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Planning a trip to Parisor considering settling here for a medium to long term?
Like many tourists or newcomers, your first instinct will probably be to find out about the different districts of the capital, and especially which ones to be cautious about. Paris hasn’t been getting very good press lately, but let me reassure you right now, it’s really not as bad as some might portray it, and you can go there without worry. As a true Parisian of 30 years, I can vouch for that!
Of course, just like any big city, there are a few hot districts you might want to avoid. To help you navigate, I’ve put together this post listing the most dangerous areas in Paris to avoid (remember it’s not an absolute truth though).
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Quick List of the Paris Areas to Avoid
- Paris Dangerous Areas Map
- Tips to Stay Safe in Paris
- FAQ About Paris Safety
- Final Thoughts on the Dangerous Areas of Paris
Quick List of the Paris Areas to Avoid
If you don’t have time to waste, simply copy/paste this list into your notes to make sure you don’t stop by these places when in the City of Lights.
Just a heads up, this list isn’t classified in order of danger. Also, this list is of course based on my own experience as a local, on my family and friends’ experiences, but also on stats and French media info.
- Gare du Nord
- Gare de l’Est – Strasbourg Saint-Denis
- Boulevard de Clichy (Pigalle)
- Porte de Clignacourt
- Porte de la Chapelle
- Bois de Boulogne
Keep scrolling to get more details about each of these dangerous parts of Paris and get some tips to stay safe. 👇
Best place to stay in Paris: Hôtel Des Batignolles
Stalingrad is spread between the 10th and 19th arrondissements of Paris, in the north of the city. One of its charming attractions is the Rotonde de la Villette, which architecture definitely deserves a look.
But sadly, this district is infamously nicknamed “Stalincrack” by the locals. Indeed, Stalingrad is a drug hub and drug addicts congregate here particularly at night, mainly on Rue de Flandre and Pont Stalingrad. It’s definitely dangerous and one of the most unsafe areas of Paris.
Although there’s not much going on by day, it’s a neighborhood I wouldn’t recommend whatever the time of the day. There’s not much to do and encounters here can be unpleasant at any time of the day.
2. Gare du Nord
Gare du Nord is one of the biggest and busiest train stations in Paris, with connections to various European cities. In fact, it’s Europe’s busiest train station! This is where you can take the train under the English Channel to London, the Eurostar, for example.
So, chances are you might arrive or depart from Paris via Gare du Nord. If that’s the case, I’d advise you not to linger there for too long, especially if you’re there at night.
The area nearby the station has a lot of poverty, and unfortunately, pickpockets in search of prey are plentiful as the place is constantly bustling with travelers. So, it’s crucial to be extra cautious with your belongings and stay aware of your surroundings.
3. Gare de l’Est – Strasbourg Saint-Denis
Gare de l’Est in the 10th arrondissement is another major Parisian station and is the departure point for travelers to the east of the country and Europe. Just like Gare du Nord, it’s super busy and bustling with people.
The station forecourt and surrounding area are not dangerous and are very lively both day and night. In fact, there are quite a few hotels opposite the station, which is quite convenient. That said, you should always be vigilant in the vicinity of stations, as they are favorite haunts of pickpockets.
A few blocks from the station, you’ll find yourself in the heart of the Strasbourg Saint-Denis district. It’s a very lively area, with lots of cool bars and restaurants, and a very pretty arch. But some parts of this district are much less pleasant, especially in the evening. There are a lot of drunken homeless people, prostitutes, and others, so you may feel unsafe.
Boulevard de Barbès and the Goutte d’Or district lie between Montmartre and Stalingrad in the 18th arrondissement, infamous for being particularly insecure. It’s considered of the top worst neighborhoods in Paris along with Château-Rouge and Château d’Eau (adjacent streets), even for the French people.
With a highly diverse population, the area suffers from delinquency, burglaries, scams, and drug and cigarette trafficking. The police are very present and security has been stepped up in recent years, but the area remains sensitive and is best avoided.
It’s actually too bad, really, because the place has some unique shops and delicious bakeries and restaurants serving dishes from the Maghreb region and all over the world. But anyway, I wouldn’t recommend this neighborhood to a tourist, especially if it’s a first trip to Paris.
5. Boulevard de Clichy (Pigalle)
Pigalle and its famous boulevard de Clichy have a long-standing reputation as a sulfurous district, as historically it was the prime location for brothels and hoodlums.
But today, Pigalle has become a hot spot for tourists, thanks to the iconic Moulin Rouge, loads of sex shops, and the stunning Sacré-Coeur Basilica as a backdrop. It’s also a great place to party and indulge in delicious traditional French food at Bouillon Pigalle for less than 10€.
However, some of the side streets can be badly crowded, so keep your eyes peeled and stick to the main roads. The sex shops also attract not-so-friendly people, so just be aware. Of course, this mythical spot is a must for any stay in Paris, but only during the daytime.
6. Porte de Clignacourt
Porte de Clignancourt is located on the northern outskirts of Paris, next to the suburb town of Saint-Ouen in the 18th arrondissement. There are several places named “Porte de” in Paris; these serve as gates providing direct car access to the city center from the “Périphérique,” the ring road that encircles France‘s capital city.
The district is home to the oldest flea (and counterfeit) market, an institution for those who love to bargain. But apart from that, there isn’t much else to see or do here, so it’s unlikely you’ll find yourself there.
However, it’s best to steer clear of Porte de Clignancourt, as it’s a densely populated and fairly poor neighborhood, and at dusk, you may come across drug dealers and prostitutes near the metro exits.
7. Porte de la Chapelle
It’s another gate of Paris in the 18th arrondissement, and seriously, the worst Paris ghetto for me. I used to work in the area and come here on a daily basis, so I really know what I’m talking about.
Located not far from Barbès and La Goutte d’Or, this tiny place is the scene of all kinds of trafficking. Cigarette or contraband sellers and other illegal businesses, crack dealers and, above all, drug addicts who inject themselves in full view of everyone from morning to night. The neighborhood is also marked by extreme poverty with lots of illegal migrant camps.
The police are actively patrolling the area, and although I’ve seen a lot in this neighborhood, nothing has ever happened to me, fortunately. But it’s clearly one of the areas to avoid in Paris at all costs.
8. Bois de Boulogne
Stretching over 800 hectares, the Bois de Boulogne, situated to the west of Paris, holds a fascinating history as a former hunting ground for the French kings. Today, it stands as one of the most accessible green spaces in the entire Paris region, even larger than New York’s Central Park.
Tourists love it, but especially locals. It’s a favorite place for Parisians to run, leisurely stroll, or picnic on weekends. With its two beautiful lakes and the fun-filled Jardin d’Acclimatation theme park, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
However, as night falls, the park becomes a haven for prostitutes and takes on a totally different atmosphere. Some 200 sex workers are based here, and gangs take advantage of their presence to commit robberies and extort money from passers-by. So, make sure to leave before it gets dark to stay safe.
Paris Dangerous Areas Map
Here’s a map to help you visualize the areas of Paris to avoid listed in this post. Simply click on the image below to open it in Google Maps. Then click on the “star” icon to save it to your own maps.
Tips to Stay Safe in Paris
Paris is a wonderful city, and taking a stroll through its streets and iconic landmarks is truly a delightful experience to do once in a lifetime. However, if you don’t want to spoil this pleasure, it’s best to follow these 10 safety tips to make your Paris trip memorable:
- Travel light: don’t carry around too much cash (avoid having more than 50€), as you can pay almost anywhere by credit card. Leave your precious jewelry and any remaining cash in your hotel safe.
- Get a travel belt: these belts aren’t expensive and make your personal belongings inaccessible to pickpockets, while keeping them close at hand. Truly a game-changer! (here’s my favorite one)
- Don’t take out credit cards or cash in plain sight. Malicious people could follow you later.
- Make copies of your IDs: if you’re ever robbed, they’ll be invaluable.
- Always keep an eye on your luggage, especially on public transport where thieves are rife. If you have a backpack, carry it on the front.
- Be extra cautious in the metro, which is often overcrowded and where it’s easy to pick pockets unnoticed.
- Ignore unusual approaches: don’t sign petitions or play games in the street with strangers, as these are techniques to distract you from your personal belongings. Basically, walk straight ahead without looking back.
- Plan your itinerary in advance, especially if you’ll be back late. By doing this, you’ll steer clear of any bad neighborhoods in Paris and prevent yourself from getting lost or spending time outside trying to figure out your route on your phone.
- Avoid walking alone at night or in isolated, poorly-lit areas.
- Get insurance: travel insurance is the best way to make sure you’re covered in case anything goes wrong. I recommend Heymondo insurance, one of the best in the market for travel.
Place des Vosges in the 4th arrondissement
FAQ About Paris Safety
If you have questions such as how dangerous is Paris or where not to stay in Paris, here are the answers. Of course, if you have more questions to ask, feel free to leave a comment further down.
Is Paris dangerous for tourists?
The city of Paris has been ranked 23rd among the world’s safest cities in The Economist’s latest study for 2021. So, on a global scale, Paris is a fairly safe city.
However, it’s true that tourists are unfortunately the pickpockets’ favorite target, for a number of reasons. Tourists are easily recognizable, they are perceived to carry more cash, and as foreigners in a foreign land, they often don’t have the right reflexes to seek help,making them vulnerable. Hence the many negative testimonials you may have heard or read on the internet. But if you’re careful and follow the tips listed above, you should be fine. Paris is no more dangerous than any other major capital.
Regarding recent demonstrations and riots, they hardly touched Paris at all and lasted less than a week. The protests were mainly in the suburbs and didn’t disrupt or affect tourists in any significant manner. So, if this was your only concern, well book your trip to Paris now!
Is Paris dangerous at night?
It really depends on the neighborhood. Some are very peaceful, like the Champs-Elysées or the Marais, for example. On the other hand, insecurity increases at night in other neighborhoods that are calm during the day, such as Châtelet-Les-Halles.
As a woman living in Paris, I think Paris is not very safe at night, especially after 9 pm. Personally, I always avoid walking alone at night, and I always avoid small, isolated, or poorly lit streets, even if it means taking a longer route.
When it comes to the metro, I always avoid the cars at the ends of the train and prefer to ride in the middle where there are more people. And on the bus, I make sure to sit near the front, close to the driver.
Well, all this is common behavior for most Parisian women so I recommend you to follow them.
If you happen to be near popular nightlife spots, you’ll likely be fine. But in case you’re feeling uneasy or have had a few drinks, it’s always best to opt for a cab or use Uber for your safety.
Montmartre in the 18th arrondissement
What are the safest areas to stay in Paris?
There are plenty of safe places to stay in Paris, whether for living or sightseeing. But here’s a small list of which are widely considered the safest, especially for tourists:
- Latin Quarter: it’s located in the 5th arrondissement and it’s where you’ll find the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris.
- 16th arrondissement: located west of the city, the area is known as the city’s most expensive and wealthiest district.
- Champs-Elysées: it’s where you’ll find the famous Arc de Triomphe and the most beautiful avenue of Paris, in the 7th and 8th arrondissements
- Le Marais: if you like a trendy, lively vibe, this area nestled between the 3rd and 4th arrondissements is for you.
- St Germain: located near the Louvre and Notre-Dame, this area in the 6th arrondissement embodies everything you’ve ever imagined about Paris – just like in the movies.
Each of these places offers unique atmospheres, attractions, and accommodation costs, catering to various preferences and budgets. So, when planning your trip, you will be able to pick the right area that aligns best with your budget and fulfills your desired experiences.
Also, don’t be afraid to book your accommodation elsewhere in Paris. As long as you check the comments and learn a bit about the neighborhood, you’ll be okay as Paris is mainly safe.
Looking for a hotel to stay in a safe area of Paris?
Here are my recommendations:
✅ Best Hotel – Hôtel Des Batignolles: this beautiful hotel is the best value for money you can find in Paris; ideally located close to Montmartre and St-Lazare.
✨ Best Luxury – Le 12 Hôtel: wonderful 4-star hotel located in the quiet 8th arrondissement, with a beautiful Eiffel Tower view.
💰 Best Budget – Best Stay Jeuneurs: this cozy and well-equipped apartment is perfectly located in the city center, close to the Opera Garnier, the Louvre, and Pigalle.
What are the Paris arrondissements to avoid?
In my opinion, there’s no whole arrondissement to ban, as each of them has something to offer. For example, the 18ᵉ arrondissement has no less than Montmartre and Authentic Paris; the 12ᵉ arrondissement has the Bastille Opera House and the 11th the Père-Lachaise cemetery. All these places are Paris must-sees.
So only the neighborhoods listed in this post are to be avoided, those where the risk of theft or mugging tends to increase (even if it can actually happen anywhere).
At night, however, it’s a different story. I recommend staying away from the northern arrondissements above Montmartre, i.e. the 18th and 19th arrondissements which are quite dangerous districts in Paris in the evening.
Rue Crémieux in the 12e arrondissement
Final Thoughts on the Dangerous Areas of Paris
Well, I hope this post gave you a big picture of the safety issue in Paris and helped you identify the dangerous places in Paris.
To wrap it up, it’s essential to reiterate that Paris is no more dangerous than other major cities in France such as Marseille or Lyon, but also around the world. Like anywhere else, there are a few neighborhoods that require some extra caution.
In Paris, it’s advisable to avoid the northern districts, especially the 18th and 19th arrondissements, along with certain parts of the 10th arrondissement. Additionally, steer clear of areas beginning with “Porte de,” as they tend to be densely populated areas. If you want to visit attractions located in these districts, do it during the day and leave before night falls.
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