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How safe is Paris?

Old Feb 15th, 2002, 05:01 PM
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Like I said, be observant! I would make another recommendation to you. DO NOT wear any type of pouch around your waist and if you take a backpack and wear it do not have any valuables in it whatsoever. I use a one of those travelling pouches that hangs from your neck and is hidden inside your shirt. I keep my passport, my credit cards, and any large bills in it. I can tell you that once in Rio I cashed some travellers cheques at a jewelry store (much higher xchange rate than the offical one) and on leaving the store we just had a 'feeling' that we were being followed. Went back to the hotel for a 1/2 hour. That is what I mean by gut feel. You can sometimes 'feel' someone's eyes on you. Paris is absolutely wonderful and I am certain that you will have a grand time.
Old Feb 15th, 2002, 06:22 PM
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Watch your purse/wallet outside Notre Dame Cath. Pick pockets are there and waiting for the tourists....especially those taking photos.
Old Feb 15th, 2002, 06:43 PM
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Fritzi: Please do pay attention to the gut feeling. We've stayed in five basic areas: near the Gare d'Austerlitz, Montparnasse, Latin Quarter, St. Germain, and where you're staying, near the Pompidou Center. Your area was where I just didn't feel safe. Nothing happened, but the streets were not full and the block did not have that "integrated" feeling of restaurants, hotels, services, and shops we were used to at every other locale.

However, we ride the Metro all over Paris at all times of the day/night without incident except on Sunday mornings. For some reason, the homeless and/or drunks choose that time and day to be active and a tad offensive!

We are cautious, though. No fanny packs, my purse is over my shoulder/chest, and we are aware of our surroundings. I don't worry about showing maps--Parisians can tell an American from a mile away anyway--I just make sure I always have one.

And make sure you buy a telecarte for both you and your daughter and carry an index card with your hotel name/phone on it. It's possible to get separated (especially at Etoile) and you may wish to have a back-up plan. Telecartes are cheap, are available in any tabac, work in any payphone, and provide a great sense of "mom" security.
Old Feb 17th, 2002, 08:40 PM
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I'm off to Paris on Tuesday, and I feel well-armed with all your advice.
We've made a few changes to our plans:
-fewer nights out, and we will use a taxi (I thought my daughter would be disappointed, but it turns out that she expects to be to tired for much nightlife, anyway)
-I'll use the new bag my husband bought me only for incidentals and wear a neck pouch for the important stuff
-I'll be doubly on guard in the metro.
Paul, you've made me a little nervous because we've decided to take the RER from the airport to Les Halles. That means 2 jet-lagged women lugging baggage through what you say is the most crime-ridden spot. I think we're ready for it, though.
I just read Kavey's trip report, and now I'm raring to go!
Just found out that between my husband and a friend, we get a ride to the airport in Boston. That means $100 we'll save on parking. Woo-hoo! (Of course, I guess part of that will have to be spent on some pretty nice souvenirs for the 2 of them)
Old Feb 18th, 2002, 12:25 AM
Parisian Gal
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Pierre & BTA, you are pretending our problems here in Paris are minor compared to the U.S. That is not true. And, for your information the pickpocketing has occurred in the Metro, St Germaine and at Printemps! Why do most of your postings state anti-New York or USA negative stereotyping? But, you lie and deceive travelers telling false tales of how safe Paris is. I bet you have never even been to NYC. So, please get a life and start being honest.
Old Feb 18th, 2002, 12:38 AM
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Steer clear of the Paris Metro and be extremely cautious at all tourist attractions. Similar to Italy, Paris is full of pick-pockets. And, also be careful with your rental car, burglary is another problem in Paris.
Old Feb 18th, 2002, 08:17 AM
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Fritzi, Les Halles is known for having a higher crime rate. I go through it when I have to, of course, but not at night. The RER itself going from the airport has a high crime rate, so beware. Since there are two of you, I would think you should just take a taxi from the airport, it won't cost that much and will be well worth it after a long flight with baggage. YOu are going to be shlepping around Les Halles with baggage after a transatlantic flight and then walking blocks to your apartment? I would guess that might save you US$20-30 total (a taxi might be US$40 and the RER is something like $5-10 per person, although if you have a transportation pass that cost might not pertain).

As for taxis, just be aware that they are fairly easy to get in busy areas but you can't usually flag them down on the street. They line up at taxi stands at central points, there will be a sign that says TAXI. These are all over the place, at main squares and intersections, rail stations, main metro/RER stops, hospitals, hotels, etc. You should notice the cabs lined up and take mental note of one near where you are. There are lists of taxi stand locations online which aren't too hard to find. Here is one listing:

Unfortunately, there aren't hardly any around where you are staying, apparently, but there should be some where you are at night (there are ones near metros St-Michel and St-Germain-des-Pres, for example, and in front of Luxembourg Gardens near the gate on bd St-Michel, as I recall)
Old Feb 18th, 2002, 08:24 AM
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Hi Fritzi-I just wanted to let you know that I am an American living in the Marais near the Pompidou and that I think you will be fine-I do agree that the tourist areas can be the worst spots for petty theft-pickpocketing, etc. I lived in temporary housing in Les Halles area and it is true that it is a kind of a youth hang out-so not really all that nice to hang out in, but as an American I havefound that it is mostly irritating because I get hassled there a lot formoney and just kind of sneeredat as a tourist.

But the area you are staying is really nice-near the BHV department store and Hotel de Ville and Notre Dame....since you will be in my little neck of the woods and staying in an apartment I just wanted to give you a couple of neighborhood recommendations:

The main shopping street right around here is Rambuteau and many of the shops there are closed Monday but open the rest of the week. Oh, and most shops there are closedat mid-day from around 12:30 to 4PM and then reopen til 7PM
The best vegetables are sold (according to all my neighbors and I agree) at a little place called the Jardins de Rambuteau between rue de Temple andrue des Archives on the north side-you will recognize it because they have signs all over asking you not to touch the produce (we call them the legumes nazis-like the soup nazi in Seinfeld The better shopping street but a bout 5minutes away by foot is rue Montorgueil in the 2nd and it has wonderful bakeries, cheese shops etc. One of the true market streets in Paris

There is a good little cheap chinese/thai restaurant on rue de la Verrerie just behind the BHV store just east of rue Archives called the restaurant des Amities something like that-I am drawing on memory-cheap nice soup and noodles.

There is a place that is a pretty good bargin for French food only open for dinner I beleive called the L'Hangar-make reservations though and be forewarned it can be smokey. It is small and in a little impasse just across from the Pompidou

12 imp Berthaud 75003
01 42 74 55 44

Oh, and by the way-I take buses everywhere from here -the most interesting ones for you will probably be-the 75 west along rue de rivoli towards the Louvre, the 29 runs along Grenier St. Lazare east and goes by Montorgeuil and then on to Opera and the "grands magasin" and the 38 going south on Rue de Renard on to the Latin Quarter and Luxembourg gardens. The night buses aren't that useful as they run really late-usually only once every 1/2 hour at the maximum, and be careful because a lot of the buses have short routes on weekends and after 9PM so check signs.
Have a great trip
Old Feb 18th, 2002, 12:16 PM
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Jean--that was so nice of you to give such wonderfully useful information!
Old Feb 18th, 2002, 03:27 PM
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Thank you Paris Gal, for being truthful.
Old Feb 18th, 2002, 07:11 PM
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Just logged on for one last check before taking off tomorrow. Am I ever glad I did!
Jean, I'm sure your inside info will be invaluable. My printer's broken, but I'm writing it all down. To tell you the truth, I've been thinking about caving and just taking a taxi from the airport. I'm such a cheapskate, but the thought of lugging bags on the train sounds awful enough now. By the time I get there I don't think I'll be able to face it.
This site continues to amaze me. I feel so much better prepared than I ever am for anything!
Old Feb 18th, 2002, 07:42 PM
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Fritzi, when we are riding in the taxi from the airport to the hotel, we always have a driver who will give us a small pleasant tour --pointing out buildings,telling us names of parks,it is always a nice introduction to the city as you arrive.Have fun~
Old Feb 19th, 2002, 03:59 PM
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Old Mar 7th, 2003, 05:56 PM
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We --a family of 4--are considering the Hotel Tourville in the 7th in April. Does anyone know if the area is busy or not in the evenings, and whether it is considered relatively safe?
betha is offline  
Old Mar 7th, 2003, 06:57 PM
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Paris is not safe at all. My girlfriend and I were overpowered and muged by roving gangs of punks on New Years Eve.

On lookers in the crowds ignored the situaton and did not raise a finger to help.
crusty is offline  
Old Mar 8th, 2003, 07:44 AM
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The area around Hotel le Tourville is very safe and not too busy in the evenings.
francophile03 is offline  
Old Mar 8th, 2003, 10:26 AM
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Betha: I always stay in the neighborhood of the Hôtel de Tourville, in part because it is such a safe area of the city and I am often alone and oout at night (not just wandering around, mind you). It's a lovely area, with plenty of restaurants and cafés but also a residential district where things tend to quiet down around 10 pm or so. You should have no worries staying in that area.
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