10 Most Dangerous Cities in France

Updated On October 10, 2023

From the hilly districts of Lyon to the Gothic churches of Rouen, the glimmering beaches of Nice, and the romantic Seine River in Paris, it’s no secret that France has some of the most enthralling cities and towns in the world.

A visit to France checks off countless bucket list items.

However, as with any place in the world, there is a darker side to these cities, one that most tourists hopefully never have to encounter.

These less savory corners of exciting cities have violent and property crimes, homelessness, abandoned buildings, and other undesirable factors.

If you’re considering visiting France, it’s essential to learn about the most dangerous cities in the country.

So keep reading to find out so you can better plan your trip!

10 Most Dangerous Cities in France


Ten: Toulouse

The capital of the southern Occitanic region, Toulouse, is a vibrant and bustling city where the Garonne River intersects near the Spanish border.

Known as The Pink City because of the terra-cotta bricks used on many buildings, Toulouse squeezes into the top 10 most dangerous cities due to its crime rating of 50 and safety rating of 50.

Generally, most visitors don’t have crime-related issues when visiting.

The most common crimes are non-violent property damage and petty theft.


Nine: Rennes

As the capital of the Brittany region in northwestern France, Rennes is best known for the medieval half-timbered homes that dot the city and the grand Rennes Cathedral.

Situated on the Vilaine River, Rennes is a cultural hub with the Musee des Beaux-arts, the Champs Libres cultural center, and the Espace des Sciences.

With a crime rate of 51.1 and a safety rating of 48.9, crimes occur, but you likely won’t have any issues when visiting.


Eight: Lille

As a northern French town and capital of the Hauts-de-France region, Lille is a bustling university city and cultural hub.

Given its proximity to Belgium, Lille was a critical merchant center for the French Flanders, with countless Flemish influences remaining.

Old Lille is a beautiful central area with a 17th-century townhome, a large central square, and a cobbled pedestrian street.

The crime rate is 52.4, with a safety index of 47.6.

Most crimes in Lille are petty thefts, like pickpocketing, and property crimes, like vandalism.


Seven: Lyon

As the capital of the Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region, Lyon sits at the junction of the Saone and Rhone rivers.

From the 2,000-year-old Roman Amphitheater des Trois Gaules to the Renaissance and medieval architecture in Old Lyon and the Presqu’il peninsula, Lyon is an old yet modern city.

It’s also become a global hub for incredible food.

However, crime has become a problem in the city, with a crime index of 54 and a safety index of 46.

Nevertheless, most visitors go to Lyon and enjoy the sights, sounds, and tastes without issues.


Six: Paris

The City of Lights is a destination most dream of visiting for that romantic getaway to enjoy world-class cuisine, stunning architecture, extensive history, beautiful art, and metropolitan amenities.

Unfortunately, Paris has another side to it, with a crime index of 57 and a safety rating of 43.

Since Paris is a major international city, it comes as a reason that crime will be present, mostly pickpocketing and theft.

When visiting, just be aware of your surroundings and monitor your belongings.


Five: Grenoble

Coming in at number five is Grenoble, a mountain-shrouded city on the cusp of the Alps.

Given its location, Grenoble is a skiing destination since it’s at the center of the Les Deux Alpes and Three Valleys.

The city has an overall crime rating of 57.35, with high levels of social discrimination, drug-related crimes, property damage, and vandalism.

However, these numbers should encourage you to visit as the city is a highly welcoming location with world-class skiing facilities.


Four: Nice

Most don’t associate Nice as a dangerous French destination.

Known for the sun-kissed English Promenade, an artsy prestige due to the Musee Matisse, and a cool café scene, Nice is central to the French Riviera.

On the other hand, the city commands a crime rating of 60 with a safety index of 40.02.

Like many other French cities, crime spikes have occurred since 2019, with around 33,000 reported crimes yearly, which is staggering compared to the population.

Also, Nice was the target of several terrorist attacks over the past decade.


Three: Montpellier

Montpellier is a student-filled city dubbed by travel publications like The Lonely Planet as a “graceful and easy-going” city.

However, the dark side of this city is the crime index of 60 and safety rating of 39.5, which places Montpellier at number three on this list.

The city has experienced soaring crime within the past three years, drastically increasing property theft, scams, and petty theft.

These occurrences have become so frequent that the local police have warned the French government about outrageous crime rates.


Two: Nantes

The second most dangerous city on this list is Nantes, which has an overall crime index rating of 61.84 and a safety rating of 38.16.

In recent years, the city has been rated as very high for an increase in crime but has dropped one spot since 2022, which is positive news.

Surprisingly, Nantes is a beautiful destination, straddling the Loire River nestled in the rolling hills of Upper Brittany.

From a commercial perspective, Nantes is considered an innovation hub of northern Frace, with a thriving startup scene and cutting-edge universities.

While the cause of the crime spike is unclear, many believe it’s due to robberies and violent incidents caused by the economic downturn due to the COVID Pandemic.


One: Marseille

Ask French citizens about the most dangerous cities in their country, and most will say Marseille immediately.

As France’s second-largest city by population, Marseille is a hub of the southern coast and has garnered a reputation for being the most crime-ridden and grittiest urban spot.

With an overall crime index of 64.65 and a safety rating of 35.35, Marseille has a crime rate five times higher than most other cities in France.

This is due to a gun-related fatality approximately every four days (2.83 gun deaths per 100,000 residents).

In addition, the city has around 30 homicides per year and 40% youth unemployment, which results in high levels of property and petty thefts.

5 Safety Tips for Traveling to France

One: Be Vigilant for Pickpockets

Pickpocketing across Europe is a problem, especially in high tourist areas, and France is not immune to this situation.

Pickpocketing is the most common crime for many cities on this top 10 list, so be vigilant and aware of your surroundings.

If you are pickpocketed, contact the authorities immediately, as there could be a police presence already in the area.

Two: Keep Your Belongings Close

When waiting or transferring through airports, bus stations, or train stations, always keep your suitcase and other personal belongings close to you.

There are thousands of incidents of bag and suitcase thefts each year because tourists need to pay attention to their surroundings and keep their belongings close.

Three: Use the Emergency Number

If you have an emergency, remember that Europe doesn’t use 911, they use 112.

So if you dial 911, the number won’t go through to a dispatch unit.

Four: Photocopy Identification Documents

This tip is relevant for all international destinations, but it’s critical always to make copies of identification papers and keep them in a safe storage place.

Having them digitally saved on an email is the best option so that you can access them from anywhere with an internet connection.

In addition, if your passport is lost or stolen, it is beneficial for the local embassy or consulate office to have backups.

Five: Keep Your Wallet in the Front Pocket

Never keep your wallet or other vital items in your back pocket.

A pickpocket can easily pretend to bump into you and lift items from your back pocket without noticing.

Keeping your items in a front or zippered pocket makes it much more difficult for the pickpocket to steal them.

France Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: France Safety Review

Safety Index:

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the safest cities in France?

The safest city in France is Colmar, a small village in the Alsace region.

The largest city in the Alsace region is Strasbourg, which is also incredibly safe.

Other safe places to visit include Villefranche sur-Mer and Saint-Tropez.

Which city has the highest homelessness rate?

Given that Paris is the largest city in the country, it has the most significant number of homeless people.

Also, the greater Paris region accounts for 44% of the homeless people in the entire country.

What is the friendliest city in France?

Although Lille is on the list of the most dangerous cities, most locals you encounter are incredibly welcoming and friendly and want to converse with you.

2 Comments on 10 Most Dangerous Cities in France

  1. D
    Dominick says:

    In my opinion, it’s always important to be aware of the potential dangers in any place you visit, and France is no exception.

    However, with proper precautions and awareness, you can still have an incredible and safe trip to this beautiful country.

  2. My location is right next to Lille , i went to Nice and Montpellier , and my Birthplace is Marseille 💀💀💀

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