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cali88 May 13th, 2010 02:20 PM

Is the Sacre Coeur safe ?
I had a suggestion to go to the Sacre Coeur on my first night in Paris, since I fly in 3pm.. but after reading so many reviews about scary men .. i'm not sure if I want to go anymore.. can anyone share their experiences with me...

If it is not the place for young women like myslef am I better off at going to Tour Montparnasse which seems more safer?

Or am I just just worried about nothin?

RainyDay09 May 13th, 2010 02:46 PM

Sacre coeur shouldn't be missed, IMHO. the church is spectacular and the view is amazing. There are some suspicious characters who hang out at the base of the steps, but just march confidently past them without making eye contact and they will leave you alone. You could also ride a funicular to the top and avoid the hustlers.

sallyjane3 May 13th, 2010 02:59 PM

Where is the funicular/ where are the funiculars located?

cali88 May 13th, 2010 03:11 PM

Is it safe at night as well?

michele_d May 13th, 2010 03:20 PM

Hi cali88,
When we went to Sacre Coeur last year there were a row of men three wide at the top of the steps as you approach Sacre Coeur. I didn't make eye contact, as we were getting used to seeing so many gypsies and their scams throughout Paris.

After passing through them we stood to the side to watch their scam. It involved the men approaching the women and tying a string bracelet around their wrist all the while engaging them in conversation and smiling and joking. When the man was almost finished tying the bracelet he asked the woman's husband for money. The husband handed over some money which apparently wasn't enough. The scammer became angry. Words were exchanged and more money was handed over before the man let go of the bracelet which was still attached to the woman. Needless to say the couple was not smiling and joking when they finally broke free from the scam artist.

The funicular is located on the left side of Sacre Coeur. We walked up the front steps to the church but walked down the steps next to the funicular. I wouldn't be afraid of the men, there are a lot of people around Sacre Coeur and on the walk from the metro, but just as RainyDay09 stated, march confidently past. Go in the daylight hours. Do not pause or make eye contact and you should be fine.

Don't let this deter you. There are gypsies and scammers at all the tourist spots in Paris. They involve pretending to find your ring, asking you to read something on a piece of paper, and just plain begging. We termed them, "The ring, the string and the paper thing scams". Just ignore them.

You will love Paris.

RainyDay09 May 13th, 2010 03:41 PM

check out TripAdvisor:

cali88 May 13th, 2010 03:54 PM

YEA! I saw that that's why I am so afarid and it's also my first night in Paris, so I didn't want that experience to spoil my entire week.

voyager61 May 13th, 2010 04:10 PM

If you are traveling alone and are a young woman, I would not choose Sacre Coeur for the first night. It's in a neighborhood that's different from more centrally located areas. Montmartre, near there, is a great experience, but again, not in the evening. Morning is much better. Stick with more central areas for the evening. The view is great, as is the church, but I wouldn't go in the evening on my own. If you are asking the question at all, I assume that you are worried about it, so save yourself some stress and don't make it your first night in Paris.

djkbooks May 13th, 2010 04:13 PM

I'm a woman and I've been to Sacre Coeur/Place du Tertre alone at night.

I take Bus 80, then Montmartrobus.

Take only what you need with you and make sure anything valuable is secure. Then, don't worry about it. If you're approached by anyone, just keep moving - don't stop to see what they want.

Leely2 May 13th, 2010 04:16 PM

I would consider it safe, particularly because it will be light until quite late if you are traveling now/summertime.

However, I agree with voyager's comment:
<i>If you are asking the question at all, I assume that you are worried about it, so save yourself some stress and don't make it your first night in Paris.</i>

Sensible advice.

annesherrod May 13th, 2010 04:36 PM

I was just at Sacre Coeur a few weeks ago with my daughter. We were there slightly after dusk. I did not feel leary or nervous in any way. There were still lots of tourists. We walked ALL over Montmarte after - stayed in well lit areas and felt completely safe.

As anywhere be aware of your surroundings and be alert.

paris1953 May 13th, 2010 04:49 PM

There are so many other places to go and enjoy your first evening in Paris. Why not go elsewhere and get your feet wet? I don't want you to think there are gypsies everywhere waiting to attack you, because this is not the case. Sacre Coeur would never be my first stop in Paris. It is lovely up there, but very save it for later in your visit.

Just my thoughts.

nytraveler May 13th, 2010 05:41 PM

Anyone who gets into conversations with random stragne men who are coming close enough to touch them (and put bracelets on them!) is obviously asking for trouble. People like that should be avoided - just walk right past and don;t make eye contact. If someone attempts to touch you, glare and say you'll call for the police (they will understand).

However, this is not something I would do on foot alone at night. Have done it at night with the beau - and not one approached us - but he is 6'3" and we both have obvious big city attitude (or should I say, don;t look approachable).

If you really want to go in the early evening just grab a cab to Scare Coeur.

sicilyan May 13th, 2010 06:18 PM[email protected]/?saved=1

These are the three guys that you have to avoid...the guy with the white t-shirt is the boss who will approach you...the 2 other ones is his helper...don't give them any eye contact..just say "no thank you" and just keep walking...then they will leave you alone...

StCirq May 13th, 2010 06:25 PM

I wouldn't go to Sacré Coeur my first night in Paris, but not because of safety issues - because you'll be tired and it's a fairly long haul from the city center. If you're staying in Montmartre (which I wouldn't do on a first trip to Paris anyway), then fine, but why wouldn't you want to just get to know the neighborhood you're staying in, take it easy, sit at a café, have an early dinner, and go to bed? Besides, like all churches, Sacré Coeur is best seen in bright light, and while it stays light late from now on in France, you'd best wait for daylight hours on a sunny day.

As for the touts at Sacré Coeur, a direct look in the eye and a sharp "Va t'en!" will let them know you have no use for their antics. There's no need to be scared of them, though. Your safety's not at issue.

djkbooks May 13th, 2010 06:59 PM

If it's a view over Paris you have in mind, going to the top of the Arc de Triomphe (tremendous views) would be much easier and more convenient, all depending on where you're staying.

Not all recommendations from friends, etc., are good ones.

MNsnowflake May 13th, 2010 07:59 PM

I was approached by one of the "string guys" walking up the steps to Sacre Coeur. I tried my best to ignore the guy, but he kept getting in front of me. I finally told him in a very strong loud voice "leave me alone" -- he then did, but called after me, calling me a name (rhymes with witch). That same trip, we encountered several of these "ring guys", which we also ignored. I doubt any of them would get violent, particularly with a lot of people around, but it does put a damper on your spirits. That was in 2007; strangely enough on our previous trip in 2006 we didn't have any encounters.

Like other posters, I wouldn't recommend this for your first evening in Paris. But I don't think there's any reason to be particularly scared of them - just be sure you don't let any of these scammers get too close to you, particularly if there's more than one.

kerouac May 14th, 2010 12:35 AM

Damn, after 37 years living in Paris, 19 of them living in the 18th arrondissement, I still have not seen those string guys. I am obviously doing something wrong.

cathies May 14th, 2010 12:42 AM

nytraveler, I had one of those bracelet men approach me at Sacre Couer. I do keep my wits about me and certainly didn't make eye contact. He was starting to tie the bracelet around my wrist before I even knew what was going on. He removed it pretty quickly when I hit the roof and told him off in no uncertain terms.

PatrickLondon May 14th, 2010 01:08 AM

Anywhere that attracts people is going to attract scammers, I'm afraid; around the Tour Montparnasse may be no exception (since it's close to a main railway station).

I thought of suggesting you might like to go and see the Eiffel Tower light up, but the obvious places to view that (from directly underneath or at the Trocadéro) will also have people selling souvenirs and might have the odd scammer around. Another option might be to take advantage of the late opening at the Arc de Triomphe (if you can stand the stair-climbing - but that could be a way to tire you out completely and help get over any jetlag), to see the Eiffel Tower from the top; but there might be scammers in the subways from the metro station.

On the other hand, even crooks need their dinners, and may have clocked off by the evening.

But I agree with St Cirq - get to know the area around where you're staying, and do some people-watching from a café where you feel comfortable. Whereabouts are you staying, by the way - that might give us some ideas.

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