two women gendarmes on horses patroling in paris: Dicey Paris Neighborhoods

Dicey Paris Neighborhoods, Episode 194

Dicey Paris Neighborhoods


On today’s episode, let’s talk about Paris neighborhoods where I would rather NOT stay, or book a hotel, or rent an apartment. There aren’t so many such places, so it’ll be a short episode. I get asked all the time: is this a safe neighborhood? So yeah, let’s talk about it and name the names!

If you’re interested in safety while in France, you should also check out How to Stay Safe in France, Getting Caught in a Terror Attack in France, Making Sense of Terror Attacks in France, How to Protect Yourself from Pickpockets in Paris

Support the show on Patreon.


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smiling and pleasant young woman carrying a clipboard on the courtyard at the Louvre
This pleasant-looking young woman is one of the many scammers who will try to get you to sign bogus petitions in Paris. It’s a pretext to rob you, walk on, do not engage such persons!

Episode Highlights with Timestamps

Beware of Sensational Reporting

[01:57] “No-go zones” in Paris are NOT a thing, but there are places where it is wise not to go.

Fine by Day, Bad Idea at Night

[03:33] Many of the “unsafe” areas listed here are fine during the day, but not so fine at night, which is why you shouldn’t book your hotel there.

It All Depends on What You’re Used to

[05:13] Big city folks are not easily startled by dicey neighborhoods, but country folks will probably freak out more.

Assessing Your Risk Level

[06:16] Men tend to feel safer no matter where they do. It’s another story for women.

Most Dicey Areas Are Outside of the Paris Belt Road

[06:45] It is best to say within the Paris belt road, aka “le périphérique” because that’s where most of the projects are located.

Keep It Simple: Stay Inside the Belt Road

[07:54] Only a few areas outside of the Paris belt road are dicey, but it’s too complicated for visitors to judge where exactly.

The Only Major Tourist Attraction Located Near a Dicey Area in Paris: Saint-Denis

[09:56] The only major tourist attraction located in a “bad” area is the Saint-Denis Basilica. You can still go if you get an Uber ride and go in the day-time.

Avoid the “Portes de…” Areas

[11:39] As a general rule, it is also best to avoid staying in areas called “Porte de…” This is not true for all of them, but most of them are a little rough.

map that shows the ring road around Paris
The Paris ring road or “périph”

What About Dicey Areas in the Center of Paris?

[13:18] There are only a few metro stations in the center of Paris next to which I wouldn’t want to book a hotel or AirB&B.

Paris Metro Stations You Want to Avoid

Most of them are in the northeast quarter of Paris: Stalingrad, Jaurès, Barbès, Place de Clichy, Porte de la Villette, Gare du Nord, République, Goutte d’Or, Danube, Place des Fêtes.  Chatelet-les-Halles and Pigale are not great either, but not as bad.

Broad Rule: Avoid the Northeast Quarter of Paris

[14:56] Broad rules always fail at some point, but it’s worth noting that if you avoid the northeast quarter of Paris, you’ll avoid most of the dicey areas.

What About Taking the Metro Late at Night in Paris?

[15:58] Is it safe to take the Paris metro late at night? Yes, if you follow some rules: enter as close to the driver as you can, don’t be alone in a car, avoid the tunnels.

How to Avoid Cell Phone Theft in the Paris Metro

[16:34] Don’t have your cell phone out when standing near the metro doors. Someone might grab it and run out just as the doors close.

Gun Violence is Rare in France

[17:40] There aren’t a lot of guns in the hands of the general population in France and gun violence is rare.

Biggest Risk: Pickpockets!

[17:53] How to protect yourself from pickpockets in Paris. That’s what you should be thinking about also.

[18:22] Theft statistics vs. murder statistics in France.

Learn What to Do in Case of a Terror Attack

[20:56] Terror attacks are rare, but terrifying. There are some things you should do to mitigate your risk.

Conclusion: Your Homework

[22:13] Tell others where you’ll be staying. Enroll in the Smart Traveler Program. Backup your phone before you leave. Take an older phone with you when traveling. Don’t take so much! If you need to pick a budget hotel, don’t go to the northeast corner of Paris. If you want affordable choices in the center of Paris, check out our hotel selection.

map that shows ZUS aka "Projects" around Paris
List of ZUS around Paris

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