Are there any unsafe districts in Paris for a woman traveling alone? I am looking around at hotels and apartments and blah blah blah to find a place to stay and thought I should know before I buy. I want to stay some where safe but not too expensive. Thank you!
Stacy, Many RS fans prefer to stay in the Rue Cler area, which is within walking distance to the Eiffel Tower and other sights. I've always found that to be "safe". Could you clarify what price range you consider to be "not too expensive"? The Guidebooks have lots of listings for good Hotels in various price ranges in different parts of Paris.
A number of years ago we rented an apartment in Paris from someone in Montreal whom we did not know. The apartment itself was very nice and in a secure, modern building on an ordinary street. However, if we tuned left when we came out of the building and walked to the end of the block we were in the Goutte d'Or district (18th arrond.) In the daytime this was perfectly fine but at night there were very scary looking men hanging about in doorways looking very menacing, and there were dozens of prostitutes wandering about, probably the "property" of the scary looking guys in the doorways. The gendarmes were forever mounting raids and blocking off streets. The closest metro stations were full of thieves & layabouts. If we turned right when we came out of the apartment building all was serene but it took us a day or two to learn that. If that had been my first visit to Paris I would never have returned.
I can only answer your question by how my wife and I felt walking around the city. In the 18th arrondissement we were definitely nervous walking at night north from the Moulin Rouge along the Boulevard de Clichy / Boulevard de la Chapelle through what is a "sex" district with lots of theaters and shady looking characters.
The 1st through the 16th arrondissements are very safe, maybe even higher but I'm unfamiliar with the higher number arrondissements (although I trust what Norma says about the 18th). I'm not a fan of the rue Cler neighborhood. I'd recommend the 4th (Marais), the 5th (Latin Quarter) and the 6th (St. Germain) arrondissements to be close to the heart of Paris and the most fun.
"I'm not a fan of the rue Cler neighborhood." Just to clarify for the OP, you are not saying this due to safety concerns, right?
Hi Michael... No, I'm not saying Rue Cler is unsafe. I thought that was understood when I said I think the 1st through the 16th are very safe. =)
I'm looking to spend no more than $100 a night. That is dollars not euros and I would love if it were less. My two biggest things are safe and clean. I know there was a bed bug issue late last yr into this yr.
$100 is pretty low for Paris. Take a look at hostelworld.com Many hostels offer single rooms and are very comfortable and clean, just basic. A double room en suite may even be within your budget.
My wife and I always stay in the Rue Cler neighborhood when visiting Paris and as seniors feel very safe walking around the neighborhood after dark as there always seems to be lots of folks out in the streets, many of them obviously tourists, like us.
I always stay at the Hotel Republique on Rue Albert Thomas in the 10th. I'm a woman who generally travels alone, and I've always felt comfortable in the area. (My friend, who is slightly pickier and much more of a worrier than I, loved it as well when she stayed there with me.) The hotel is very clean, decorated a bit funky, and fits your price range. The front desk staff have always been very helpful. The elevator is tiny, the smallest I have ever seen, but I've always considered it part of the adventure. A small grocery and a delightful bakery are nearby. If you have an inside room with an ugly view of the alley, you are treated to the smells from said bakery in the wee hours of the morning. The historic center of Paris (most everywhere you will want to go) has always felt safe to me. I've even ridden the Metro after midnight alone. Use common sense, like in any large city, and you'll be fine.
Here is another vote for the Rue Cler area. My husband and I stayed there for our trip to Paris two months ago. We took the nightime Seine river cruise and he wanted to walk back to our hotel. I was a little nervous about it (mostly because we had just arrived that day, were really tired and not too sure of the area yet-and did I mention it was 11PM) Anyway we did walk and I must say I never really felt unsafe like I would have in several US cities at that hour. Plus there was usually something on every block still open so there was people around. It was a lovely walk. When you get to Rue Cler itself most of the eating placed are still open with crowds of people outside at that hour.
I have traveled solo all over Europe and I feel very safe in Paris. But don't stay out too late near the perimeter of the city - generally thats the end of the metro lines. Also VIP !!!! The metro closes at 1am. And I have found it hard to get a taxi at that point...because everyone wants one. It took me at least 45 minutes to hail one one evening. Also keep extra biz cards with the address of your hotel in your pocket. It helos when asking for directions. Otherwise you'll have tons of fun in Paris!!!
'It took me at least 45 minutes to hail one one evening' It's against the law for a taxi to accept a hailed fare within a couple hundred meters (distance forgotten) of a taxi rank. Also, due to the price of gas, taxis don't drive around - - they drop a fare and head for a taxi rank. Go to a taxi rank. If it's empty, wait a couple of minutes and one will show up.
We also loved the Rue Cler and stayed at Hotel du Champ de Mars. Really enjoyed the hotel and the neighborhood of Rue Cler. We paid around 100E a night. The problem we found with Rue Cler was it was further from the Notre Dame / St. Michel / Latin quarter metro stops around which we found ourselves spending most of our time. Also Rue Cler is not convenient to the metro. We walked up to the Seine (10 minutes??) everyday to get on the metro/RER at Pont de l'Alma for the most direct ride to the center.
The other commenters here are correct about the safety issues - but do please note that any large city at night is, well, a large city at night. Keep your head up, your shoulders back, and look like you're not going to take any sh*t. Rue Cler seems to be the "default" place to stay for many Rick Steves fans... but I love the Passy neighborhood. It just seems so much more down-to-earth and local than Rue Cler (probably, ironically, b/c so many hordes of RS fans now know about it!). I always stay at l'Hotel Hameau de Passy (http://www.hameaudepassy.com/) and love it there.
Thank you all so much for the advice and tips! Kira- That was hilarious! LOL Thank you I will! :)
Stacy, I've stayed in the Hotel Tourisme ( http://www.hotel-paris-tourism.com/), they have internet rates starting at €94/night (~$136). They are very close to the Eiffel Tower/Champ de Mars (opposite side from Rue Cler) and have been undergoing renovations. I enjoyed my stay there for a weekend last August, but will be trying a location in Rue Cler for my own upcoming trip in two weeks. Here is a TripAdvisor review: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g187147-d558849-Reviews-Tourisme_Hotel-Paris_Ile_de_France.html. Brent http://engineeringatravelplan.blogspot.com/
Brent – Thanks, again. :)
I will be checking out Rue Cler as it seems many folks are traveling in that area.
Hi Stacy, The Ecole Militaire metro stop is the closest to the Rue Cler neighborhood. It's only about a 5 minute walk from the top of the steps to the hotels on Rue Cler that Rick recommends. My wife and I haven't visited Paris, but were planning to before we switched to Amsterdam (since we're flying into Amsterdam, we thought why skip it?). The best feature of the Rue Cler neighborhood that I could see is that the Eiffel Tower is within easy walking distance. And then you can catch Bus #69 from there to get to other interesting parts of Paris! See Rick's Paris book for details. And as for a neighborhood to stay in, I'll take dull and safe to interesting and dangerous ANY day! I can always visit the interesting parts, but when I sleep I want to feel safe, if I have to go out at night for some reason, I don't want to get mugged or something. Rick has a good writeup on Rue Cler here: http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/destinations/france/ruecler0208.htm Have fun on your trip!
Darren I am sorry to hear what happened to your friend at GDN. I have my fears of something like that happening.
I am not a weak lady but Im no body builder either. I pray safe travels for us all. Thank you all for the posts!
Something to remember is that most Euro cities are pretty safe, compared to their US counterparts. I usually walk just about anywhere without feeling threatened, even at night. Admittedly, I'm a guy, but there are probably plenty of women tougher than me (Kira might be one ;-) )Often times, the seediest parts of the cities are near the train stations. A friend of mine got jumped just outside of Gare de Nord last summer, no violence, but they cut into his pack and stole his camera and a few other things. GDN is in the 10th, which I consider a pretty safe arrond.