Paris is a safe place

With more than 30 million visitors a year, Paris is one of the most visited capitals in the world. It is also one of the safest city in Europe with very low violent crime rates.

Although police forces effectively ensure tourists and residents safety, tourists can sometimes be targets of pickpockets or crooks.

Here are some tips from the French Prefecture of Police to avoid these situations and calmly enjoy your stay in the capital:

  • Prefer small shoulder bags and bags that close securely (zippers) over non-closing bags or backpacks.
  • Do not carry to much cash on you (you can leave some in your hotel room safe).
  • Do not leave your wallet or phone in your back pants pocket.
  • If your bag is stolen, do not try to stop the thieves, you could be injured.
  • Be careful as people can try to divert your attention to steal your personnal belongings on café terraces, when withdrawing money from the ATM or while signing petition for example.
  • Public spaces: do not keep cash in your hand, exchange currencies in exchange offices and not in the street, hide the ATM keypad while typing your PIN code to withdraw money, avoid wearing ostentatiously valuable jewelry, do not leave your wallet or papers in your coat when putting it in deposits or on a chair in restaurants, avoid leaving your phone or your wallet on the restaurant or café table, do not leave your phone in the outside pockets of your bag or clothes and do not lend it to strangers.
  • Transports: watch your luggage, do not leave someone crossing control barriers with you and do not buy tickets from resellers (higher prices). Real Parisian taxis are equipped with a « taxi parisien » logo and have an inside counter which must scroll during the journey (except in the case of journeys from airports as there is a package). For more information, see the MOVE section.
  • Cars: make sure to lock the doors tightly, close the windows and do not leave visible valuable objects inside the vehicle.
  • Identity papers: make a photocopy of your papers and keep the originals and the copies in two different places. In the event of theft or loss, contact the embassy and file a complaint with at the police station (for theft only).
  • Cabarets: avoid some Parisian cabarets, such as those in the Pigalle district, where the staff accost clients on the pavement and where you may be forced to consume at extortionate prices.Street selling is prohibited in France and punishable by law. You may see many souvenirs sellers offering attractive prices on the streets, but these activities are illegal. Buying those items helps fund illegal organizations and networks.

     In tourist areas, people can accost you pretending to be deaf or disabled to ask you to sign petitions and to give them money for associations. This money is actually used to fund illegal organizations and networks. These activities are illegal and punishable under French law.

     Streets card players may offer you to play and to bet money. These games are rigged and you will lose for sure. If you have been victim of these practices, you must file a complaint at the nearest police station because these activities are punishable by the French Criminal Code.



    • Try to make your attacker flee by making noise (shouting, etc.).
    • Take shelter in a nearby place (store, restaurant, etc.) and ask someone to call the police.
    • Give a descritpion of your attacker (age, sex, hair, size, glasses, tatoos, scars, etc.).
    • Indicate in which direction your attacker left and by what means. In case of cars, give the color and the license plate (even partial) if possible.

    In the event of physical assault, police will have you fill out a document to be examined by the Medical and Judicial Emergency Service. The examination will be certified and the investigation to find your agressor can thus begin.


    Go to the nearest police station to file a complaint
    An assistance and support service for victims of assault or theft in Paris is available by appointment. For more information

Emergency numbers

European emergency number: 112 (if your are victim or witness of an accident)

Emergency number for deaf and hard of hearing: 114 (for emergency situations, accessible by FAX and SMS)

Police: 17 (in case of emergency, to report an offense) 

Firemen: 18 (to report dangerous situation or accident concerning property or people)

SAMU (Emergency Medical Aid Service) : 15 (for vital distress situations)

 These phone numbers are reserved for emergency situations, any abuse can be punished.

In all cases, wait for your interlocutor to ask you to hang up when he has abtained all the necessary information.

 Credit card loss or theft: 0 892 705 705 (7j/7, €0.34/min)

American Express: 01 47 77 72 00

Mobile phone loss or theft: 0 800 100 740 (Orange) / 10 23 (SFR) / 0 800 29 10 00 (Bouygues télécom)

Lost property department: 0 821 00 25 25 (€0.12/min)


Alcohol consumption is regulated in France.

Minors (under the age of 18) cannot buy or drink alcohol in public places.

Alcohol consumption is prohibited in certain places.

Drunkenness on the street is illegal.

It is prohibited to drive a vehicule with a blood alcohol level equal or greater than 0.5 g/L of blood.


The Vigipirate plan is a French device to fight terrorism. It consists of increased vigilance and preventive actions in order to protect population from terrorist threats. It is headed by the Prime Minister and is based on all Ministries.

The application of the Vigipirate plan mainly results in checks and searches procedures implementation when accessing frequented places (monuments, museums, performance halls, etc.).

 The Vigipirate plan is divided into 3 threat levels adapted to the situation.

  • Level 1 « permanent security posture »: This is the basic level, reflected in particular by identity checks implementation.
  • Level 2 « reinforced security / risk of attack »: It reinforces the security measures by including, for example, additional patrols, filtering and searches before accessing some places.
  • Level 3 « terrorist attack »: This level corresponds to a crisis situation. It is decreed in the event of a high probability attack or following a terrorist attack. It can result in more important security measures such as some roads closing or public transport stopping for example.


In each Paris district, a police station is open 24/7 to care for vitims and provide them with help and assistance.

The French police is equipped with S.A.V.E. software (assistance system for foreign victims) allowing complaints to be lodged in 16 different languages and subsequently facilitating procedures for tourists thanks to their receipt in the original langage.

 Tourists can speak to bilingual police officers at the police stations front desk or in the city streets. The latter are identified by flag badge indicating the spoken langage(s). They will be happy yo answer tourists questions, from practical to more sensitive information (theft, assault, etc.).

Warning: some crooks pretend to be police officers and ask tourists for their identity papers and money. In France, a police officer will never ask you for money. To make sure that you are dealing with a police officier, you may ask him to show your his police card (visual below, « police » mention in the center, blue white and red diagonal and inscriptions on the front and on the back).


The city of Paris has many public toilets distributed throughout the city. They are all accessible to people with reduced mobility.

An interactive map is available here to locate the Parisian public toilets.

Parks and gardens

The city of Paris has many parks and gardens, allowing you to take a bucolic break between two tourist sites visits.

Small list of the most popular places for tourists:

  • The Jardin des Plantes (5th) : a garden full of colors and aromas (1).
  • The Jardin des Tuileries (1th) : close to the Louvre museum (2).
  • The Parc des Buttes-Chamont (19th) : this large hilly park offers lovely views of the 19th district (3).
  • The Jardin du Luxembourg (6th) : many activities can be practiced in this English park surrounding the French Senate (4).
  • The Parc Monceau (8th) : French garden dotted with small buildings (Egyptian pyramid, Venetian bridge, etc.) (5).
  • The Parc Monsouris (14th) : one of the wildest parks in the capital (6).
  • The Coulée Verte (12th) : a country walk along the old railways of the aerial metro (7).

 In addition to Parisian gardens and parks, the nearby suburbs also offer green spaces, accessible by public transport, such as:

  • The Vincennes Floral Park (Vincennes) : a large botanical garden at Paris gates (8).
  • The Bois de Vincennes
  • The Bois de Boulogne


The city of Paris is making every effort to be more accessible to people with reduced mobility or suffering from physical or psychological disabilities. The optimization of urban planning is currently underway and is progressing rapidly.

 Concrete measures have been implemented, in particular to improve accessibility to public transports, to taxis or to specialized transport for example. More information are available here and here.

Many improvements have also been made on tourist sites to promote their accessibility (access ramps, elevators, etc.).

Pratical information for visitors with disabilities can be obtained from the Paris Convention and Visitors Office official website.


In France, smoking is prohibited in all clased and covered public places, hotels, bars, restaurants, public transport, tobacco shops, casinos, nightclubs, workplaces, health establishment and educational establishments.

Smoking is allowed on café or restaurant terraces if they are not covered and if the facade is open.

 Smoking spaces creation is not mandatory, but they can be found in certain places. No service can however be offered in these spaces.


Dogs must be kept on a leash in public spaces.

 Small dogs (placed in bags or baskets) and guide or assistance dog scan travel for free on public transport in Paris. Large dogs can use public transport after purchasing a reduced fare ticket and if they are on a leash and muzzled.

 Collection of dog excrements is mandatory. It is a civic act towards other road users.

In the event of non collecting, masters are liable to a fine ranging from €68 to €450.

The majority of Parisian museums and monuments are not accessible to dogs, with the exception of guide or assistance dogs.

Dogs leashed are authorized in parks and gardens withour childre-s play areas or in large parks with children’s play areas (see pictograms at the park entrance).

There are 13 dog areas in Paris allowing dogs to walk freely without leash (list available here).

Adress: Square Jacques-Antoine, 3 Place Denfert-Rochereau, 75014 Paris.

Dogs are prohibited in Parisian cemeteries with the exception of guide or assistance dogs

To walk your dog without a leash, go to the Denfert-Rochereau caniparc. It is open 24 hours a day.

Adress: Square Jacques-Antoine, 3 Place Denfert-Rochereau, 75014 Paris.

 An interactive map of Parisian « dogfriendly » spaces is available here.

 Animal care or pension services exist in Paris. They can be useful while visiting places where animals are not allowed.

Pet sitting: Animado

Dogs and cats pension:  Pension du Pont de Sèvres (French website only)  

Dogs pension: DogWalking, Les Truffes Humides (French website only)  

Cats pension: Motel Matou


Alcohol consumption is regulated in France.

Minors (under the age of 18) cannot buy or drink alcohol in public places.

Alcohol consumption is prohibited in certain places.

Drunkenness on the street is illegal.

It is prohibited to drive a vehicule with a blood alcohol level equal or greater than 0.5 g/L of blood.

If you like numbers

In 2017, the city of Paris had more than 2 million inhabitants.

 In the world, 30 different cities bear the name of Paris.

 The city of Paris is often associated with pigeons, and for a good reason, more than 90,000 of them live in the capital.

 Paris has a very developed public transport network. The Paris metro alone has 302 stations.

The Parisians newsstands, recognizable by their characteristic shape and their dark green color, are symbols of the capital. There are 328 of them in the city.

 More than 1,000 boxes of secondhand booksellers are displayed on the Seine quays.

 There is a great disparity in size between Paris districts. The smallest on is the 2nd, which covers 99 ha. The largest one is the 15th with an area of 848 ha.

 Paris smallest street measures 5.75 m, it is rue des Degrès in the 2nd district. In contrast, the longest Parisian street is rue Vaugirard, which stretches for 4.36 km.

 Gare du Nord, which handles 700,000 travelers a day (200 millions travelers a year), is the largest European station in terms of passenger traffic. It also holds the 3rd place in the world, behind Tokyo and Chicago stations.

The Boulevard Périphérique, which surrounds the city of Paris, is 35.04 km long. It is used by more than 1 million vehicles every day, or 2% of the French traffic.

The city of Paris sidewalks cover 2,900 km, more than Paris-Moscow distance by road.

It takes 2 hours and 15 minutes to cross Paris from north (Porte de la Chapelle) to south (Porte d’Orléans) on foot.

France is renowned for its gastronomy and 101 starred restaurants are located in its capital.

The city of Paris heritage includes 463 parks and gardens and 487,000 trees. Among them, the oldest tree is 417 years old. It is located in Square René Viviani in the 5th district.

The offices located at La Défense cover 3,450,000 m², making La Défense the largest business district in Europe.

The first department store in the world opened in 1852 in Paris, it is the Bon Marché. It still exists today and is located in the 7th district.

Since the end of the 19th century, 2,800 French songs have been written about the city of Paris.

Paris is the most visited capital in the world with more than 30 millions visitors every year.


Remember to take a card with your hotel address at the reception. It will allow you to find your way back if you get lost in the capital.

Official documents: as previously mentioned, having photocopies of your official documents (passport, identity card, Visa, etc.) make it possible to keep them in a place other than the originals (hotel room safe for example). You can also keep digital copies of these documents in the Cloud for example. These tips can be particularly useful in the event of theft or loss of the original documents and will ease your steps thereafter.

Currencies: It is more advantageous to order foreign currency in your home country before your trip. The exchange offices exchange rates may be higher and, when withdrawing money on ATM abroad, significant fees may apply. Check conditions with your bank before your departure to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Want to know more about Paris

Paris coat of arms contains a ship which represents the Nautes corporation (Gallic water merchants). Very powerful during the Antiquity and the Middle Ages, this corporation directed the municipality. Its background is red and blue, refering to the Hundred Years War (14th century). The golden lily flowers on the blue part symbolize the monarchy power. Different ornaments surrond the central coat of arms. Below, the Légion d’Honneur (highest French honorary decoration), the 1914-1918 War Cross and the Liberation Cross. The coat of arms is surmounted by a 5-tower gold wall crown, reminiscent of the ancient fortified city. Oak and laurel branches surround the coat of arms and symbolize the city heroic behavior throughout its history.

Paris motto, « Fluctuat nec mergitur », is written on its coat of arms. It means « it is beaten by the waves but never sinks » refering to the ship.


 According to some sources, the city foundation at the current location of Paris could date back to the 3rd century BC.

The first official mention of a city dates from the Gallo-Roman era. In 53 BC, the Romans seized this city and renamed it Lutèce.

In the 4th century, Clovis chose Parisii city (formerly Lutèce) as France kingdoms capital and the city would be called Paris.


Paris city has grown in importance over centuries thanks to trade and to its central geographic location. At that time, the city was fortified by Philippe Auguste.

Before the Black Death epidemic (1348), Paris was the most populous city in Europe.


 In 1528, Paris was again the largest city in the Christian World. At that time, François Ier established his official residence there. Paris had a considerable commercial, intellectual and religious influence.

 Nevertheless, people poverty associated with new ideas emergence (Enlightenment current of thought) led the people to rise up against the monarchy: it is the « Révolution ». On July 14,1789, the French attacked the Basstille prison, a symbol of absolute power. This date was subsequently chosen for the French National Holiday.

On September 3, 1791, the first French Constitution was promulgated and the Republic was proclaimed on August 10, 1792.


On November 9, 1799, General Napoleon Bonaparte took power and established a consulate. For 15 years, Paris experienced a great expansion, marked, in particular, by the construction of the Arc de Triomphe .

 In 1851, a second coup d’état brought Napoleon III to power. The latter and the prefect of Paris city, Baron Haussmann, were at the origin of great architectural and urban changes stil visible today (Haussmanian buildings in particular).


 The universal exhibition of 1899 took place in Paris and allowed the city to shine around the world. It was also on thos occasion that the Eiffel Tower was built .

 During the First World War, the city underwent numerous bombardments.

 During the Second World War, between 1940 and 1944, Paris was occupied by the Germans. Following the successful landing in Normandy, the capital was liberated by the Allied forces on August 25, 1944.

 Since the end of the war, Paris is one of the world’s favorite destination for tourists because of its very important historical and cultural heritage.

The city of Paris is an exception in France. Indeed, it is both a city and a department. To facilitate its administrative management, the city was first divided into 12 districts in 1795. It was later divided into 20 districts during Napoleon III reign in 1859. The districts are numbered from 1 to 20 starting from Paris center and following a clockwise spiral (see illustration below). Each district has a special atmosphere due to its history.

The French are used to talk about the « right bank » (« rive droite ») and the « left bank » (« rive gauche ») of the Seine. The « left bank » corresponds to the part of Paris located south of the Seine and the « right bank » to that located to the north. « Left » and « right » adjectives were chosen following the Seine current direction, which runs from east to west. Historically, Paris northern part corresponded to « the City » and the southern par to « the University » as the Sorbonne (famous French University) is on this side. The « right bank » is reputed to be more sophisticated and conservative, while the « left bank » is more artistic and bohemian. The Seine islands do not belong to either of the two « banks ».

The Boulevard Périphérique is a circular road surrounding the capital. It was built between 1956 and 1973 and delimits Paris and its suburbs. The inner ring road (« Périphérique intérieur ») corresponds to the lanes running clockwise (on the Paris side) and the outer ring road (« Périphérique extérieur ») corresponds to lanes running counterclockwise (on the suburban side).

Traffic is very dense on the Boulevard Périphérique. One of its pecularities is that vehicles entering have the priority over those already on it ont the contrary of other French expressway.

The city of Paris is often called the « City of Lights » because it was the first city to be equipped with a public lighting system. This nickname dates back to the 17th century, under Louis XIV reign. In order to reduce night crimes in the city, the Parisian police chief at the time, Nicolas de La Reynie, decided to install public lighting in the city during winter. First made up of torches and lanterns, the public lighting of Paris will then provided by oil lamps before electricity replaces this system.

 The city of Paris is under the protection of Sainte-Geneviève, who would have pushed back Attila and the Huns of the city in the 5th century thanks to her prayers.