Paris...any area to avoid?

Jan 11th, 2011, 02:34 PM
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Paris...any area to avoid?

Just as the title suggests, are there any areas (arrondissements) in Paris that you absolutely do NOT want to stay in for whatever reason? Maybe safety concerns or not near anything worth experiencing? If it matters, there will be (3) women travelling together and will be using exclusively public transportation to get around.

Thanks for your input....
k2rider is offline  
Jan 11th, 2011, 02:41 PM
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Other than the Châtelet métro stop late at night, there's nowhere I've ever been in Paris where I didn't feel safe - and I'm often traveling alone.
StCirq is online now  
Jan 11th, 2011, 02:43 PM
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In the city proper, it's probably wise not to stay in the area right around Pigalle, which is the red-light district. My understanding is that pretty much all the other "questionable areas of town" in Paris are located in suburban areas where tourists don't normally go.

Avoiding the Bois de Boulogne (a large park at the eastern edge of the city) at night is from all reports also wise.

Paris does have a good Metro system, so even if you're in a part of the city not near attractions, you can get there easily enough.

But that leaves a whole lot of city to explore. Enjoy.
bachslunch is offline  
Jan 11th, 2011, 02:47 PM
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I don't care for the area around
Père Lachaise Cemetery
danon is online now  
Jan 11th, 2011, 02:50 PM
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Sorry, Bois de Boulogne is at the western edge of the city. My mistake.
bachslunch is offline  
Jan 11th, 2011, 03:33 PM
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A pal of mine was mugged at an ATM in a touristy area of Paris (sorry don't know where exactly but she was on an expensive tour) and I was shocked to hear about it.

DH and I felt a little nervous around St. Denis but I'm not certain why. He and I rarely went down dark deserted streets anywhere unless we "knew" it but Paris in general never had a problem.

At ATMs and after dark anywhere, be reasonably alert I'd say. I too have read about Bois de Bologne being unsafe at night.
TDudette is online now  
Jan 11th, 2011, 10:33 PM
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The Bois de Boulogne is only unsafe in terms of picking up STD's.

Most muggings in Paris occur in the center of Paris, particularly the tourist areas, and the same obviously goes for pickpocketing. Mugging is also a problem in the very ritzy and very deserted 16th arrondissement. I generally relax when I return to my poor and ugly part of town where the streets are full of ordinary workers and immigrants, just trying to eke out an honest living, and the streets are never deserted.

In other words, there are no parts of Paris that need to be avoided for security reasons. Only normal urban precautions are necessary anywhere. However, since all of our governments have taught us to fear and distrust immigrants and poor people, most people feel more comfortable in the center of the city, including Châtelet where one only needs to detour around the drug dealers catering to affluent teenagers to avoid trouble.
kerouac is online now  
Jan 12th, 2011, 02:32 AM
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Right on, Kerouac.
avalon is offline  
Jan 12th, 2011, 07:51 AM
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Kerouac is so right. The only time I've felt uncomfortable was when a drunk nearly knocked me over as I was trying to enter the grocery store on Rue De Buci.

I know lots of people love the 6th but it is not for me. Too noisy, too crowded, too many cars belching exhaust. Staying there was one of my least enjoyable Paris visits.

I do like the 5th and we stay there often. My favorite area to stay (so far) is in the 2nd, off of Rue Montorguiel. There are some rowdy teens hanging out near the Les Halles metro at night. They tend to be bothering one another and ignored us.

For our next visit we are going to be in Saint-Mande. I'm looking forward to seeing a new and differnt area.
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Jan 12th, 2011, 09:19 AM
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I wish I had known about Chatelet Les Halles.
We had arrived late in Paris and were heading for a restaurant- Chez Denise.We got off the metro at Chatelet and as we got up to the main level saw about 20 police officers gathered together. It was quickly clear that this was because the place itself was drawing people likely to cause problems. There were many large gangs of big youths there who would cut across your path separating people. The worst part was that we just couldn't find the way out. We made our way to the exit which we needed only to find it was closed by a big metal shutter. By now there were two or three lads behind us who knew (as we didn't) that to go ahead lead to an underground carpark.
The big police presence didn't really reassure you because any threat or assault would only have taken a moment.
In the restaurant I asked a French man sitting by me if it had a bad reputation and he was a little taken aback that we had been there at night.
Frances is offline  
Jan 12th, 2011, 09:57 AM
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There are many places in Paris I would not want to stay on vacation, but not for security reasons. Because I don't like them or they are inconvenient -- or possibly just because I don't go that often and like a particular place I usually stay so want to enjoy it again, that's all. There are some areas I just don't like, also, or that are too crowded/touristy or too expensive for me.

I wouldn't ever stay on the edge of Paris, for example, but it's not because of safety reasons. There are some areas in particular that don't have the greatest transportation options, either, so I wouldn't stay in them for that reason (ie, bottom of the 15th you can be very far from a metro station, there are other areas like that). There is nothing down there I find that enticing that I'd stay there anyway, though. I don't like the Marais or St Germain because they are too crowded and expensive. I don't like areas that are mainly business, not residential.

anyway, I could go on but safety isn't a concern when I choose where to stay.
Christina is online now  
Jan 12th, 2011, 10:16 AM
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I know plenty of Parisians who are terrified of Les Halles as well. Yet it is the absolute center of nightlife in Paris, and I have been going there (even at night) for more than 30 years. The UGC CinéCité multiplex there is the #1 cinema complex in France in terms of attendance, and the area has the greatest concentration of restaurants in Paris. The Forum des Halles shopping mall has the highest sales in France and perhaps Europe. But yes, I guess you can prefer to be afraid of it and avoid it at all costs.

At night, it's kind of like Times Square in NYC or Leicester Square in London, other places of huge urban terror.
kerouac is online now  
Jan 12th, 2011, 11:19 AM
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kerouac, I agree completely with your first post (and most of your second one). The 16th is always a little too deserted to make me feel at ease, likewise the Champs Elysees late at night makes me uncomfortable. Besides, there's not much interesting there in terms of neighborhood restaurants and cafes...

But kerouac, Times Square in NYC is no longer a "place of huge urban terror" - except the terror that is too many tourists at all times of day or night!!
ggreen is offline  
Jan 12th, 2011, 12:26 PM
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That's exactly what I was trying to imply. Les Halles is a totally ordinary tourist (and Parisian) zone with a few creepy people (just like Times Square).
kerouac is online now  
Jan 12th, 2011, 12:31 PM
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Ah - by urban terror, I wasn't sure if you were referring to reputation-vs-reality (which IMO is true for Les Halles, and true for Times Square and its old reputation)!
ggreen is offline  
Jan 12th, 2011, 02:29 PM
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That's all great to hear. For whatever reason, most of the places in the budget ($200 US per night) that my daughter has found appear to be in the 8th. Not sure whats there or if she didn't look hard enough in other areas, that's just the info she passed on to me.

Thanks for all your input.
k2rider is offline  
Jan 12th, 2011, 03:22 PM
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Is that $200 for a triple?

I'll agree with above statements, Within central Paris, I would base my stay a few factors: price, easy access to a "good" Metro line, and how long wopuld it take to reach the sites I want to see. A first time visitor would more than likely want to stay in the lower arrondissements, since they are located closer to the Seine and the main sights. On a second and subsequent trip, the surroundings of the stay might be more important (eat locally, nice restaurants in area, less tourists,etc...)

My last trip I stayed in the 16th, and trip before that my sister had an appartment there. It's not bad, yes, bit more deserted at night, with access to central sites bit longer that what I optimally wanted. Bois de Boulogne...not a place to wander or drive through at night, if you are not a fan of nocturnal wildlife.

I remember one trip walking from Pigalle to Jardin des Plnates, from ~midnight to 3 am. I'd almost say it was pleasant.
Michel_Paris is offline  
Jan 12th, 2011, 03:46 PM
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do you really mean the Chatelet metro stop or the RER chatelet les halles one?

last weekend we stayed right by the Chatelet metro stop in the hotel Brittannique and there were no problems at all. i felt perfectly safe in that neighbourhood.
annhig is online now  
Jan 12th, 2011, 05:52 PM
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I wouldn't stay in Montemartre - it is too far from most of what you will want to see. There are other areas of Paris that are perfectly safe and reasonable but just too far out of the way. I would stay in one of the arrondisements on the Seine, especially 1-8.
mamcalice is offline  
Jan 12th, 2011, 06:01 PM
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The kids I saw were gathered in the area between the entrance to the shopping center and the entrance to the Metro. This is at the south end of Rue Montorguiel/ Rue Montmartre. near St Eustace Church.
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