For members


Reader question: Is Paris a safe city to visit?

It's a question frequently posed by tourists, so here's a look at what you need to know to stay safe when visiting Paris.

Reader question: Is Paris a safe city to visit?
Few people deny that Paris is beautiful, but is it safe for visitors? Photo by JOEL SAGET / AFP

Paris is undoubtedly one of the world’s most beautiful cities – but it’s also a large, modern capital with litter, graffiti, homelessness and crime, just as you would expect in any big city. 

The reality of a bustling and noisy capital can come as a shock to some visitors (in fact there’s even a name for this ‘Paris syndrome’ – which refers to the moment that tourists with an overly-romanticised view of the city are confronted with the reality).

It’s home to 2.1 million residents and hosts around 10 million tourists a year, so clearly some people like it, but here’s what you need to know if you are planning a visit.

Hotels, tickets and scams: What to know if you’re visiting Paris for the 2024 Olympics

Crime rates

Overall, Paris is a relatively safe city and there are no specific risks to tourists. That being said, it is France’s largest city so as you would expect it has among the highest crime rates in the country.

France has a murder rate of 1.20 per 100,000 people, a steep fall from when the rate peaked in the 1990s and much lower than the USA (5.01 per 100,000 people) but slightly higher than the UK (1.12 per 100k).

FACTCHECK: How bad are crime rates in France?

However, physical attacks on tourists are very rare and in fact the biggest risk to visitors are financial – becoming the victim of pickpockets or scammers, both of whom frequently do target lost-looking tourists.


Pickpocketing is a particular problem around tourist sites and on certain parts of the public transport network, with Gare du Nord station a notorious trouble spot.

As with all cities, the best advice is to keep your valuables like a wallet and phone in a zipped pocket or bag that you can keep your eye on, and be aware of your surroundings. 

READ ALSO 14 ways to avoid pickpockets and petty thieves in Paris


Tourists are also frequently the targets of scammers, and a particular problem here is unlicensed taxis. Licensed Paris taxi drivers are forbidden to approach customers, so if someone comes up to you – especially at the airport or station – and offers a taxi ride, they will be unlicensed.

You can find a guide to using Paris taxis and VTC companies like Uber, as well as what you can expect to pay, HERE.

Other popular scams that frequently target tourists can be found HERE.


Separate to scammers and pickpockets are beggars, which tourists are often surprised to find exist in such a wealthy and elegant city as Paris.

It’s not uncommon to be approached in the street or on the Metro by someone asking for “une pièce, un ticket resto” (a coin or a restaurant voucher) – these people are very rarely aggressive and whether you give to them or not is entirely a personal choice.


One thing synonymous with France in general and Paris in particular is strikes, and tourists often wonder whether they should cancel a trip if there is a strike announced.

The first thing to be clear about is the difference between une grève – a strike, where people stop working – and une manifestation (sometimes shortened to une manif) – which is where people march or demonstrate.

These two often go together but not always, sometimes strikes happen without a demo while there are regular demos on topics from climate change to women’s rights that don’t involve strike action.

READ ALSO Should I cancel my trip to France if there is a strike?

Strikes themselves can be very inconvenient if services are cancelled but are hardly ever violent.

Demonstrations can flare into violence, especially at the end of the march, but these usually only involve a small minority of demonstrators (or more usually casseurs or hooligans) in a limited area. They often vandalise property such as shop windows, street furniture or bus shelters and sometimes attack police, but violence directed at passers-by is extremely rare.

Nonetheless, it’s worth avoiding the area when a demonstration is ongoing, as the police’s favourite crowd control tactic is to spray tear gas around, which is very unpleasant if you are caught in it. 


As in most capital cities, drugs are available to buy in Paris despite being illegal.

It is illegal to buy and to smoke cannabis, a fact which often surprises visitors since it’s very widely available and it’s not uncommon to see people smoking in public places. There are no legal cannabis shops in France, although there are CBD shops where cannabis oils that do not contain that active ingredient of the drug can be bought legally.


While unfortunately homophobic violence exists in all countries around the world it is no worse in Paris than any other big city and there is no cultural problem with holding hands, kissing or otherwise displaying affection in public.

If you would prefer to be in a gay-friendly space, head to the Marais district which as well as having a lively gay nightlife is also one of Paris’ most beautiful and historic areas.  

Paris was accepted into the international Rainbow Cities network of gay-friendly cities in 2019.


Paris is far from being the worst European city for people of colour to visit, but nonetheless unfortunately some visitors do report problems, from being denied entry to bars and restaurants to being followed by security guards when shopping.

There is also an issue with the police. French police have the right to make random stops of pedestrians to check ID and of drivers to check driving licences and other documents. France does not collect race-related data on police stops due to its ‘colour blind’ laws, but it would be very hard to deny that ‘random’ stops disproportionately affect people of colour. 


Female visitors to Paris are not generally the target of violent attacks so there is not a major risk when walking the streets, but street harassment is a problem, especially for younger women.

There is a culture of street ‘pick-ups’ in Paris so it’s not uncommon to be approached by a man who asks for your number, to go for a drink etc. In most cases this is non-threatening and you can simply politely say that you are not interested and keep walking, but there is also a problem with street harassment such as wolf-whistling, persistent attempts or even physical groping.

This is illegal in France under anti street harassment laws brought into effect in 2019, but unfortunately the laws are not always well enforced.  

Emergency in France: Who to call and what to say 


Prices for hotels and restaurants are high in Paris so many may choose to stay outside the city in the suburbs – you can find a guide to the inner and outer suburbs of the city here.

Because prices fall the further out of Paris you get, the suburbs are home to many of the capital’s low-paid workers while some have higher than average levels of poverty and crime.

The suburbs to the north and east of the city – within the département of Seine-Saint-Denis – have gained a reputation as violent and crime-ridden places where riots frequently break out. In truth, however, this is far from being the case for all of the north-east suburbs, although there are some areas that visitors would be wise to avoid.

Within Seine-Saint-Denis the suburbs of Pantin, Bagnolet, Les Lilas and Montreuil are all pleasant places to visit and have easy Metro connections into the city centre.  

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For members


LATEST: The transport strikes that will hit passengers in Europe this summer

Inflation is pushing unions across Europe to demand new pay hikes, raising the risk of train and airplane strikes this summer. This rundown will help you plan ahead to know if your holiday plans will be affected.

LATEST: The transport strikes that will hit passengers in Europe this summer


Italy’s unions this week announced plans for strikes in both June and July. 

On June 18th, security staff at Milan’s Malpensa Airport will strike for four hours from 11am to 3pm. 

Then on June 20th, baggage handling staff at airports all around the country will take part in a 24-hour walkout. Ground staff at a number of Italian airports, including Rome’s Fiumicino Airport, Milan Malpensa Airport and the Amerigo Vespucci Airport in Florence will also hold separate protests on the day. 

On July 15th, staff at ENAV, Italy’s main air traffic control operator, will take part in a national 24-hour strike. 

So far there are few details of which flights will be affected by these strikes, but they are very likely to cause disruption. 

Anyone travelling between Italy and the UK, should also be aware of the security staff strikes at Heathrow Airport which will affect British Airlines flights to Florence, Rome, Milan and Venice on most weekends between mid-June and the end of August. 

READ ALSO: The transport strikes to expect in Italy in summer 2023


On June 7th the Spanish Union of Airline Pilots (Sepla) called for strikes against Air Europa, Spain’s third largest airline, over the “confrontational attitude” of the company’s management. 

The union gave no details of exactly which days the strikes would take place in its press release, but they will happen between June 19th and July 2nd. 

Air Europa operates flights within Spain, and to destinations across Europe and the world, including Germany, France, the UK, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, and Switzerland.

The Sepla union also on June 6th launched a “daily indefinite strike” against Air Nostrum, the regional airline run by Iberia. The strike has forced the cancellation of 20 percent of the airlines flights and also delayed other flights. 

The strike is taking place between Monday and Friday every day of the week and there are no signs of a breakthrough in talks so far. 

People flying between Spain and the UK using either British Airways or Iberia should be aware that security staff at Heathrow airport are striking almost every weekend (and some other days as well), causing major disruption at Terminal 5 and Terminal, which are used by Iberia and British Airways. 

Flights from Edinburgh to Spain may also be affected by strikes there. 


So far no big airline or air traffic control strikes have been announced by the French unions to follow on from the one-day action on June 6th that saw around 20 percent of flights in and out of France, and some flights just flying over France, cancelled. 

It’s not impossible, however, that unions will call for further action, even though turnout for the nationwide strikes over pension reform has recently been falling, making it look like the battle over pension reform may be reaching its final stages. 

The pattern so far as has been for the inter-syndicale, the federation that represents all eight French unions, to wait until one strike day is over before announcing the next, so there could well be announcements in the coming weeks. 

The summer holidays in France traditionally mark a break in mass strike actions, but they are often a time for industrial action from specific unions – especially those involved in the flight and tourist industries.

Travellers to and from France from the UK should be aware of the security staff strikes at Heathrow Airport which will affect British Airlines flights to Paris, Toulouse, Nice, and Mulhouse airports on some dates. There is also potential for a strike at Edinburgh Airport, which could affect flights to France run by several airlines, including Air France.


So far no strikes have been announced in Germany which will affect transport, but EVG, the union that represents workers for 50 train companies has reached a deadlock in its negotiations with Deutsche Bahn. 

The two sides are far apart, with Deutsche Bahn suggesting a 12 percent pay hike over two years, while EVG wants the same rise over 12 months.  This means there is a real risk of strikes over the summer. 

On June 2nd, the union threatened further industrial action if DB refused to come back to negotiations. “If nothing happens at the negotiating table, we have to apply pressure with #Warnstreiks,” it tweeted.

If the union does hold warning strikes before the next round of talks, they are likely to last for only a few days. 

Lufthansa pilots, who went on strike last year, in September agreed in a pay deal not to strike until June 2023, leaving the possibility of a renewed round of strikes later in the summer. 

The two main unions representing airport security workers, meanwhile, Verdi and the German Civil Service Federation, reached a pay deal on May 17th. 

Travellers to and from Germany from the UK, should be aware of the security staff strikes at Heathrow Airport which will affect British Airlines flights to Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Nuremberg, Munich, Düsseldorf, Hanover, and Berlin. Flights to Germany from Edinburgh Airport could also be affected by the strikes announced there. 

READ ALSO: When will the next set of rail strikes take place in Germany?

The United Kingdom

The UK is the county most affected by strike action this year with a busy schedule of strikes planned at London Heathrow airport, and strikes announced at Edinburgh Airport. 

The Unite union at the start of June announced a total of 31 days of strikes over the summer for security staff at Heathrow Airport outside London,  with walkouts almost every weekend from mid-June to the end of August.

The strikes will involve as many as 2,000 security officers working at both Terminal Three and Terminal Five, as well as Campus Security responsible for checking all personnel and vehicles going over to the runway side of the airport.

European travellers flying with British Airways and the Spanish flag carrier Iberia are the most likely to be affected. 

Iberia flies non-stop from Terminal 5 to Barcelona, Madrid, Palma de Mallorca, and Málaga.

British Airways, meanwhile, flies non-stop from Terminal 5 to Paris, Toulouse, Nice, and Mulhouse airports in France, to Geneva and Zurich in Switzerland, to Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Nuremberg, Munich, Düsseldorf, Hanover, and Berlin in Germany, to Copenhagen in Denmark, Gothenburg and Stockholm in Sweden, to Oslo in Norway, and to Florence, Rome, Milan and Venice in Italy

British Airways also operates some flights from Terminal 3, including to Bastia in France, Gibraltar, Naples in Italy, Billund in Denmark, Vienna in Austria, and, outside of the country’s covered by The Local, to the cities of Porto, Pristina, Pura, and Tirana. 

Other airlines based in Terminal 3, such as Virgin Atlantic. American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Delta Air Lines, Emirates, and Qantas mainly offer long-haul flights outside of Europe. 

The workers will be on strike between June 24th and and 30th, and then between July 14th to July 16th, then from July 21st to July 24th, then from July 28th to 31st, and then from August 4th to 7th, 11th to 14th, 18th to 20th, and 24th to 27th.

Staff at Edinburgh Airport represented by the Unite union voted at the end of May to take strike action over pay and working conditions by an 85 percent majority but the union has yet to set dates. 

Edinburgh is the busiest airport in Scotland, with direct flights to most major cities in Europe, operated by Air France, British Airways, Alitalia, Austrian Airlines, EasyJet, Iberia, Ryanair, Norwegian and SAS, among others. 


After major pilot strikes in the summer of 2022 and rail strikes this May, Sweden looks set for a conflict-free summer when it comes to travel into, out of, and around the country. 

Travellers to and from Sweden from the UK should be aware, though, of the security staff strikes at Heathrow Airport which will affect British Airlines flights to Gothenburg and Stockholm on most weekends between mid-June and the end of August. 


The ongoing dispute between unions and Naviair, the state-owned company that employs Denmark’s air traffic controllers, has yet to be fully resolved, although Naviair on May 16th issued a plan for the summer,which it says will minimise delays and disruption. 

The plan prioritises travellers and and airlines at Copenhagen Airport, meaning flights to and from Roskilde Airport are likely to be reduced. 

Flights between Copenhagen and Greenland could be affected by strikes from June 23rd after Dansk Metal, which represents mechanics working for the airline, failed to reach a pay deal on May 23rd. 

Travellers to and from Sweden from the UK should be aware of the security staff strikes at Heathrow Airport which will affect British Airlines flights to Copenhagen on most weekends between mid-June and the end of August. 


Travel into, out of, and around Norway looks to be unaffected by strikes this summer. 

Travellers between Norway and the UK, should be aware, however, of the security staff strikes at Heathrow Airport which will affect British Airlines flights to Oslo on most weekends between mid-June and the end of August. Flights from Edinburgh Airport to cities in Norway may also be affected to the strikes announced there. 


Travel into, out of, and around Austria looks to be unaffected by strikes this summer. 

Travellers between Austria from the UK, should be aware of the security staff strikes at Heathrow Airport which will affect British Airlines flights to Vienna on most weekends between mid-June and the end of August. 


There are no strike plans that The Local are aware of directly affecting Swiss airlines or rail companies, but flights to and from Switzerland were affected by the strikes by France’s air traffic controllers on June 6th, and may be affected again if those strikes resume over the summer. 

Travellers between Switzerland and the UK should be aware, though, of the security staff strikes at Heathrow Airport which will affect British Airlines flights to Geneva and Zurich on most weekends between mid-June and the end of August. 

This story will be updated as and when further strikes are announced.