I cannot stress this enough - Do not look for trouble. What I mean is that if you felt that a dimly-lit alley or street is not safe, then don't go there. In crowded places, take care of your personal possessions; be careful with your purse/wallet/bag, etc. Don't get easily distracted. Watch your back. Watch your friends' backs.
I guess it is many people's perception that since Paris is in Western Europe, and therefore it is generally safe, etc., etc., then they let their guard down. For me, it was my mistaken perception that Paris was generally safe (I didn't read much warnings in travel guidebooks about Paris, as compared to, say, about Barcelona or Lisbon or Rome or Romania).
Anyway, as for me, it is "Once bitten, twice shy".
I am not saying that you should be extra careful and all tensed up during your visit to Paris, but let's be a smart tourist.
My brother got whack and camera snatch when he is in paris last Xmas (Trocadero to be exact, where ALL the tourist are.Afternoon)(maybe is his face, hehe). Anyway, i was a bit worry when i go there this Xmas. Generally, its ok, metro can be a bit dodgy but i feel quite safe. the only place i do feel unsafe is sacre coeur, there were ppl around the staircase to tie 'lucky string' on your hand and then ask you to pay them for their 'kindness'. Just put both hand in the pocket and politely refuse them or use the staircase at the side. definitely safer than lisbon, hehe
There was a story a while ago that shocked Brazil: A famous Brazilian actress was stabbed in the back on the Metro in Paris; in Brazil, a third world country with a serious crime problem, this news was greeted with dismay.However it doesn't surprise us. I (john) witnessed a violent crime in Paris at night, whilst walking, a serious assault on the driver of a car .. unfortunately these types of crimes are all too frequent in Paris ..
We met two nice gentlement who offered us to carry our bags in the metro station! I was a bit reluctant at the beginning but they were in their late 30s and my friend was more than delighted to take their offer,lol..so i had to give up. They warned us not to walk as single women in late evenings especially in touristic areas. That was very true.
We lost our way back to the hotel. So I asked a french guy from where to catch the metro to our neighbourhood. It was only 8pm in the evening. The guy couldn't speak english, so we just left him. My friend a half an hour later told me, 'there's something horrible i wanna tell you'. i was too cheerful to bother with what she was saying as we met two girl friends from london:D and so i asked her to tell me later. but she couldn't put it off as she pointed out at FOUR freak youngesters who had been following us for the last half an hour!!!!!! i was terrified as this never happened to me even in london! we changed two stations and they were still following us. so we just made very clear that we were aware of them. and then they left the metro! i wasn't sure if it was a trick while there'd be someone of them remaining in the metro with us. so we just ran for our lives, praying...even my atheist friend, she prayed too,lol.
So have the emergency number ready with you (221 i think), just in case. Always have a company if you'd like to walk around at night...i know night walking is lustfully charming but do have a company.
PROTECTING YOUR VALUABLES:
To prevent theft, don't keep all your valuables (money, important documents) in one place. Label every piece of luggage both inside and out.
Don't put a wallet with money in your back pocket.
Never count your money in public and carry as little as possible.
If you carry a purse, buy a sturdy one with a secure clasp, and carry it crosswise on the side, away from the street with the clasp against you.
A money belt is the best way to carry cash; you can buy one at most camping supply stores. A neck pouch is equally safe, although far less accessible.
Keep some money separate from the rest to use in an emergency or in case of theft.
In city crowds, especially on public transportation, pickpockets are very good at their craft.
Rush hour is no excuse for strangers to press up against you on the métro. If someone stands uncomfortably close, move to another car and hold your bags tightly.
Be alert in public telephone booths.
If you must say your calling card number, do so quietly; when you punch it in, make sure no one can see you.
Le Sacre Coeur, the highest point in Paris - a beautiful place and a fabulous view.
Most people (the sensible ones) get a taxi up and walk back down.
It's the walking back down bit that I want you to be careful of.
There are small gangs/groups that are now hanging around the bottom of the main steps hassling people as they walk down.
So its a watch your wallet and hold on to your bags time please.
During my weekend to Paris on New Years eve, I was with a friend and we where follwed for a few streets by a group of men, until one finally pushed me over right outside my hotel and stole my wallet. No passer bys even came to see if I was ok, like they where use to seeing this type of crime happen everyday. It soon put a dampner on my new year!! This people are stupid to do it, because it has put me off the city completely, I have no desire to go again and no desire to recommend it to people, so in the end they just give themselves a bad name.
The second night of my stay when I was just getting over what happened, we where queing at the Eiffel tower, when a man grabbed a womens rucksuck and ran straight past. The police chased him pitifully, across a road, gave up and he got away.
I warn anyone going out at night or even in the day, keep only what you need on you and watch anyone at all times. Obviously around the Eiffel tower where it seems crime is huge.
In general very unfriendly - happy to take your money but not keen to strike up conversations(well attempted broken French/English conversations).
Nearly mugged in broad daylight on a busy street. Fortunately recognised the french word for "knife" even though the tone had been friendly and the approach had been smiley smiley. Lucky escape!
Prefer Brittany any day - def' would not return to Paris unless we get to the CL final again this year and I can get a ticket!.
This tip was given to me by my hotel desk personal, and was also mentioned by several others. I choose to take the warning. If you are staying in the outer area (such as a hotel near the airport), and stay in town after dark on a weekend, take a cab back.
If traveling with a group, the train would be O.K. However a person traveling alone and especially a woman you could run into a problem.
I did stay after dark to see the tower lights. The cab fare was 45 euros to my airport hotel. The perfect way to end a nice day, I was safe and sound, and got see the city night lights from a different angle.
Paris is not as horrible for pedestrians as it is in Italy (my observation however). Or does it take a puzzling moment or two to figure out which way to look before you cross a street as it is in the UK due to the right hand driving.
But it is a bit dangerous to cross the streets anyway. Even though there are pedestrian crosswalk signals you have to be careful. The Parisian drivers are pretty hyper and don't have much patience in waiting for pedestrians to cross and will zoom past you even if you have the right of way. However, I noticed and have experienced that they do stop in time before running into you. ;)
Paris is an old city. And many of the small, cozy hotels were converted from former residences. However, the buildings themselves are usually left in their original state.
One thing you will notice is that the (stone) stairways are not always straight. In order to save space alot if not all hotels have winding staircases from top to bottom. They can be a little dangerous if you are not careful where you step.
Be sure that you take your time as the inner part of the staircase is pretty narrow. Also due to centuries of wear and tear the staircases can be worn out and uneven causing you to lose your balance if you are not careful.
If you are a little tired and want to lay back near a statue in a park dont, in a matter of seconds police will tell you to move.
I dont know if theres no napping in parks, or if its napping near a statue.
As there are so many great structures and buildings to look at in Paris, you find yourself looking up a lot. Then right when you're not expecting it one of these tiny little cars gets caught under your feet and you go down for the count. So be careful and watch out for them.
Being around the main football grounds before and after big matches might be risky. The majority of fans are ok but huge crowds always attracts elements looking for trouble.
Matches which are under high risk are the PSG-Marseille and PSG-Lyon encounters. Safety has improved over the last years with around 1000 policemen overlooking the whole thing per match.
Mona Lisa Groupies, be forewarned that your idol is encased at the Lourve in a bulletproof box with triplex glass, built-in air conditioner, 9 pounds of silica-gel and God-knows what else to foil a would-be art robber! On top of that you'll be allowed to look at your idol for only a nano-second as they've hired rude, burly African guards to usher you along in a queue..