"Seedy" Parisian neighborhoods

I've heard some reference to so-called "seedy" neighborhoods in Paris that might bear avoiding when on foot. Now, when I think "seedy" I think Detroit (with which I'm fairly familiar) and yeah, there are parts of downtown Detroit I wouldn't walk through. Is that what we're talking about when referring to Paris or are we calling neighborhoods that are slightly rundown seedy but that aren't necessarily dangerous to walk through?


Posted by Tom
Lewiston, NY
11064 posts

There are plenty of less-than-wonderful neighborhoods in Paris and the surrounding banlieues (probably few as bad as Detroit, though!), but most lie well outside the areas of touristic interest. You are unlikely to find yourself walking through any of the rougher neighborhoods. You'll probably only see them from the window of a train or Metro, particularly if you visit Monmartre.

Posted by Kate
590 posts

If you are going to be in the touristy areas they won't be seedy. Montmartre had its fair share of "friendship bracelet" hustlers, but by no means was it too bad to walk through. Just where your money belt everywhere you go and walk with purpose. They will pick out the easy targets and leave the rest of the tourists alone.

Posted by John
Toledo, Ohio, USA
14 posts

We are in fact staying in Montmartre...the Hotel Terrass. I'm by no means frightened (we're pretty good at taking care of ourselves and my wife is from Detroit where the weak are hunted down and eaten).

Posted by Ceidleh
Boston, MA, United States
1423 posts

I know a lot of people on this and other travel boards refer to specific areas of Paris that they deem "seedy", but I will say I travelled on my own to Paris last year, walked through many of these so-called "seedy" areas, such as Pigalle (I actually stayed in a hotel near Gare du Nord which a lot of people consider seedy because of its proximity to a couple of sex shops and a few strange characters that hang near the entrance to the station).

I did not feel threatened or ill at ease in any of these parts of the city and found them to be quite tame compared to other major U.S. cities that I have personally lived in or visited (including Boston, New York, Philadelphia, DC and LA). But having lived in large metropolitan areas of the U.S., I can understand how some small town folks might perceive these areas as ominous or threatening in some way.

Posted by Tim
Knoxville, TN, USA
4366 posts

We stayed in the 7th near the Eiffel Tower and took the metro to visit the Sacre Couer. When I stepped out of the metro station I was very thankful that we were NOT staying in that area.

Posted by Tom
Lewiston, NY
11064 posts

Montmartre itself is not seedy at all. Touristy, yes, particularly the area at the bottom of the hill, but not seedy. It's the neighborhoods that lie between Montmartre and the rest of Paris that look run down. In Montmartre, just steer clear of the bracelet-scammers, you'll recognize them as soon as you see them. For some reason, they seem to only congregate on the bottom of the hill. Do they have acrophobia?