Essential Safety Tips for American Tourists in Paris

Written and researched by Michael Kays (Travel Insurance Expert) | Fact Checked by Danya Kristen (Insurance Agent).

Alright, so you’ve decided to swap the bustling streets of New York or the sunny beaches of California for the romantic avenues of Paris, huh?

From the majestic Eiffel Tower, to the world-renowned Louvre Museum, and not to forget the heavenly pastries (Ooh la la, those croissants!), Paris is indeed a bucket list destination.

But wait, it’s not all macaroons and accordion music! Brace yourself for a tongue-in-cheek ride through the safety dos and don’ts in the City of Lights.

Who Ya Gonna Call? Not Ghostbusters!

First thing’s first: Paris isn’t your backyard. So, familiarize yourself with the local emergency numbers. Dial 112 for a general SOS call, whether you’ve twisted your ankle while gawking at the Notre Dame, or your rental Peugeot is inexplicably on fire.

Dial 15 for medical emergencies, 17 for police, and 18 if you accidentally set your crème brûlée ablaze. Remember, these numbers are as free as the samples at Costco.

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Don’t Forget the Armor – Get Insured!

Before you trade your morning Joe for a cup of café au lait, secure yourself a comprehensive travel insurance plan. It’ll cover everything from a bout of the French flu to a suitcase that decided to vacation in Timbuktu instead of Paris.

If your condition involves more than just a croissant-induced food coma, you’ll thank your lucky stars for that insurance.

The Art of Dodging Pickpockets

Paris might be the city of love, but some folks there just love your wallet. Beware of pickpockets especially around hotspots like the Louvre (I mean, who can focus on both the Mona Lisa and their backpack?).

Consider using a money belt. It might not be high fashion, but neither is losing all your Euros!

Scam-Proofing Yourself

Remember when Uncle Bob fell for that email scam? Well, Paris has its own share of scammers. Keep your eyes peeled for classics like the “gold ring” trick or the “friendship bracelet” gimmick.

Polite refusal is your best defense here. Don’t let the City of Lights turn into the City of Slight-of-Hand!

Mind Your Manners, S’il Vous Plaît

Okay, let’s set the record straight. Not every French person is waiting to sneer at your less-than-perfect French.

A simple ‘Bonjour’ here and a ‘Merci’ there can work wonders.

Remember, you’re in their house, so best behavior is the way to go. And yes, they do say ‘Bonjour’ A LOT.

The Parisian Grand Prix

We’re not kidding when we say Parisians drive like they’re in the Indy 500. Always use marked crosswalks and keep an eye out for the city’s many daredevil bikers.

Forget “Why did the chicken cross the road?” – you’ll be asking “How?”

Food and Drink: Delicious but Deadly

French cuisine can be as treacherous as it is tasty.

Beware the allure of open-air food stalls and always observe the condition of any place you eat. Plus, while French wine is exquisite, it’s no joke.

Too much can leave you feeling as lost as a vegetarian in a butcher shop.


1. Is Paris safe for us Yanks?

Sure, Paris is safe, as long as you keep your wits about you. Be smart, be aware, and you’ll be fine.

2. What about the language barrier?

Well, not everyone in Paris speaks English, but most in the tourism and hospitality industry do. Having a few French phrases up your sleeve can be helpful, and it’s appreciated.

3. Are Parisian waiters as rude as they say?

That’s a common stereotype, but it’s often just a cultural misunderstanding. Remember that a ‘Bonjour’ and a smile can go a long way. And hey, we’ve all dealt with grumpy servers at Denny’s, haven’t we?

4. Is the Paris metro safe?

It’s as safe as most big-city metro systems. Keep an eye on your belongings, especially during rush hour, and beware of potential pickpockets who are as slick as a salesman on Black Friday.

5. I heard that some areas of Paris are not safe. Is it true?

Like any large city, Paris has its rougher areas. Generally, though, these aren’t places where tourists tend to venture. Stick to well-traveled paths, don’t wander around unfamiliar areas at night, and you’ll be as good as gold.


So, there you have it, fellow compatriots! A handy, lighthearted guide to navigating the Parisian landscape with the deftness of a seasoned Parisian and the charm of your all-American self.

Yes, the French capital does require some street smarts, but with these tips in your back pocket, you’re set to have an adventure that’s as smooth as their best brie.

Remember, you’re not just a tourist – you’re an ambassador of all things American.

So, put on your best smile, your trendiest beret, and set out to conquer the city – one baguette at a time! Bon voyage, y’all!