Safety in France

Expats need not be overly concerned about their personal safety in France. The land of wine and cheese is not generally thought of as a dangerous place, and statistics support this perception.

However, expats should be wary of petty theft in crowded tourist areas and on metro lines frequented by foreign travellers. In Paris, in particular, the train lines that run from the airport to the city centre, and from east to west across the city are known to be favoured by pickpockets. Simply being mindful of one's belongings and aware of surroundings can deter the advances of thieves.

Terrorism in France has also become a concern for expats. While the number and magnitude of terror attacks in France have increased in recent years, government and police programmes have made great strides in improving public safety in the country. No extra security precautions need be taken in either urban centres or rural villages, aside from common sense and general prudence. 

Safety tips in France

Expats should lock the doors and windows to their home and car while away and valuables should not be left in plain view.

Expats can look forward to walking safely through most streets unaccompanied after dark. In fact, strolling the well-lit French lanes and alleyways after sunset and watching the European nightlife unfold is a great pleasure.

The large urban centres have some areas that are best avoided, but if travelling in a group, even these problem spots are not too risky.

Women report feeling safe in France, and any unwanted advances made by men can usually be curtailed with a swift and confident 'I’m not interested' or 'no'.

In the case of emergencies, expats in France can dial 18 from a landline telephone for the fire department or 15 to be connected to SAMU, a specialised emergency service that works closely alongside the most prominent public hospitals. The European Union area-wide emergency number, 112, can also be used in France, giving access to police, fire and ambulance services.