Can I legally sleep in the street in France?

Assume my location does not perturb traffic circulation, i.e. I am on the pavement, or the road is only used by pedestrians.

  • Should people also assume that you're an EU citizen, don't need a visa to be in Europe?
    – ChrisW
    Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 1:24
  • @ChrisW yes~~~~ Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 1:33
  • Pedestrian traffic is still straffic, so "only used by pedestrians" may not account for anything.
    – breversa
    Commented Feb 21, 2020 at 10:49

2 Answers 2


If you sleep on the streets, you are considered a "SDF" (Sans Domicile Fixe), a tramp. Legality depends on where you sleep, and in which city.

It's not illegal to be a SDF (under some conditions), but until the early 1990s it was illegal to be a beggar (mendiant/mendicité -- this reference, Mendicité, is about begging)

For instance, sleeping in a car can be legal, except if you are located in a prohibited place where you could have a fine.

Some cities have voted anti-SDF acts.

See for instance (in French): Dormir dans sa voiture, est-ce légal? and Les précédents dispositifs anti-SDF qui ont fait polémique en France



There's a phone number (115) which you're meant to call if you're homeless (or "sans abris", literally "without shelter").

There are shelters organized by municipalities. It's best to call this number during the day-time. If they can't sort you a shelter you might at least get a visit in the street by a social worker or the Red Cross.

See for example Comment aider une personne sans-abri ? (in French) and SAMU Social (in English).

  • 3
    Sans abri (without "s") ^^. Sadly, social hotels are now full almost everywhere because of the arrival of refugees.
    – Quidam
    Commented Dec 28, 2016 at 14:55

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