Am I in an unsafe Parisian neighborhood?

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May 19th, 2013, 09:23 AM
  #1
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Am I in an unsafe Parisian neighborhood?

We have rented an apartment on Rue du Cygne in the First. Our nearest metro stop is Etienne Marcel. I read this in Formmer's guide:

"In general, Paris is a safe city and it is safe to use the Metro late at night. However, certain Metro stations (and the areas around them) are best avoided at night: Chatelet-Les-Halles ..."

This seems to be in our back yard!.

I am especially concerned because we will be returning from Normandy to Gare St Lazare at night and needing to get back to the apartment. Would we be going to Chatelet-Les-Halles at that time?
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May 19th, 2013, 09:38 AM
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As there's a "we" I wouldn't worry. But if you will worry you can avoid Chatelet and get off at a stop slightly farther from your hotel than the closest. For instance, take line 3 from St. Lazare and get off at Sentier or another if it's not the closest otherwise. Study your Metro map, there's almost always more than 1 route to your destination.
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May 19th, 2013, 09:40 AM
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Or take a bus.
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May 19th, 2013, 10:06 AM
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You can also take line 3 and switch at Reaumur, go one stop to Etienne Marcel but getting off at Sentier makes more sense and will be quicker.

I hate the huge metro stations where you walk for miles (it seems) although I have a great memory of Chatelet once when a harpist was playing. I walked through several tunnels during my transfer, never saw the harpist but heard the music throughout the station. It was wonderful.

You could also take a taxi. Gare St-Lazarre is not far and you could even walk.

You state that you're returning at night but that could mean anything. I consider night to begin about 8:00 which is early for a city. There will be plenty of people around.

If you're returning after midnight I would definitely take a taxi.
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May 19th, 2013, 10:09 AM
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Your post took me aback; we are staying near Etienne Marcel and Rue du Cygne (Rue Pierre Lescot) next month. I googled the question and came up with the following Fodor's thread! http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...s-218777-2.cfm

That being said (or written) Rue du Cygne is not right next to Chatelet... so hopefully Etienne Marcel will be adequate.
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May 19th, 2013, 10:19 AM
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Oh brother, I just googled again and see that the apartment we've rented is smack dab in the center. Does anyone have more information on this neighborhood?
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May 19th, 2013, 10:21 AM
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If you are really concerned, just get in a taxi at the official taxi rank outside the station. Follow the "Taxis" sign.


If you take the metro and change lines at Chatelet, it is brightly lighted and there will be other people around.
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May 19th, 2013, 10:30 AM
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Please everyone, relax. That is an excellent location and not at all unsafe. The guidebooks you're reading are out of date. I'm in that area just about every day and it is loaded with locals and tourists alike. It has the most pedestrian traffic of any part of Paris and is about as centrally located as you can. Plus, there's loads of restaurants, cafés, shops etc. and you're right around the corner from the excellent market street rue Montorgueil, which is quite hip and trendy.

The reputation of Châtelet-les-Halles as unsafe is outdated. The huge park in the center is undergoing a several years long renovation. The entire park is fenced off and closed down as it is a construction zone. One of the reasons for redoing the park was to improve safety. Before, the park was poorly lit and had lots of dark shady places and it attracted an unsavory element, though not a dangerous one. With the closing of the park these folks have been deprived of a place to hang out and the unsavory folks have gone elsewhere. There are some sex shops along rue Saint-Denis but this presents no safety issue. Please don't let the outdated horror stories of this area scare you off. It is a fantastic location.
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May 19th, 2013, 10:33 AM
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Thank YOU!!
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May 19th, 2013, 10:33 AM
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Not to mention you're not too far from E. Dehillerin!
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May 19th, 2013, 11:05 AM
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OMG, the questions that people ask!
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May 19th, 2013, 11:09 AM
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kerouac... well that's what we're all here for, isn't it? To ask and answer questions. No need to get snarky.
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May 19th, 2013, 11:45 AM
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^^well that's what we're all here for, isn't it? To ask and answer questions. ^^

No, that is not why the majority of regular people are here. But it is nice that you behave otherwise.
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May 19th, 2013, 12:50 PM
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For the record the quote was from the 2013 Frommers Paris. Thanks for your replies; there will be 3 adults and I believe we will be at Gare SL at about 8-9pm. Probably will take the taxi route, but I feel better reading your responses.

Kerouac: with all respect, I enjoy your posts and have "traveled" with your photo reports frequently. Try to imagine, if you will, folks older than middle age, on our first completely solo trip to a foreign country where we don't speak the language, and reading that in a prominent travel guide. "OMG, the questions people ask!" If you or your parents asked me safety questions about my hometown, I would do my very best to answer.
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May 19th, 2013, 12:57 PM
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My reaction is because people still believe the totally irresponsible and inaccurate crap that is published in those guidebooks.

Châtelet-Les Halles is the #1 urban transportation hub in the entire European continent and the area is the #1 restaurant and entertainment district for Parisians. I am appalled at what makes you ask the question rather than by the question itself. It's like a guidebook saying "don't set foot in Times Square or Picadilly Circus."
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May 19th, 2013, 01:01 PM
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It's partly to blame, I think, on the Frommer's guide then. Their guides were being printed long after Wiley's, the publisher, lost interest and likely while negotiating with Google for the sale of the Frommer's brand. The rest of the story is that the Frommer's family has bought back the guidebook business and website from Google and is now undertaking the huge task of putting it all back together. I think we can expect better from Frommer's in future.
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May 19th, 2013, 01:10 PM
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OK, then, entirely to blame.
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May 19th, 2013, 01:34 PM
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If that is from a 2013 guidebook it shows that their info has not been updated. The park was closed and construction began there at least a year ago (can't remember for sure). It was an instant transformation of the area as the creepy people that used to hang out there literally disappeared overnight.
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May 19th, 2013, 01:34 PM
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well,just saying this is nonsense doesn't really refute the point that the crime rate at certain stations is higher than others. They mentioned the metro station itself, and it is actually a fact that some metro stations have higher crime rates than others. I have seen the official Paris statistics on this, by metro station, and while it would be nice if every place in Paris were just wonderful with no crime, it isn't true. I do remember Gare du Nord had one of the highest crime rates, and Chatelet-les Halles wouldn't surprise me, either. So I personally don't think that guidebook quote is probably totally crazy. In fact, if it is the no. 1 transport hub, that is exactly the problem. Busy transport hubs often have higher crime rates.

I don't understand how anyone could be "appalled" at someone asking such a normal question about areas of a city. For instance, that recent story about the crime in and around the Louvre so that the workers even went on strike wasn't. Paris has also installed thousands of cameras in public areas due to the increasing crime rate, they didn't do that for no reason. But the police has increased the forces in the gares in last decade, so that helps.

Here is one article showing the crime statistics by metro station from 2011, the best I could find easily, and it clearly shows that Chatelet-Les Halles has the highest crime rate of both simple theft and theft with violence http://www.lefigaro.fr/actualite-fra...angereuses.php
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May 19th, 2013, 01:41 PM
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Just because something is in a guide book doesn't make it true. Who knows when the people who contribute to the Paris book last went to Paris or last used the Chatelet metro station. Guide books are not completely reviewed every year. And you need to consider the liability of guide book publishers. Better to be more conservative (alarmist) than too liberal and have someone sue them because they were pick pocketed at Chatelet (this is about the unsafe extent you'll find in Paris).

Frommer's didn't actually say that Chatelet is unsafe; just best to avoid at night (not specifying a time of night).

I remember an article written by Pauline Frommer extolling the virtues of Chartier's (restaurant) cooking and I ate there based on her recommendation. The food was ghastly!

After a day of sightseeing and a long train ride I'd opt for a taxi, especially for three people - makes it economical.
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