Hi guys! Anybody been to Paris lately? We are planning to go next (late August-early September) year and was wondering the safest areas to get a B&B. With all the unrest that's going there right now, and not knowing what the social climate will be 9 months from now, I thought it best to ask you, before I make reservations, what areas are the safest, and which areas should be avoided? Thanks in advance!
Everywhere in Paris is safe (1st - 20th arrondissement). Another reason i love Paris.
What do you mean specifically by safe?
There is nowhere dangerous in Paris. If you are concerned about theft, pick pocketing and stealing are most common wherever tourists are. Do not let your guard down; never leave valuables on a table or purses strung to the back of chairs. Wallets are always targeted, particularly when you are in crowds.
I am not aware of any unrest unless you happen to be referring to the gilets jaunes. They only demonstrate on weekends and as they are wearing florescent jackets, they are very easy to spot and avoid. However, tourists do not interest them in the least.
On the whole, B&Bs are not legal in Paris unless you are staying in someone’s primary residence while they are away. One result of the confinement has been a significant drop in airbnb style apartments. Owners who purchased apartments as investments just to list them for short term rental, generally an illegal activity, have fallen upon hard times as many/most of these units have remained unrented for most of the last year. A good number of airbnbs have returned to long term rental status, providing much needed housing for residents.
The city has promised to step up enforcement efforts of illegal short term rentals so be cautious about making arrangements too far in the future; you may find the apartment you have chosen to be occupied by a full time resident of Paris.
There may be isolated areas in the suburbs that aren't totally safe, especially at night. But, if you stay in the city proper (lower number arrondissements) then it's all safe. The metro is also safe for getting around. As the other poster stated - in areas popular with tourists (which is all of the city proper), be alert and use normal precautions, especially in crowds. But don't waste your time worrying about getting mugged or robbed at gun or knife point.
But, if you stay in the city proper (lower number arrondissements) then it's all safe.
Paris city proper consists of 20 arrondissements, none of which is really dangerous. There are areas outside of Paris, particularly to the north, which hold little interest for tourists and where crime is far more common.
Do you have Rick's Paris Guidebook? Besides what you get from "us" on here he's got some good general information and some maps that might be helpful.
When you say "B&B" do you actually mean an apartment thru Air BnB? If you mean Air BnB/Vrbo/other agencies, do be cautious as indicated above and maybe let the folks here know which units you are looking at. Be particularly cautious in knowing any refund policies for deposits in case there are still pandemic issues preventing travel.
I'm also curious to know about what "unrest" you've been reading about? There was the terror attack in Nice recently which could as easily have happened in the US. Otherwise, be cautious about listening to friends and family members who are not travelers but delight in trying to scare others.
Referring to the killing of the teacher and other knife attacks? A terrorist attack could happen anywhere.
If you want safe, the 7th is about as absolutely mild as it gets. In my opinion, it's actually dull. That's where rue Cler is that so many people like.
Thanks everyone for your replies. We are looking at these flats listed on AirBnB::: https://bit.ly/2Jwva2v , https://bit.ly/3oPIOOq , https://bit.ly/2HUTQ3R , https://bit.ly/34QFf2n . However, we had no idea that B&Bs were frowned upon in Paris. So, please share your opinions... where is a nice, reasonably-priced place to stay in Paris, for those of you who definitely would not stay at one of the apartments listed on Airbnb? We've not been before so any help will be appreciated.
gk - The first one you listed is a hotel so shouldn't be an issue just because it's advertised on Airbnb. The second and fourth ones both have a registration number posted on their site so they should be okay also. The third one I might be a little wary of unless you email or call them and get their 13 digit registration number - there isn't one posted on the ad. Airbnb's are fine if they are 'legal'.
We avoid Pigalle after an unfortunate incident. Couldn’t get out of there fast enough.
(I use AirBnB a lot though haven't been to Paris since rules changed. I have rented in other major cities with local government requirements to register your apartment and possibly pay a required nightly tourist tax -like for hotels) One of these does not readily offer their license number to legally rent out their space. He is a SuperHost, so I would email him and request it. If he won't provide it, then don't rent from him. Also, because I can't see their cancellation requirements without putting in dates, I can't provide any recommendations or warning flags.
I didn't look closely at all that is offered, but locations are good. Know you may be walking up stairs...lots of stairs...as their 1st floor is North American '2nd floor'. If it doesn't say 'elevator' or 'air conditioning' then there isn't any. I would also email and ask specifically what kind of air conditioning and where it is located. Some are only in one bedroom (if you are renting a 2 bedroom apartment for example), or it may be a portable unit.
It can be distressing hearing the recent violence in France and paint the entire country that way, but that isn't what happens. As mentioned, violence can happen anywhere. Good practice is to avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings. Also, avoid the area around Charlie Hebdo's place as that sometimes sees more activity that we wish. Otherwise, the city is as safe as the next place....and keep in mind there is a lot less gun related violence than major American (and some Canadian) cities.
I believe a sense of 'safety' is improved with the more independent research and reading a traveler does to prepare them for a trip. Also, it doesn't hurt to limit the amount of sensational news media one gets every day ;-)
Of the four apartments you have linked, one is actually a hotel room, two have the city required registration numbers, (13 digits beginning with 75), and one, if it has a registration number I did not see it. None of these looks as though it is someone’s primary resident but that is not a requirement for the hotel room nor for apartments on the ground floor.
The hotel room is part of the Hotel Eugène which is currently closed.
Short term rental apartments must display the required city registration number in any listing. The number suggests legality but is not a guarantee. Any airbnb listing without the registration number is likely offered illegally.
Unless you are staying several weeks, I would consider hotels which can offer you better services; luggage storage, daily room service, and counter staff able to assist with restaurants recommendations and reservations.
@ufKak... bit.ly links are perfectly safe. Bitly is simply a URL shortening service in the U.S. I created the shortened links using bitly because I didn't want to use up my posting space with hugely long URLs. Please see here to set your mind at ease: https://support.bitly.com/hc/en-us/articles/360002288252-How-safe-is-Bitly-
9 months from now to make reservations is almost the equivalent in my mind to several years in advance pre-Covid.
I may be paranoid (possible but unlikely) but I won't even consider making reservations before I am comfortable to travel.
Paris and France are in a nearly full lockdown now, as are several European countries, and there is no knowing which businesses will still be functioning in nearly a year.
I certainly wouldn't give even a "fully refundable" deposit to anybody at the moment. Just search around this Forum and the others here a bit and see what so many people went through with fully refundable deposits which became time limited vouchers or simply failed to materialize so so many had to go and fight for their money with credit cards.
You also will want to be sure that the city government doesn't crack down even further on the type of places you are looking at post-Covid. Even if they have registration numbers.
Sorry to be so negative, but Paris and all of the Île de France have had an awful time during Covid.
I agree with Nigel. I was researching a trip to Paris in January 2020 for this past October. Luckily I hadn’t made any reservations. That said, we are looking to go in September or October 2021 but I won’t book anything till COVID is under complete control or the vaccine is available and widely taken. I won’t even pick up my research papers and continue till maybe February. Good luck
Only two of the properties you list have the 13 digit registration number indicating that they are legal rentals. They may be perfectly fine, but without those registration numbers you may be in for a big surprise when you arrive and find out that your reservation has been cancelled. Use the Search function at the top of this page and type in "Paris apartment registration number" or something close to that. There are a number of earlier posts which can assist you.
As most of the posters indicate, Paris is safe. Relax and research the areas and sites you are interested in. If you have kids with you, you may not be comfortable in Montmartre, not because it isn't safe, but because it is kind of skeevy and your kids may get an unwanted education.
You need to do a little research about where you might want to stay, and the type of accommodations, i.e., apartment or hotel. Buy a copy of Rick Steves' Paris Guide and read it cover to cover and you will be able to articulate just what kind of experience you are interested in having. Most of us do a lot of planning and research long before the trips we take, believing that preparation is half the fun. If that intimidates you, you may want to consider a tour where the details are done by a professional tour guide. Many prefer that to totally independent travel.
As is mentioned above, terrorist activities are not avoidable, whether you are in New Caledonia or New York. Travel with a sense of adventure and be aware of your surroundings, and have a "deep storage" place for most of your money and important papers.
RE the gk/Ufkak bitly controversy: I stuck my neck out and clicked the first link, for the hotel apartment, just to see how long the URL was. Not even a full line, so no way 4 such URL's are going to exceed your maximum post length. Its easy to copy and paste so the link is transparent and saves you the time of using bitly. It also gives everyone else a little more confidence that it is not a harmful link.
If you don't trust a bitly link, copy and paste it to another window on your browser then add a "+" at the end and hit "enter". That will show a preview of the actual link.
I was really confused by your post at first. B&B is short for bed and breakfast. Airbnb is a service that provides links to lodgings which may or may not be apartments.
This USA Today article, "How is an Airbnb different from a B&B? Which is better for your vacation?" helps explain the difference.
(Note that you can do a link to online resources without taking up a lot of space in the middle of the text of your message. The actual web address will show at the bottom of your writing space, and use up characters, but not in the preview or the actual post. You can test the link in the Preview.)
I'm not a fan of Airbnb. I prefer using Booking.com to search for lodgings. You can use all kinds of filters there, including searching only for apartments, or hotels, or B&Bs.
I wanted to mention that any host worth their salt would provide the correct address if asked...and perhaps with a reason. I note that one was posed as a short walk to the Louvre.
When I was in Paris - it has been some years now - I had an apartment in the 4th. I found the last part to get home - the subway - to be tiresome so I looked at some areas right in the 1st. If you are wanting the apartment to actually cook in, you may find the 1st doesn't offer much grocery options. Therefore, having the address and using Google Street view and 'nearby' on Google maps allows you to check for grocery shopping in your area of interest.
Whatever platform you use for rentals, you want to read every rule and reg for how long cancellations will be 'free' and when final payment is required. Also consider the damage deposit. Some want it in cash upon arrival and then you need to get it back before departure. Not so bad if it is a currency you will use again otherwise a PITA in my opinion. I know AirBnB just adds a hold to your CC and releases it to the host only when proven to be necessary.
I have been to Paris several times. Parisians have warned me about going to specific areas. The main tourist sites in central Paris are safe. The areas to the east and north, away from the city center have neighborhoods that I would not visit.
Back to the original question. Here is an interesting article: https://seafranceholidays.com/areas-of-paris-to-avoid-in-2019-unsafe-places-neighborhoods/
First, I would leave my kippah at home while in Europe. Then knowing little else, but making the wild assumption that the rest of the world is like the US where violence tends to repeat in the same neighborhoods, I would avoid these, or at least take it into consideration:
But in general, for a tourist, going for what tourist go to see; I think it will be hard to accidently walk into a less than desirable neighborhood. In selecting a place to stay, if convenience to that which most tourist choose to visit is important, will also keep you in the desirable neighborhoods.
I grew up in Paris, visit often for 1-3 mos - all of Paris (1st - 20th arrondissement) is safe (physical assault), as i said above.
There are no neighborhoods in Paris i would not go to, day or night. I think geovagriffith is refering to suburbs - which are not Paris.
I agree with Susan above. All of Paris is safe and Paris consists of 20 arrondissements. Outside the arrondissements is outside of Paris.
Okay, thanks, everybody. Quick question... are there certain arrondissements that are nicer than others? You know, in general (eg: neat hotels, cool cafes, picturesque views, etc..). I realize everyone's taste is different, but this is our silver anniversary trip and we'll be in Paris for 3 nights. So, staying in a really chic or really quaint or really quirky,... just really memorable area would be awesome. I'm not asking for 100% absolutes, Experienced opinions will work fine. :) Right now, I have Le Général Hôtel booked (with no money down and cancellation up to the day before arrival). It is in the 11th Arr.
I guess if it was something really special, maybe staying on the Ile Saint Louis. That will be quite a bit more money than what you are looking at now at Le General.
Le General is really in a younger, hipper section of town, just a couple blocks off Republic Square, which is something of a transit hub as five Metro lines intersect at the station beneath it. Walk 2 blocks east and you will come to a park that is built above the Canal St Martin. Walk north a few more blocks and you come to the lock where the canal emerges into daylight. Continue north for some very scenic views along the canal and the beautiful old cast iron pedestrian bridges over the canal. Watch the swing street bridges that rotate to allow the tour boats to pass when they come through occasionally.
There are lots of good restaurants in that district, and many good ethnic ones, especially on the other side of the canal. With the ability to zip to anywhere in Paris on the Metro from Republic Square, I think its a good choice.
Always interested in Paris, I looked up your hotel using Google Maps and explored the area hotels by clicking on the "stacked deck" and then the street view. It showed the businesses in the area in plan. By clicking on the blue street line itself and "walking around" I saw the actual businesses.
In my opinion, the hotel itself looks great and the proximity to public transport is good. But, the location isn't that convenient for walking around and popping into cafés or shops. The last time I was in Paris, we rented an apartment in the area of Rue de Bretagne and Rue Charlot. That was back in 2012 and I'd bet that apartment isn't legal now.
But I think the area is great and it's a shorter walk to much of what you'd like to see.
My favorite areas of Paris to stay are Ile St Louis in the 4th, the Marais in the 4th, parts of the Latin Quarter in the 5th and St Germain des Près in the 6th. I prefer being close to the river.
It would help you to get a good map of Paris, with the arrondissements marked on the map, and see where everything is.
Thanks for your posting, Tucson. I, too was confused by the reference to a B&B. Doesn't B&B translate into chambre d'hote? I have stayed in many vrbo rentals (much like air BNB), none of which have been anything like a bed and breakfast. On that note, does anyone have recommendations for a chambre d'hote in Paris (or Bordeaux or the Dordogne or Normandy or Brittany? I know that's a wide range of places but I would like to start thinking about future travel since I had to cancel my Sep trip to France this year. And I agree that pretty much any place in Paris is safe. Certainly compared to the US. Good luck with your planning, gk.
To answer your second question, since this is a special anniversary, consider staying right in the center of Paris. The Hotel des Deux-Iles is as centrally located as can be. There are also a couple of other hotels on the same street. Cross the river and you will be in the Marais -- cross it the other way and you'll be in The Latin Quarter. Walk to the end of the island, cross the bridge, and you'll be at the back of Notre Dame -- such as it is now as some of the immediate area is closed off. The Metro is near enough that getting anywhere is not a problem. Not sure if their rates will fit your budget, but it's definitely worth checking out.
The Hotel des Deux-Iles; stayed there a few years ago. Excellent. I love Paris. Always a good choice for a special trip.
TC is referring to Ile St Louis which i listed above. Ile St Louis is my favorite area to stay. All 4 hotels on the island are very good.
While any of the 20 arrondissements is Paris and is quite safe, the lower numbered arrondissements 1-7 are the most central and have the highest percentage of things a tourist is likely to want. I like the 5th an 6th best but have stayed in the 34e, 4th, and 7th as well and would be happy staying in any of them.
Especially since you are only there a short time - I think you said 3 nights - I would definitely stay in a hotel. Paris has tons, in all price ranges. They have lots of charm. Even if you find a 'legal' apartment/flat/B&B it's not worth the hassle for just three nights. I would only rent an apartment for a week or longer - or if I had kids with me and need more room. Look on booking.com
hey hey gk
i'm confused about your posts, your last one in sept has you in italy for 11 days with 7 cities to stay a day here or 2 days there. too much stops for me (my opinion and your trip), late august-early september 2021.
now this post is for paris for 3 nights same schedule as italy. are you combining these two countries and if so, are you planning to do multi-city flights?
i agree with some other posters here about the 4th and 5th districts. stay in a hotel, look for A/C for that time of year and a balcony is wonderful (morning coffee happy hour cocktail). so much to see and do within the area, stop at a cafe for appetizer and glass of wine/beer and people watch. you may be lucky to see street entertainers/bands playing music, sitting in the park to relax. we were in annecy & paris france last september/october for 15 days, weather was great, was so so busy and crowded, soo many events happening (former president chirac passed away (world dignitaries, police with their guns every street corner, roads blocked, sirens all day, fashionista week, protesters with no problems, electric techno music parade, models and photographers everywhere, weddings) a crazy week for us but we loved it. don't know what will happen next year and what covid-19 will bestow upon all.
when booking a hotel read fine print, cancellation info, checkin/checkout times and if luggage storage available, mobility issues (lift/elevator) for steep stairs/steps, free breakfast or pay, shared bathroom, size of beds if tall. couple places to check out:
hotel abbatial saint germain room with balcony and A/C
paris rivoli norte dame studio with a balcony and A/C
charming le marais retro 1 bedroom with balcony and A/C
check booking.com some places may say no availabilty, which mans they not be open this far in advance. try to email direct even though may take a while to reply.
@princess pupule said:
"now this post is for paris for 3 nights same schedule as Italy. are you combining these two countries and if so, are you planning to do multi-city flights?"
Yes, We are flying to Paris from NY, staying 3 nights and then flying to Venice. We'll take trains everywhere we go in Italy. Another couple who's never been is joining us in Milan so that's why we are making 2 & 3-night stops in different cities... letting them visit most of Italy since they will probably never return.
We've been to different parts of Italy a few times but always skipped over Paris because many people throughout the years have told us that Parisians hate Americans (even people we know from France say it). But, I decided this trip, I would go and see for myself. Maybe, they are like New Yorkers and are simply brash and impatient with foreigners who don't speak the language or something. Anyway, if I get a bad vibe while there, I just won't go back. But at the moment, I am looking forward to it.
Thanks a lot for the tips!
always skipped over Paris because many people throughout the years have told us that Parisians hate Americans (even people we know from France say it). But, I decided this trip, I would go and see for myself. Maybe, they are like New Yorkers and are simply brash and impatient with foreigners who don't speak the language or something.
I'm afraid that that is a misapprehension.
I've been going to France since I was a nipper and Paris and lots more of France and Paris several times a year for 25 years.
I've never seen Parisians - or any French - hate anybody, certainly not hate Americans.
There are idiots in every country, and some invariably in France, just like there are idiots in England, idiots in Sweden, idiots in Tennessee. But they are not the general populace and they may dislike different people for whatever reason. Maybe they dislike working for the post office, maybe they dislike men, maybe they dislike women, maybe they hate the colour green or gold. Who knows.
What the French, culturally, like are people to respect their language and their culture. You don't need to speak French, but starting a conversation politely means a whole lot to them. Walk into the room and say Bonjour. That's all. Don't touch displayed fruit and vegetables on a stand unless you are in a supermarket. If you are in a supermarket weigh the produce yourself and put a sticker on it, and carry your own bags (everywhere in Europe). When you leave a room say goodbye.
Smile at them and they will smile at you. They don't try to be your best friend when serving in a restaurant, they give you time and space. You need to ask for the bill. They don't bring it as you order dessert. That's not rude and it isn't anti-American. Those are their cultural norms and they expect you to know that, just like Americans expect you to pay your waiter a huge tip.
They don't care what country is your home, nor what colour you are.
They aren't very good at making coffee, though. But they make up for it in hundreds of other ways...
As I get older I find my French gets rustier and rustier, possible because we visit so many other countries too and it gets mixed up. I never get a bad welcome.
Thanks Nigel! That was clearly a well-contemplated post. I appreciated it.
hey hey gk
nigel was totally on point, but had to look up "nipper", never heard of it. LOL mixed breed dog "smooth fox terrier and part bull terrier" that would nip the back of visitors LEGS!!! nigel you're the best.
you should make your own decision of how gracious parisians are, not second hand info of others.
be polite like nigel mentions above, great positive attitude, always have Plan B ready if Plan A doesn't work and continue on. no planning minute by minute or hour by hour, it never turns out that way.
enjoy the scenery, architecture, people, seine boat ride, glass of champagne/wine and of course smile smile.
What Nigel said. We have always had a great experience in France. The French are friendly, but not effusive. They tend to be more reserved than we, and some folks see that as being rude or cold, or as hating Americans or tourists.
We spent three weeks in France in 2019, and had a wonderful time. Every French person with whom we dealt was friendly and helpful.
And those of us yanks of a certain age might know Nipper ( capital N ) as the mascot for RCA instead of being a small child.
I didn't need to Google Nipper because I'm old enough to remember his cute little cocked head. But I did anyway, and of course there's a Wikipedia article on him.
Learn more about Nipper here.
Brilliant post Nigel.
It’s usually the American that’s rude (not saying bonjour, merci, s’il vous plait, au revoir) because they don’t know the etiquette, and when they aren't received well because of their rudeness, they say the French are rude.
The French, in general, are incredibly nice, i could tell you stories of the kindness i’ve received or witnessed from Parisians and the French in general. As Nigel said, you may run into an unpleasant Parisian/French person, but no where near as many as you do here in the US. I’ve seen many, many examples of Americans being very rude in Paris and it always upsets me.
One example: an American in a bakery, worker says, in French, “Hello! How can i help you?” And the American says, in English, “GIVE me two croissants!” No hello, no please, no thank you.
When you’re in France it is rude to start off in English. Always start with Bonjour at least, and add lots of S’il vous plait (the T is silent) and Merci and you’ll be fine.
As for visiting France, I've had no negative experiences. My French is abominable, but I've managed to get along well by trying to do the right things and trying to not do the wrong ones, straight out of Nigel's post.
Most of the people I've encountered who whine about how they were treated by French people were totally ignorant of the right way to behave. That's become obvious when they've described their experiences.
Three of my favorite examples of fun exchanges for me happened when I was visiting Paris with my best friend in the early 80's. She knew no French and I had to be the translator. 🥴
I'm struggling to order dinner for us. The waiter finally says in English, "you're trying very hard, aren't you." We all laughed and had a great meal.
We're in a department store and my friend wants to buy a trench coat for her boyfriend back in Chicago. She sees a customer that's similar in size to him and asks me to ask him to try on the coat she's chosen. Now that was a challenge because his English was as limited as my French, but he was very gracious, put on the coat and modeled it for her. All three of us laughed and had fun with that.
We're on the Metro, sitting in the fold down seats next to the exit. We didn't know we weren't supposed to sit there, but it was a good thing that we did. There was a woman standing facing the door. Her purse was right at my eye level. I noticed a guy step in facing her and his hand go into her purse. I loudly said, "Madame, votre sac." At the same time she gasped and looked down, the guy stepped out backwards just before the doors closed. He got nothing. She was very grateful. I asked, "Comment s'appelle," meaning the guy. Her response was, "le pickpocket."
My friend and I had a great time on that trip. Toward the end, we were seated next to a couple of French architects at a restaurant. I'd guess they were about 10 years younger than us. Their English was much better than my French. They took us to a jazz club.
We got back to our hotel so early in morning that the woman who served us breakfast gave us double the normal coffee. That helped get us through our "zombies at the Louvre" day.
I hope you are able to enjoy Paris as much as we did then and as I have on the way too few times I've been there since.
I love visiting France,
My first visit to France was in 1983. I was working for the US Army in Saudi Arabia at that time. I had a tennis friend that was French. He wasn't from Paris. He warned me that Parisians can be rude (some not all). He said Parisian waiters can be rude to French people from outside Paris.
My experience with any rudeness in Paris was minimal, but we did encounter rudeness in Paris. It wasn't because we were rude. I come from the American South, where being polite is what we are taught as children. My French friend also warned me that the Communist Party was large in France (At one time they polled about 1/8 of the vote). He told me that Communists more more likely to be rude to Americans for political reasons (After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the French Communist Party died.) Perhaps we ran into some, however, we were overall well treated and enjoyed our trip.
Since that trip, I have visited France several times, and found years later that any Parisian rudeness seemed less frequent. Also, places like Alsace, Normandy, Burgundy, Provence and the Loire Valley that the people were exceptionally friendly. Normandy was amazing, Americans are well liked there.
Fantastic information! Thanks, everyone. Hey, for those of you who have spent time in Paris fairly recently... do you have any great restaurant suggestions? Trip Advisor shows a plethora of 5-star restaurants, but I'd rather hear first-hand from seasoned RS travelers. TIA
I have not been to Paris since November 2019 so that may not be recently enough for you. I am also concerned about whether any restaurant that I suggest will make it through COVID-19 or if they do if they will be same type of experience that I recall. Despite these concerns, here are some of my favorite places in Paris (listed in no particular order and with no budget, cuisine, or location constraints because you did not mention any)
L'Avant Comptoir (a wine bar)
A la Biche Au Bois
Gaspard de la Nuit
Ristorante Al Caratello
Bar Italia Brasserie
Il Etait un Square
Le Casse Noix
I'll also throw in Clown Bar, which I do not love but is a place that my nephew who is a chef in New York City enjoys tremendously. I have eaten at all of these places and other than Clown Bar had excellent meals and great service. And Clown Bar was not bad, it's just not my cup of tea (no veal brains for me).