Traveling to the City of Lights? If you’re a girl, there’s an aspect of travel that impacts us differently than men, and that is the safety factor. Whether you’re venturing out into the world on your own, or with a group of your best girlfriends, you want to have fun, but also stay safe.
Here is a guide to enjoying Paris safely during the day and night:
Places to stay
Staying in the heart of Paris ain’t cheap, but may save you transportation money in the long run. I’ve stayed in both a hostel and a hotel in Paris, and I can tell you right now that there is a dramatic safety difference.
Hostel: I stayed at a youth-geared hostel in the outskirts of the main city. It was still close enough for the Paris metro system. The hostel itself was very clean and trendy with my favorite part being the rooftop bar with a view of the Paris skyline with Sacre-Coeur. But where safety was concerned it was lacking. My three other friends (all girls) and I chose a private room to avoid any possible weird roommate situations. It all went well until one day we were awoken by the maid vacuuming our room. Now that sounds nice, right? No. Our room was locked, we heard no knock and were fast asleep when she entered our room. So we politely asked her to leave as we didn’t want our room serviced and she ignored us. Concerned about our lack of privacy, we went down to the front desk and notified them of the situation. They claimed it was a miscommunication between maintenance staff, but were not prepared to do anything about it. Coming from America where customer service is almost over-the-top this was a massive surprise. Knowing that staff could enter our room without permission and face no consequences was a bit unnerving. What if it had been a man? What if someone decided to hurt us while we were fast asleep? These were all questions running through our minds, and subsequently, our decision was to not stay there ever again.
Hotel: To me, the uptick in price was worth it. I stayed at a small boutique hotel with a partial view of the Eiffel Tower. We had no instances of unwanted visitors, and the staff was all very professional. Complimentary breakfast, including fresh croissants and baguettes with jam, was given to us in the morning also saving us some cash from not having to sit down at an overpriced tourist cafe.
My recommendation is to budget the price of a hotel; safety took priority for me over a youthful, trendy crowd.
Types of transport don’t vary too much in big cities, there’s usually some sort of underground rail, ride-app services, and taxis. The same is in Paris. Personally, I found Ubers and the metro to be the most useful, as a general rule I use taxis as a last resort because of price. As a girl, using public transport at night is a big no-no, unless you’re in a large group. Uber’s safety features make it the better choice for night outings. During the day the Parisian metro is a cheap way to get around the city, you go to a kiosk in a station and follow the directions to purchase tickets.
This doesn’t apply to just girls, but keep an eye on your bags! Pick-pocketing in Paris is very prevalent, and if you’re not careful with your belongings then you’ll likely be a victim. Keep bags in front of you when walking in a large crowd, and keep things in your front pockets. An additional warning is for when you happen upon street vendors selling miniature Eiffel Towers in tourist areas, they will try to charge you an exorbitant amount of money for one. If you can haggle you’ll be fine, but if you don’t have a strong will to argue with vendors in public I would steer clear.
Creepy men are everywhere, Paris is no different. At night I suggest always walking in groups and keeping an eye on each other. My friends and I were catcalled and followed, but stood our ground and made sure we moved to a well-lit and crowded area.
Overall Paris is a beautiful city, with so many lavish and iconic sights to see. The last thing you want to worry about is your safety while you enjoy your trip.