group of people walking near body of water and building under blue sky at daytime
Eiffel Tower, Paris France
Eiffel Tower at Paris, France

Is France Safe?

France is generally safe for tourists, but petty crime like pickpocketing and bag snatching is common in major cities and tourist areas. Terrorism remains a risk, with occasional attacks targeting public spaces. Civil unrest can disrupt travel plans, so monitor news and avoid protests. While violent crime is relatively low, be cautious in isolated areas, especially at night. Familiarize yourself with local laws and customs to avoid cultural misunderstandings.

Download Vigilios

Your Pocket-Sized Travel Safety Guide

A phone displaying the Vigilios app and it's safety features.
App Store

Safety & Security

France is generally a safe destination for travelers, but it's important to exercise caution and be aware of potential risks. Petty crimes like pickpocketing and bag snatching are common, especially in crowded tourist areas and on public transportation. Remain vigilant and keep valuables secure. While violent crime is relatively low, terrorist attacks have occurred in recent years, so it's advisable to stay alert and follow the advice of local authorities.

  • Petty Crime: Pickpocketing, bag snatching, and theft from vehicles are prevalent, particularly in major cities like Paris, Marseille, and Nice. Remain vigilant in crowded areas, on public transportation, and near tourist attractions.

  • Scams: Be cautious of common scams targeting tourists, such as fake petitions, ring tricks, and friendly strangers offering unsolicited help or services.

  • Civil Unrest: Protests and demonstrations can occur, sometimes leading to disruptions and violence. Avoid large gatherings and follow local news for updates.

  • Terrorism: France has experienced terrorist attacks in recent years. While the risk is low, remain vigilant, especially in crowded public areas. Follow the advice of local authorities and monitor travel advisories.

  • Disputes: Disputes or confrontations with locals should be avoided, as they can escalate quickly. Exercise patience and seek assistance from authorities if necessary.

Health & Medical

France is generally a safe travel destination from a health perspective, but there are a few considerations to keep in mind. Routine vaccinations like measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) and COVID-19 should be up-to-date before travel. While no additional vaccines are required, some travelers may consider hepatitis A and B vaccines depending on activities planned.

  • Air pollution can be a concern, especially in larger cities like Paris - those with respiratory issues may want to monitor air quality advisories.
  • Tick-borne encephalitis is present in some forested areas, so taking preventive measures is advisable for outdoor enthusiasts.
  • Excellent medical facilities are widely available across the country, both public and private.

While not a major risk, being aware of these potential health concerns can help ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip to France. Travelers should also ensure they have adequate travel insurance coverage.

Natural Disasters

France is generally not prone to major natural disasters, but some risks exist that travelers should be aware of:

  • Flooding: Parts of France, especially coastal areas and river valleys, can experience flooding during periods of heavy rainfall or storms. Flash floods are also possible in some areas.

  • Wildfires: During hot, dry summers, wildfires can occur in forested regions, particularly in the south of France. These may temporarily disrupt travel and lead to evacuations.

  • Avalanches: In the French Alps and other mountainous areas, avalanches pose a risk during the winter months, especially for those engaging in winter sports activities off marked trails.

  • Earthquakes: While not a high-risk area, France experiences occasional minor earthquakes, particularly in the southeast near the French Riviera. Major quakes are rare but cannot be ruled out entirely.

  • Severe Storms: Thunderstorms, hail, high winds, and heavy snowfall can occur seasonally and may disrupt transportation and outdoor activities temporarily.

Travelers should stay updated on weather forecasts, heed any warnings or evacuation orders from authorities, and follow advice from local guides when engaging in outdoor activities in areas prone to natural hazards like avalanches or flash floods.


France has an extensive and well-developed transportation system, making it relatively safe and convenient for travelers to get around. The public transportation options, including trains, buses, and metro systems, are generally reliable and efficient, with a good safety record. However, as with any major city, it's advisable to exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas or when using public transportation at night.

  • Rail Network: France boasts an impressive high-speed rail network, known as the TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse), which connects major cities and is considered one of the safest and most punctual rail systems in the world. The trains are modern, comfortable, and equipped with security measures.

  • Metro Systems: Major cities like Paris, Lyon, and Marseille have extensive metro systems that are generally safe and efficient. However, it's important to be vigilant against petty crimes like pickpocketing, especially during rush hours or in crowded stations.

  • Road Safety: France has a well-maintained road network, but driving can be challenging, especially in larger cities with heavy traffic and aggressive driving styles. Rental cars are widely available, but it's advisable to familiarize yourself with local traffic laws and driving customs. Pedestrian safety should also be a priority, as jaywalking and crossing against signals can be dangerous.

  • Taxis and Ride-sharing: Taxis and ride-sharing services like Uber are widely available and generally safe options for getting around, especially at night or in unfamiliar areas. However, it's always recommended to use licensed and reputable services to avoid potential scams or safety risks.

While France's transportation system is generally safe and reliable, it's still important for travelers to remain vigilant, follow local laws and customs, and take necessary precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

Cultural Norms

France is renowned for its rich cultural heritage and traditions. As a traveler, respecting the local customs and etiquette is essential to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Greetings: The French place great importance on polite greetings. It's customary to greet shopkeepers, waiters, and others with a "Bonjour" (good morning) or "Bonsoir" (good evening) upon entering an establishment.

  • Dress Code: While casual attire is generally acceptable, it's advisable to dress modestly when visiting religious sites or formal events. Revealing clothing may be considered disrespectful in certain contexts.

  • Public Displays of Affection: The French tend to be more reserved when it comes to public displays of affection. Excessive public displays may be frowned upon, especially in more conservative areas.

  • Dining Etiquette: Dining is an important part of French culture. Proper table manners are expected, such as keeping your hands visible on the table and not starting to eat until the host or hostess begins.

  • Language Considerations: While many French people speak English, especially in tourist areas, making an effort to learn and use basic French phrases is appreciated and shows respect for the local culture.

  • Religious Observances: France is a secular country, but it's important to be mindful of religious customs and holidays, especially when visiting places of worship or during religious festivals.

  • Local Customs: Familiarize yourself with local customs and traditions, particularly in smaller towns or rural areas, where cultural practices may be more deeply rooted.

Remember, respecting the local culture not only enhances your travel experience but also fosters understanding and goodwill between visitors and the French community.

Emergency Services

Emergency services in France are generally reliable and well-equipped, though quality may vary in rural areas. Major cities have dedicated tourist police units to assist visitors. Private ambulance services are widely available for medical emergencies.

  • Emergency Services: France has a centralized emergency number (112) for police, fire, and ambulance services. Operators generally speak English.

  • Tourist Police: Major tourist destinations like Paris have dedicated police units to assist visitors. They typically speak multiple languages and can provide guidance on common issues.

  • Medical Facilities: Public hospitals provide quality care, but may have long wait times. Many private clinics and hospitals cater to foreigners and offer English-speaking staff.

  • Private Ambulances: Reliable private ambulance services are available in cities and tourist areas for medical emergencies. They can transport patients to preferred hospitals.

  • Travel Assistance: Some travel insurance providers offer 24/7 assistance hotlines and can coordinate emergency services for policyholders in France.

Frequently Asked Questions

A colorful illustration with three people and the letters "FAQ" representing a Frequently Asked Questions section

Is France safe for tourists?

France is generally safe for tourists. However, it's advisable to exercise caution in crowded areas and be aware of petty crimes like pickpocketing. Avoid isolated areas at night and keep valuables secure. Major tourist destinations have a visible police presence, and emergency services are readily available.

Is France safe for solo female travelers?

France is relatively safe for solo female travelers, but it's essential to take precautions like avoiding isolated areas, especially at night. Women should be cautious of harassment and remain vigilant in crowded places. Major cities like Paris have good public transportation, making it easier to navigate safely.

Is France safe for families?

France is a family-friendly destination with plenty of attractions and activities for children. Major cities have excellent public transportation, making it easy to get around. However, be cautious of pickpockets in crowded areas and ensure children are supervised at all times.

Is France LGBTQ+ friendly?

France is generally LGBTQ+-friendly, with same-sex marriage legal since 2013. Major cities like Paris have vibrant LGBTQ+ communities and events. However, public displays of affection may attract unwanted attention in some areas, so discretion is advised.

Do you need a visa to go to France?

Citizens of the European Union, the United States, Canada, and many other countries do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days in France. However, a valid passport is mandatory for all visitors. It's essential to check visa requirements based on your nationality and intended length of stay.

Can you drink tap water in France?

Tap water in France is generally safe to drink. However, some travelers may prefer bottled water due to taste preferences or as a precaution against potential contaminants. Bottled water is widely available and affordable.

What is the currency in France?

The official currency in France is the Euro (€). Credit cards are widely accepted, but it's advisable to carry some cash for smaller purchases and in rural areas. ATMs are readily available in cities and towns.

Related Content

Download the App

Map, Insights & Support - Vigilios is your Personal Safety Companion

A phone displaying the Vigilios app and it's safety features.
App Store QR LinkApp Store
Google Play QR Link
Coming soon to Android
Google Play