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Recent Migrant Influx into Paris and Safety

Looking at spending a week in Paris in February as mother and twenty something daughter. Reading a lot in the news about the migrant influx into Paris after the refugee camp at Calais was closed and burned last week. Anyone who is there now, or lives in Paris, should I be concerned about our safety and will this affect seeing the main tourist sights we would visit? Are they all over the city, or in certain areas. I've never been to Paris so not too familiar with all the different androssiments. Thanks for any info you can provide .

Posted by
23240 posts

Paris is absolutely huge. Two weeks ago it was fine with usual number of homeless. We didn't bother them and they didn't bother us. You will be fine.

Posted by
8889 posts

should I be concerned about our safety and will this affect seeing the main tourist sights we would visit?

Yes, if you are this paranoid, definitely never cross the road.

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,” he used to say. “You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no telling where you might be swept off to.”

Frodo Baggins about Bilbo, The Fellowship of the Ring, Three is Company

Nothing travels faster than the speed of light with the possible exception of bad news, which obeys its own special laws.

Douglas Adams, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"
Seriously, The World (and France, and Paris) are big places. Do not let this worry you.

Posted by
7025 posts

From what I have read there are some add'l refugees coming in from Calais but they seem to be gathering in the same places as they have been for some time. If you're sticking to the main tourist areas, you likely won't see them or be bothered by them. And, yes, Paris is as safe, or safer, than any other big city in this day and age.

Posted by
4151 posts

A quick little Google search indicates that most of those migrants are in the 18th and 19th arrondissements. Most (but by no means all) of the main things to see are in the 1st to 10th arrondissements. The arrondissements start in the center and spiral out.

This link should help you to identify and locate them: http://www.plandeparis.info/plans-paris/arrondissements-paris.html

Posted by
25 posts

Thanks for all the information and reassurance. Tickets booked!

Posted by
11507 posts

There seems to be an assumption that refugees are dangerous?

Mostly they aren't.. just like mostly citizens are not dangerous either.. Refugees are just like everyone else.. except they were born in places that have turned into h(ell holes.. and they are seeking a safer life for them and their families.

Posted by
7209 posts

OMG! Questions like this just flabbergast me.

One of my favorite Mark Twain quotes:
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”

Posted by
23240 posts

My guess is that you could scatter a hundred thousand migrants across Paris and no one would notice. The population of Paris within the city limits is 2.2 million and the surrounding metro area is 10.5 million folks. Don't see how a few thousand migrants would have any noticeable impact on the city. I think your are safe.

Posted by
1335 posts

There is no need to be rude and sarcastic to the OP. While many of us are well travelled, some people are travelling abroad for the first time and have many fears. This is a better opportunity to reassure them instead of calling them absurd for asking a question. Rather than displaying pedantic behavior, let's just educate.

Posted by
2466 posts

You will be safe.
All the refugees were sent to shelters in other cities far from Paris, or to Great Britain a few days ago.

You will not be going anywhere near the arrondissements where a few hundred non-dangerous refugees from another part of the world have set up housekeeping under a bridge while they wait to see what the French government can do for them.

The only people you'll have to worry about will be pickpockets - who will be present in great numbers in the tourist areas you will be visiting, and are definitely worth worrying about.

Posted by
1802 posts

I'll add my .02

I think the logic goes something like this:

Some terrorists, criminals were able to slip into Europe as migrants.
As such, areas with large migrant populations may have terrorists and or criminals.
Therefore these areas can be dangerous.

If you are not well traveled or haven't been to Paris it is perfectly understandable how one could come to question if it is safe. Add in that as a parent you feel responsible for protecting even adult age children and it's even more understandable.

OP

As others have said , you will be fine in Paris. Some may find the increased presence of armed police and soldiers unsettling. But as some of the posters local to Paris have mentioned it is perfectly safe.

Posted by
295 posts

We have been home 10 days now, from our trip to France. In Paris, outside the more famous sites, there was a small presence of immigrants, few begging and a few selling trinkets. I believe, overall, that tourism is possibly down due to the events of the last year. We did not feel uncomfortable or threatened in anyway and completely enjoyed our time in Paris. Possibly my new fav city. The only thing that was annoying was the begging with children in tow, sitting or laying on the sidewalk with them, an obvious ploy but it worked, I felt bad for them and gave them some money. Paris and France is a beautiful place to visit, go.

Posted by
2466 posts

Those who sell trinkets and beg on the street with children and animals are not "immigrants" in the same sense.
They are called by various names - most would say "Roma", to make things short - and are part of a highly-organized mafia racket operating out of Eastern Europe which includes child-trafficking, prostitution and pickpockets.

Posted by
15795 posts

Without wading into this too deep...

The trinket and knock-off (fake brands) sellers and beggars we've encountered in Paris and Italian cities were a mix of ethnicities with heavier percentages of genders/origins present in one segment versus the other. The sad thing is that a fair amount of them are estimated to have been trafficked - too often as children - and are victims of forced labor and physical/psychological abuse.

It's a different situation than the refugee influx but just as sad. I wonder if there's risk some of these new arrivals might fall, out of desperation or coercion, into hands of exploitative handlers as well?

Friends of mine who are European citizens provided enlightenment on this subject, and I've done some reading on it since. Human trafficking occurs in my own country as well but isn't as visible (primarily prostitution, domestic/hospitality servitude and agricultural labor) and involves enslavement of vulnerable nationals - as in runaway minors - as well as foreigners.

For what it's worth, it was a little education that has helped me to see things in a little different light.

Posted by
308 posts

Hi Amy,
I travel alot with my elderly mother who, by the way, lived through a Japanese Occupation and the Vietnam War. She is uncomfortable seeing homeless people here in Chicago when she visits and she feels just the same when we travel. I get where you are coming from and it is a perfectly reasonable concern for 2 women travelling alone. In any case, avoid the Stalingrad metro area as I understand there is a large migrant encampment under the station. There was some trouble there recently. Google it for more info.

Posted by
2466 posts

Only people who live in apartments near Stalingrad have any reason to be in this neighborhood.
I've never known a tourist who could get so turned around as to wind up anywhere near this neighborhood.

I agree with Woinparis - "trouble" is relative, and is best reported accurately in local newspapers and on local TV.

Posted by
14499 posts

Not that recent but a few years ago, the last time in 2012 I was at the Stalingrad Metro station to change to Avron, that was before migrant influx.

Posted by
22 posts

Not a good idea to give money to women beggars with infants or children in tow. They generally turn over all of their money to their male partners. Better to pretend not to speak English if you can't ignore them. Also be aware that swarms of children have been known to take advantage of the distraction of beggars. They are agile and swift when making away with your valuables. Several relatives and friends have been victims.

But keep in mind that these are not the refugees you've read about. These beggar women are often from central Europe, principally Romania. The open borders of the EU are an irresistible lure. They may live in encampments in the suburbs.

Posted by
11507 posts

I agree.. do not give money to the women and children beggars.. they are not immigrants.. they are Roma slaves mostly.. I say slaves because they have to beg and they don't get to keep most of the money but have to hand it over.

The women have been known to drug the children ( which btw are not always even theirs) so the children will sit placidly .. note.. often the children seem to be sleeping or laying about listlessly .. it makes me sick.

If you are a real soft spot and cant stand walking by them and ignoring them, maybe keep some chocolate or candy in your pocket to hand over to the children only.. at least they can likely keep that for themselves!

The guys selling trinkets are not refugees.. and may be citizens.. but unfortunately its a racket in a way.. they get boxes of the crap stuff from china and sell it to make money ( and obviously don't declare the income for tax purposes) but they aren't really ripping you off.. if you want 10 plastic keychains of the Effiel Tower for 10 euros.. go for it.. lol

Posted by
211 posts

We just got back from first trip to Paris. Stayed for 5 nights in 6th. Traveled around the main tourist areas and never saw a problem or had a problem. The areas of large "migrant" populations live in a different part of Paris. You will see homeless people wherever you go in Paris.

Posted by
30 posts

Thanks to those of you who understand our concern when we haven't been there in years or have no experience. There's no harm in being cautious, as we want to make the most of our time and investment.

Posted by
14499 posts

@ Dawn...totally agree. I am cautious in Europe, more so in Paris than in Berlin, Hamburg, or Frankfurt or Vienna based on travel experience. I know these places well. Nothing wrong with being cautious at different levels, always better safe than sorry or , better still, stupid.

Posted by
8035 posts

We were in Vienna last fall when there was a huge influx of refugees trying to move to other countries via rail and the train stations were crowded with hundreds of mostly refugee men desperate for tickets. We had to go to a small out of the way station without international connections to get the tickets we needed for a day trip because the lines were literally hours long in the main stations. Ours was a first world problem. Theirs was existential. Even in a sea of desperate immigrants we didn't feel unsafe.