With its outstanding history, culture, architecture, museums, castles, gastronomy, iconic landmarks and landscapes, France has long been the world’s most visited country with over 80 million arrivals every year. The French “Art de vivre” (quality of life) has seduced tourists from over the world who come to France to eat croissants in boulangeries, shop its high-end fashion stores and drink a coffee on a Parisian terrace. Its coasts and mountains also offer a lot of outdoor activities and adventures throughout the year.
But as the world’s most visited country, France attracts a lot of pickpockets and other scammers, especially around its main cities. SafeAround has compiled information from numerous sources make sure you have a safe trip in France and be aware of all potential dangers.
France is ranked 58th out of 162 on the safest and most dangerous countries ranking.
Travelling in France is generally safe: it is ranked 58th out of 162 on the safest and most dangerous countries ranking. Burglary and property crime is a serious problem, but violent crime is rare; the main threats facing travelers are pickpockets, bag snatchers and scam artists.
Recent terrorist attacks and threats have occurred in France (and other countries such as Denmark or Belgium); and while tourists should raise their level of caution, the police presence has been greatly increased in large cities to deter further attacks. While very few tourists have been victims of these attacks, the terrorist threat is reflected in the safety ranking.
Be especially vigilant for bag and phone thieves at transport hubs like train stations, airports, restaurants, outdoor cafes, beaches and on public transport.
Car-jacking and mugging when cars are stopped at red lights is sometimes a problem, especially in Marseille and Nice. Its it best to lock your car doors and roll up the windows when in these cities.
Protect your personal belongings at all times, especially your ID and passport. Petty crime, like bag snatching and pick pocketing, is a serious problem around touristic areas and on public transport.
For more details, see city specific advice or take a look at our travel articles.
Warnings & Dangers
OVERAL RISK: MEDIUM
Paris is an overall safe city. It is ranked 58th out of 162 on the ranking of the safest and most dangerous cities.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: HIGH
As a top tourist destination, pickpocketing is the major risk for tourists in France. A few simple precautions will minimize your chances of being pickpocketed.
MUGGING & KIDNAPPING RISK: HIGH
France is a safe country regarding risks of mugging and kidnapping, although some areas are best to be avoided at night.
SCAMS RISK: HIGH
There are a lot of scammers and con-artists trying to take advantage of tourists, particularly in large cities such as Paris or Marseilles and around major landmarks. Be aware of “gold ring” tricks, fake petitions, groups of teenagers acting strangely or trying to distract you; and people offering help with your luggage.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: MEDIUM
They often are pickpockets in the Parisian subway, and taxis are for the most part the safest transportation method.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: LOW
There is very little risk regarding natural disasters in France, other than avalanches which can be a significant threat when skiing in the Alps.
TERRORISM RISK: HIGH
Recent terrorist attacks and threats have occurred in France (and other countries such as Denmark or Belgium), and France is still a target.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
France is generally very safe for women travelers.
Avoid Being A Victim! 10 Tips for Your Personal Safety
It is best to carry a small bag across your shoulder or wear a concealed pouch rather than a back pack
Carry as little cash as you can
Don’t keep your wallet in your back pocket
Beware of individuals who act strangely and who try to divert your attention in order to steal your belongings.
Pay special attention while seating on restaurants and café terraces, when you are withdrawing money from ATMs or near tourist attractions
Never keep your mobile phone or wallet on the table of a café or restaurant.
Don’t wear expensive jewellery in an ostentatious way
If an attacker tries to snatch your bag, don’t try to stop them as you will risk being injured
Thieves commonly work near tourist attractions such as museums, monuments, restaurants, hotels, beaches, trains, train stations, airports, subways and target vehicles with non-local license plates.
Most but not all of pickpockets work in groups, often as teenagers
The main international airports are Aéroport de Charles de Gaulle, Paris Orly, Aéroport de Bordeaux, Aéroport de Lille,
Aéroport International Strasbourg,
Aéroport Lyon-St Exupéry,
Aéroport Nantes Atlantique,
Aéroport Nice Côte d’Azur and
Aéroport Toulouse-Blagnac If you’re looking fore cheap flight deals, you can find some on JetRadar