Is Lyon safe to visit? A comprehensive safety guide
The third-biggest city in France, Lyon was founded by the Romans and has many amazing Roman and Medieval experiences for tourists to enjoy. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site filled with Roman amphitheaters, narrow streets, and Medieval and Renaissance houses. Lyon connects northern and southern Europe. Many prefer Lyon to Paris.
This beautiful city is also the birthplace of cinema and offers unique film festivals, music festivals, and museums. The first-class shopping experience in Lyon is fantastic and even the antique markets are something you don't want to miss.
Metro Lyon has a population of about 1.7 million people. Summer months in Lyon are hot and muggy and 6 million visitors see the city each year. To avoid summertime crowds, plan your visit between September and October when you can expect the most pleasant weather.
With so much to see and do, is Lyon safe to visit? The general answer is yes and we'll tell you more in this comprehensive safety guide. To see the sights worry free, stow your bags at a Bounce storage site in Lyon. Then hit the streets for some sightseeing and cultural experiences.
Is Lyon safe to visit right now?
France has a rating of 55 on the 2021 Global Peace Index, making Lyon a safe city to visit even when traveling solo. With it being a city that draws many tourists, there will be problem areas that you'll want to avoid and things you can do to help keep yourself and your possessions safe.
Pickpockets and scammers are the two biggest problems that tourists experience but with a little Lyon safety knowledge, you can enjoy your time in this lovely part of France. Learning how to keep safe and not attract the attention of pickpockets and scammers is one of your best defenses. Try to blend into the crowd and look like one of the locals rather than a tourist, as petty thieves will target tourists over locals.
No safety guide is perfect, so we recommend you do your research and also check your government’s official travel guidelines for France and Lyon before you firm up your travel plans.
Top petty crimes and scams in Lyon affecting tourists
Petty crime in Lyon can be found everywhere, but it seems more common near tourist attractions. Thieves and scammers will target tourists who wear flashy clothes and jewelry, have their cameras hanging around their necks, or carry easily snatched large tote bags or purses. Remain watchful in public spaces and avoid taking things offered by strangers. Thankfully, the mugging risk in Lyon is low compared to other big cities.
Vieux Lyon has a lot of professional thieves on the lookout for easy targets. Well organized pickpocket groups work together around the biggest tourist attractions so stay alert and keep carry only a few things with you, including a small amount of cash and not all of your credit cards. Try to dress like the locals so you blend more into the crowd when sightseeing.
Taking advantage of a Bounce storage locker is a great idea for stowing your things so you can carry less and have peace of mind. Men should carry their wallets in their front pockets, only keep a small amount of cash in their wallets, and not flash cash or cards in public. Ladies should use a small crossbody purse rather than a large shoulder bag.
Common scams in Lyon include fake petitions where people dressed in clothing advertising charities hand out fake information pamphlets and try to get you to donate right away. You don't want to give cash directly to anyone on the street, even if their charity seems legit.
The gold ring trick is also another common scam. Someone will claim to find a gold ring on the ground and then offer it to you. But, the person will expect you to pay for the ring and can become rather aggressive if you don't give them money. It is always best to refuse to take the ring or any other object from a stranger on the street.
Is Lyon safe to travel alone
The Bounce Women Travel Safety Index gives France a rating of 14. While anyone traveling alone should use caution, for the most part, solo travelers are safe when they visit Lyon. Female solo travelers can feel safe while visiting cities in France. Common sense and a little knowledge about self-defense will help a single woman that encounters a petty thief.
Pack light, stay in tourist-friendly neighborhoods, and dress to blend into the crowd rather than look like a tourist. Have an itinerary and share it with a friend or loved one back home. Ask the hostel or hotel staff for recommendations of things to see and mention to the staff where you're headed. Keep your cell phone handy and know the emergency numbers for Lyon, including 112 which is similar to 911 in the USA.
Safest neighborhoods in Lyon
Lyon neighborhoods are generally safe, although there are some areas you do want to avoid at night. The most charming neighborhood is Vieux Lyon but the most central area is La Presqu’lle. Most public areas are safe for residents and tourists.
This iconic Lyon neighborhood has a Medieval atmosphere with great attractions. Aside from the city center, Vieux Lyon is the true heart of the city with breathtaking views of the hills and Alps beyond the Swiss border. There are plenty of entertainment and shopping options in this neighborhood. Pickpockets do operate near most of the popular attractions so stay alert when out and about.
Located in the UNESCO World Heritage district of the city, this is one of the best neighborhoods to stay when in Lyon. Since it is right at the confluence of the Rhone and Saone Rivers, it was named Presqu’Ile which means peninsula in English. It is also considered to be the city centre of Lyon. There are wonderful shops and restaurants in this neighborhood.
The Rue de la Republique is one of the most important commercial streets in Lyon and is in La Presqu’Ile. There are great metro connections here and it is within walking distance of most attractions. The area is hopping day and night making it a fun place to stay.
Located next to the city center on the east bank of the Rhone River, the Third District is thought of as Downtown Lyon. It is one of the most populated and diverse neighborhoods in Lyon. It is also home to more modern buildings such as the Tour Incity, Tour Swiss Life, Tour Part-Dieu, and Tour Oxygène. This is the best neighborhood for business travelers heading to Lyon.
Public transportation connects the Third District with the rest of the city. Metro lines B and D will take you almost anywhere in Lyon from the 3e Arrondissement. There are plenty of budget-friendly accommodations in this neighborhood.
When in Lyon you'll want to avoid Perrache, especially at night. The area surrounding the Guillotiere metro is rather rough and dirty. If you need to ride the metro in or out of this area, take the necessary precautions. Pickpockets many times work in teams in Guillotiere. Behind Rue Ste Catherine is Place des Terreaux which is very popular for late-night drinking.
Is Lyon public transportation safe?
The Lyon public transport system is relatively safe for tourists. Lyon is a rather busy city and home to the TGV Duplex, a two-level high-speed train that connects Lyon and Paris. While the ride on the TGV Duplex can be a nail-biter, especially if you're on the upper level, it does get you to your destination quickly.
Lyon is a walkable city and as a visitor you want to avoid driving. The city’s public transportation system is the way to get from one point to another if you don't want to fight the crowded streets. Public transport in Lyon is functional and generally safe.
If you do use the metro instead of walking to your destination, make sure you purchase tickets from an authorized ticket agent or at the metro station’s kiosk. Fake metro tickets are a common scam. Automated service stations ensure you don't get taken by a scammer.
Important emergency numbers in Lyon
While it is highly unlikely that you're going to run into trouble when visiting Lyon, France it is a good idea to know important emergency phone numbers. Program them into your phone or keep them with your important documents. You'll also want to jot down the phone number of your country’s embassy as a precaution and keep it with your passport.
- European emergency number: 112
- Health emergency: 15
- Police (available 24/7): 17
Staying safe in Lyon
Lyon is home to international events such as film and music festivals that draw huge crowds each year. It is one of the most popular French cities and tourists find it charming. When you plan to visit France, Lyon should be on your list. Lyon's public transportation system is pretty easy to understand but check out How to Get Around Lyon before you arrive.
Women traveling alone will find Lyon safe and exciting, filled with interesting Roman and Medieval experiences as well as modern architecture in the newer parts of the city. Before booking accommodations in Lyon, read Where to Stay in Lyon: The Ultimate Guide.