Places to Avoid In Paris & Places to Stay
You're planning a trip to Paris and choose the safe area to stay. To avoid accidentally booking accommodations in less-recommended areas, it's essential to be aware of the districts in central Paris that may be riskier and the outer areas.
Paris, often called as the City of Love, is a fusion of history, art, and gastronomy. Whether it's the majestic Eiffel Tower, the enchanting alleys of the Latin Quarter, the bustling vibes near Gare du Nord, or the tranquil Seine riverbanks, Paris offers a unique experience at every turn. While the city's allure lies in its elegant cafés and legendary sites, visitors, particularly those new to Paris, should remain vigilant and be informed about certain neighborhoods where extra care might be beneficial.
Is Paris safe?
Turn on the evening news or glance at a newspaper, and one might believe that France is plagued with daily violence. So you assume that Paris may not be the safest city. Despite assurances from some politicians that safety concerns in Paris are diminishing, the sentiment among many locals, especially Parisians, suggests otherwise. The rising sense of insecurity has been slowly increasing over recent years. However, isn't this unease somewhat prevalent in most major capitals and their outskirts? Additionally, it's worth noting the frequent strikes in the city. It's essential to stay updated with local news to avoid being caught off-guard in the midst of a strike.
Places to Avoid in Paris:
- 10 arrondissement
- 18 arrondissement
- 19 arrondissement
The 10th district in Paris has two big train stations: Gare de l’Est and Gare du Nord. A lot of train routes begin or end here, so many travelers pass through. During the day, it's generally okay. However, nighttime can bring out some disruptive behavior, with people who may be intoxicated or involved in drugs. While it's not necessarily dangerous, it might not feel very welcoming or pleasant. Even if you need to change trains, trust me, it is not comfortable to walk around.
The 18th district of Paris is home to the famous Montmartre, a beloved spot for both tourists and locals, and historically a haven for artists. However, it's also an area with a slightly higher crime rate.
Below Montmartre lies Pigalle, a known red light district with erotic stores and adult entertainment. Although it has evolved over the years and now hosts family-friendly spots and bike lanes, visitors should still be cautious. There are tales of tourists facing hefty bills in some establishments. But this district also houses popular spots like the Moulin Rouge and Bouillon Pigalle, a restaurant offering quality meals at affordable prices.
The northern part of the 18th arrondissement can be less safe, especially near the perimeter. It's wise to be cautious, particularly for women traveling alone at night. Some subway stations, like Marx Dormoy, Porte de Clignancourt, and Porte de la Chapelle, are best avoided after dark. This region also sees the establishment of migrant camps that often get removed only to resurface soon after.
Areas like Barbès-Rochechouart and Goutte d’Or have reputations for illegal activities, including drug dealing.
Despite the challenges, the 18th arrondissement also hosts the Puces de Saint-Ouen, a world-renowned flea market. It's open during the day, which is fortunate as wandering here at night is not advised. Always stay alert and informed when exploring this vibrant yet complex part of Paris.
The 19th district, adjacent to the 18th, is a diverse area with a distinct international ambiance during the daytime. Its population is made up of people from various parts of the world, making it rich in culture and heritage.
The district boasts of beautiful parks, one of the most popular being the Buttes-Chaumont. Another highlight is Mouzaia, known for its quaint, village-like atmosphere and cobbled streets. It houses the Grand Mosque of Paris, a must-visit site. Additionally, the Rotonde de La Villette, a masterpiece by neoclassical architect Claude Ledoux, is an architectural gem that stands out in the area.
However, you shouldnt relax, as safety concerns have increased in the vicinity. While it's advisable to be alert even during the daytime, it's best to avoid the area entirely after dark. The district's parts, especially around Stalingrad and Jean-Jaurès, are notorious for higher crime rates, including robberies and drug-related activities. If you plan to visit, staying informed and vigilant is key.
Be Cautions in These Areas Too
1st arrondissement || Located at the heart of Paris's tourism, the 1st arrondissement is predominantly safe and home to the iconic Louvre Museum and the Tuileries. The area bustles with visitors, but the main challenge is evading pickpockets. During the day, the vicinity around the Centre Pompidou and Les Halles, the renowned indoor mall, is safe, boasting numerous eateries and attracting crowds. However, Saturday nights see Les Halles becoming less visitor-friendly. The vast Chatelêt-Les Halles metro station, possibly the world's largest, is a place to be cautious, especially post-sunset.
20th arrondissement || The district is a blend of quaint locales interspersed with social housing and diverse populations. Notable attractions include the Père Lachaise Cemetery and vibrant street art in Belleville. Some label it as a riskier district, but Belleville by day is bustling with unique eateries and attractions. However, caution is advised during the night, especially in isolated areas.
Parks & Remote areas || The Bois de Boulogne in the upscale 16th and the Bois de Vincennes in the 12th are delightful during the day. But, as the sun sets, these woods become frequented by sex workers, and the ambiance turns rather intense. It's best to avoid these areas at night and stick to populated zones during the day.
The Subway System || The metro, like in many major cities, should be used with caution during nighttime. Certain stations, including Château-Rouge, Gare du Nord, Strasbourg St-Denis, Réaumur Sébastopol, and Montparnasse Bienvenue, are advisable to avoid. Generally, it's a good rule of thumb to steer clear of any station prefixed with "Porte" if alone at night.
I hope you got some value from this guide to some of the less safe Paris neighborhoods. That being said, I hope that doesn’t discourage you from visiting them!
Which Places in Paris Are the Safest?
Certain neighborhoods stand out as the safest ones. The Latin Quarter, Champs Elysées, Le Marais, St Germain, and Châtelet consistently rank among the safest areas. Furthermore, residential districts such as the 14th, 15th, and 13th arrondissements provide a tranquil atmosphere and are notably secure. Always remember, no matter the area, it's essential to stay aware of your surroundings and practice general safety precautions.
Paris Safety Tips:
- Research your accommodation's safety at night through reviews.
- Opt for taxis or Ubers over public transport late in the evening, especially when solo.
- Stay vigilant and watch your belongings. Avoid showcasing valuable items.
- Always read news in order to avoid potential strike or demonstration places.
- Politely decline strangers approaching you, especially those with clipboards.
- Avoid using cellphones near metro doors to prevent snatching.
- Ensure your credit cards and purse are secure while shopping.
Is Paris a safe destination for travelers?
Absolutely, with the common concern being pickpocketing, much like in other tourist-centric cities. In the picturesque central districts of Paris and major tourist spots, visitors are generally safe. The key is to be vigilant against theft, especially of bags, phones, or wallets.
Organized pickpocketing groups especially target tourists. Despite these issues, it's essential to understand that Paris's reputation as unsafe for tourists is somewhat exaggerated. Most violent crimes don't target tourists and are usually related to disputes among local gangs or drug-related incidents. Such violence is limited to specific suburbs and certain high-risk areas. It's beneficial to be aware of these less-recommended neighborhoods when planning a visit.
Safety Tips and Precautions for Tourists in Paris
While Paris is generally safe, visitors should be cautious of specific safety concerns. Petty theft, particularly pickpocketing in crowded spots and public transit, is prevalent. Some con artists run scams near tourist attractions. Moreover, certain neighborhoods might experience sporadic violent incidents, and though terrorism events are infrequent, they've occurred. It's also wise to be cautious around the Pigalle area, known for its red-light district activities. Also, follow news about strikes, potential risk and other threats related to safety.