Choosing a Hostel in a Safe Neighborhood

by Parisgirl on April 24, 2008

by Parisgirl | April 24th, 2008  

Often a concern for single travelers is choosing a neighborhood that’s safe and convenient. Just to give you an update on some of the hostel neighborhoods – You’ll find that the majority of hostels tend to be concentrated in working-class neighborhoods, somewhat removed from the city center.

The Paris hostels I’ve most recently visited are located in the Montmartre neighborhood (18th) and Gare du Nord/Canal St. Martin neighborhood in Paris’s northeastern sector. This is the same area (Gare du Nord) which was the site of disturbances back in 2005, but I found this neighborhood to be fine for walking around during the day (Canal St. Martin). The area in direct proximity to Gare du Nord, I found less appealing. The Peace and Love Hotel is on a busy intersection at Metro: Jaures with the St. Martin canal just across the street. One of the staff members who’s worked in the area for the past nine years tells me that the neighborhood has definitely improved.
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If you want to stay in the Montmartre quarter and you don’t want to be caught in the throng of visitors who really can fill up the market streets heading directly up to Sacre Choeur, I would suggest opting for some of the hostels slightly around to the back of the hill top i.e (Caulaincourt/Lamarck Metro).

If you want to be closer to the center of town and the major tourist sites, I would suggest opting for hostels located in the 15th or 5th arrondissements on Paris’s Left Bank. 3 Ducks Hostel would be the shortest trek to the Eiffel Tower. Ma Maison at 68 bis Rue Dutot has closed. It’s still listed on some of the hostel brochures, so be aware that it’s no longer an option. On the other hand, there’s a new hostel in the 13h arrondissement called OOPS! at 50 Avenue des Gobelins. I haven’t an opportunity yet to check it out, but let me know what you think if you’ve been there.

Regarding 3 Ducks Hostel, the bar is great. I can vouch for that. You’ll meet not only other travelers, but locals who like to stop in for a beer. People seem very friendly and outgoing. I haven’t seen the rooms yet, so at this point all I can say is read other travelers’ reviews.

While I was having a beer, one of the guests asked about the safety for walking at night. I was able to tell her that the neighborhood must be relatively safe because I just walked from Montparnasse (which isn’t exactly around the corner). Here’s a good tip for women walking alone in Paris – avoid making eye contact – if you don’t feel like talking to someone. This usually works very well. Or if you have a cell phone, just be talking on your cell phone.

Rue Mouffetarde (5th arrondissement) which was mentioned in Rick Steve’s choices for inexpensive lodging also has the Young and Happy. hostel I really like this street even if it has become touristy in past years. There’s tons of restaurants and you’re in the thick of the student neighborhood. At night, you’ll find plenty of foot traffic which is good for single women (the 15h arrondissement in comparison is more residential and very quiet when you get off the main avenues.).

Finally, the Auberge Internationale des Jeunes (12 arrondissement)is justto the west of Bastille (about a ten to fifteen minute walk from Bastille). Although distant from the major tourist attractions this is normally a quiet residential neighborhood. You’re not far from Bois de Vincennes if you like to jog.

Montparnasse (14th arrondissement) doesn’t have many hostels, but student housing can be found in some ‘foyers’ or student lodging. If you plan on taking classes in Paris, you may be assigned lodging here as I was when I studied at the university. Montparnasse is a very convenient neighborhood and quite safe. Although there are few hostels, some of the hotels are reasonably priced compared to Right Bank prices.

Whatever neighborhood you choose, be sure to reserve quickly. With so few hostels, these rooms go quickly during hight season.

Enlarge this map to see a number of the more well known Paris hostels. Click the markers for their addresses and homesites.


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