts over 5.9 million visitors. Therefore, lots of pickpocketers like to hang out around the Eiffel Tower.

Leave valuables at home while visiting the Eiffel Tower, and stay aware of thieves. Pickpocketers often bother people waiting to see the tower, so stay off your phone and maybe bring a friend when you’re in line.

Is Paris safe for women?

Yes, Paris is safe for women. In 2021, women accounted for 53% of the city’s tourists, and Paris is ideal for your next girl’s trip. As with all cities, women should exercise caution, especially at night. Avoid boroughs like the 18th and 19th Arrondissements and stay in well-lit areas.

Is the Paris subway safe?

The Paris Metro is a quick and safe way to get around the city. It’s a great form of public transport, as you’ll probably be on the train with dozens of other friendly tourists, locals, and families.

However, the subway is a hotspot for petty theft. Look out for kids with hats or hoodies, who tend to congregate in gangs. Consider wearing deep pockets to keep pickpocketers from snatching your wallet or phone.

Do they speak English in Paris?

Britain and America have the highest number of tourists in France. Therefore, you’ll meet many other English speakers in Paris. English is not the national language of France, but it is the second most common language.

You should be fine in Paris as an English speaker, as many shopkeepers and hotel staff speak some English. We suggest learning some helpful French phrases before you travel to Paris. A few weeks of learning French will help you get around the city.

What is the best area to stay in Paris?

By income, Neuilly-sur-Seine is the most well-to-do neighborhood, and Marais is the hip area many travelers like to visit. The best place to stay in Paris depends on your needs and interests, but our top choice is the 1st Arrondissement.

The 1st Arrondissement is in the city center and will get you closest to the top sights and things to do. It’s a great place to stay if you don’t have transportation, as you can walk to pretty much anywhere you need. The Metro train also runs through the 1st Arrondissement, so you can hop on and head to other places in the city.

Can you drink tap water in Paris?

Yes, the tap water in Paris is safe to drink. It comes from rivers like the Seine and underground sources like aquifers. Paris tap water goes through several stages of purification, including carbon filtration. It tastes great and is entirely safe to drink, and the World Health Organization lists it as safe.

Did you know Paris is so proud of its long history of water supply that it has a museum? You can head to the Pavillon de L’Eau museum in western Paris to learn more about the city’s water history.

So, Is Paris Safe to Visit?

The City of Lights is one of the best places to visit in Europe, and there’s something for everyone, from museums to green spaces. The safety level is average, and you can avoid crimes like pickpocketing and civil unrest by staying vigilant in busy tourist areas.

Paris is an ideal place to book your next European vacation, so what are you waiting for — start planning your trip today. Happy travels!