I’ve been living in France for more than six years. During that time, I’ve traveled all over the country and one of my favorite cities is Lyon.
I loved wandering through the traboules, watching the sunrise over Vieux Lyon, and, of course, dining at the bouchons. There’s so much to see and do here that I’ve been to Lyon several times. That’s how much I love it.
But, as with any big city, the question of safety always comes to mind.
So, is Lyon safe?
Below I’ll share everything you need to know about staying safe in Lyon. From general travel tips to specific safety measures you should take while visiting, this guide has you covered.
Is Lyon Safe?
To answer your question – Yes, Lyon is safe!
I’ve walked around at night and early in the morning, visited crowded attractions, and used public transportation, and I never felt unsafe.
At least, not any more than I would in any other big city.
Since Lyon is the third largest city in France, I was expecting it to be like Paris – full of pickpockets and scams.
But to my surprise, I quickly discovered that Lyon has its own unique charm and atmosphere.
It’s a calmer, quieter version of Paris with fewer tourist crowds and more locals going about their daily lives.
That being said, it’s still important to take the necessary safety precautions while you’re in Lyon.
According to Numbeo, Lyon’s crime index is moderate at 55 out of 100, with 100 being the most dangerous.
It has its share of petty crime such as pickpocketing, especially in crowded tourist areas and on public transportation. But violent crime is very rare.
Needless to say, I didn’t have any problems while I was in Lyon.
Safety Tips for Lyon
Now, let’s dive into some specific safety measures you can take to ensure a worry-free trip to Lyon.
1. Getting Around Lyon Safely
Whether you’re using public transport or walking, getting around Lyon is, for the most part, safe.
It has an extensive network of buses, trams, and a four-line metro system.
When I was in Lyon, I used the metro system the most.
I familiarized myself with the lines beforehand, so I didn’t look like a tourist trying to find my way around.
I noted the larger metro stops, like Lyon Part Dieu, which are prone to pickpockets, and paid extra attention when I passed through them.
Then, when I was in the metro, I kept my phone in my pocket and my backpack in front of me. I also avoided flashing anything expensive.
I started using these precautions when I lived in Paris, and they proved to be as effective in Lyon.
I also enjoyed exploring the city on foot. It’s not as walkable as some other cities like Strasbourg.
There are a lot of rolling streets, steep stairs, and narrow sidewalks.
But there were so many Instagram-worthy spots that it was worth the extra effort.
I walked all over the city, from the Fourvière Basilica to the Cour des Voraces, and only encountered one problem.
I was out exploring Vieux Lyon and a homeless man wanted to ‘hold my camera and take a photo of me.’ He was very persistent, but after a very stern response, he backed off.
2. Watch Out for Pickpockets
The main form of crime in Lyon is petty theft.
Here are some simple tips to follow:
✓ Be aware of your surroundings, especially in busy tourist areas. The busiest areas in Lyon are Vieux Lyon, Place des Terreaux, Place de la République, and Place Bellecour.
✓ Avoid carrying large amounts of cash or displaying expensive jewelry. I keep my cash in two or three places when I travel. And I only take the amount I need for the day.
✓ Keep your bags zipped and close to you at all times. My main travel backpack is a rolltop so nobody can break into it without me noticing. If I have my regular backpack, I put it in front of me or under my arm.
✓ Carry extra copies of your travel documents. I keep a copy of my passport, visa, itinerary, and bank account information on the cloud and carry a hard copy with me when I travel.
✓ Take a photo of every valuable item, like your computer and phone. I also keep a copy of the receipt on the cloud. You never know when you’ll have to make an insurance claim.
3. Look Out for Cars
Locals in Lyon drive fast. Add to that narrow winding streets and you’re at risk for a car accident.
Every time I crossed the street, I triple-checked to be sure no cars were coming, even when I had a green light. And I only crossed at designated crosswalks.
Also, be aware of trams and buses. They have the right of way on streets in Lyon and they move fast.
Take your time when crossing the streets and be aware of your surroundings.
4. Be Careful of Steep Streets
Lyon is known for its steep streets and staircases. While they might make for great photo opportunities, they can also be dangerous.
Be sure to wear appropriate shoes with a good grip when walking around the city. And take your time when going up or down, especially if it’s raining.
One evening I was walking down Escalier Mermet and nearly slipped because one part was so steep. I was visiting on a day trip from Paris and should have used public transport.
Helpful Tip: There are two funiculars in Lyon. If the weather is bad or you’re tired, I recommend using them instead of trying to navigate steep, slippery streets.
5. Avoid Certain Areas After Dark
Like any city, certain areas in Lyon can be more dangerous at night.
Here is a list of the areas you should avoid:
- Guillotiere (especially the area around Gare Part Dieu)
- Place des Terreaux
- Perrache (especially the area around the train station)
The main problems in these parts of Lyon are panhandlers, pickpockets, and partygoers.
If you find yourself in any of these neighborhoods at night, stay vigilant of your surroundings.
Safest Areas to Stay in Lyon
If you’re planning a trip to Lyon, here are the safest areas to book your stay:
✓ Fourvière – This area is located on a hill and has beautiful views of the city. It’s also home to the Fourvière Basilica and ancient Roman ruins.
✓ Croix-Rousse – Known for its bohemian atmosphere, this area has a lower crime rate compared to other parts of Lyon. It’s also home to one of the most infamous secret passages in town.
✓ Vieux Lyon – The Old Town of Lyon is charming and safe for tourists. It’s also close to many popular attractions such as Saint-Jean-Baptiste Cathedral and Musée Cinéma et Miniature.
✓ Cité Internationale – This modern area is known for its upscale restaurants and shopping. It’s also located near Parc de la Tête d’Or, the largest park in Lyon.
Important Emergency Information
I always keep a copy of the local emergency services on my phone and in my wallet.
Here are the emergency numbers you’ll need to know in Lyon:
✓ European emergency number: 112
✓ Ambulance service: 15
✓ Fire service: 18
✓ Police: 17
✓ Police stations in Lyon: +33 (0)4 37 26 25 40 or +33 (0)4 72 82 15 00
✓ Gendarme station: +33 (0)4 78 92 77 01
The nearest US Embassy is in Paris and the phone number is +33 (0)1 43 12 22 22.
Then, if you have any concerns before traveling or while you’re in France, the US Government Travel Advisory is updated regularly.
FAQs about Safety in Lyon
Is Lyon safe to travel alone?
Yes, Lyon is safe to travel alone. The city is well-lit and populated, even at night. But it’s important to always check your surroundings. If you feel insecure, trust your gut, and move to a safe place.
Is Lyon tourist friendly?
Lyon is very tourist friendly. There’s a wealth of information available for tourists, including maps and city guides in several languages. And many of the key attractions are well-signposted.
Is it safe to walk in Lyon at night?
Yes, Lyon is safe to walk at night. The streets are well-lit, and there are almost always people around. But, as with any major city, stick to well-traveled areas, avoid isolated spots, and always be aware of your surroundings.
Is Lyon safe for solo female travelers?
Yes, Lyon is safe for solo female travelers. Both day and night, the city maintains a friendly and secure atmosphere. I traveled as a solo female to Lyon several times and never felt in any danger.
What is the safest part of Lyon?
The safest part of Lyon is the 6th arrondissement. This district hosts a range of high-end shops and the Parc de la Tête d’Or. The area is generally quiet, especially at night.
Is it safe to visit Lyon now?
Yes, it’s safe to visit Lyon now. There are no travel advisories issued by the United States government for Lyon. But you should always follow general safety precautions while traveling. That includes being aware of your surroundings and avoiding unsafe areas.
Conclusion: Is Lyon Safe?
Lyon is a safe city for tourists and residents alike. It’s well-equipped with public transportation and resources, making it easy to navigate and explore.
While there are some precautions you should take, Lyon maintains a relatively low crime rate.
Now that you know Lyon is safe to visit, it’s time to start planning your trip.
Why not start with booking your tickets using some of the same websites I use to travel in France?
Read More Articles About France
I hope you enjoyed my post and found it helpful. Here are some other articles that I think you might find interesting.
- The Ultimate 10-Day Eastern France Itinerary
- Is Dijon Worth Visiting? 15 Reasons Why You Should!
- One Day in Dijon – The Perfect Itinerary