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Montparnasse is a bustling neighborhood located on the left bank of the Seine River in Paris. It was once considered the heart of artistic and intellectual life in Paris during the 1920s and 1930s, and was home to famous painters, writers, and musicians. Today, Montparnasse remains a vibrant area with plenty of restaurants, cafes, theaters, and shops. But with any new destination, safety is always a concern. So, is Montparnasse safe for tourists? Let’s explore this question in our guide to Montparnasse safety.
Introduction to Montparnasse: History and Culture
Montparnasse, a storied district in Paris’s 14th arrondissement, holds a rich tapestry of history and culture that continues to charm locals and tourists alike. Birthed from the ashes of an old farming village, Montparnasse began its cultural ascent in the 20th century, when it became the beating heart of intellectual and artistic life in Paris.
This was the time when famed intellectuals, artists, and writers such as Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, and Gertrude Stein gathered in its cafes and studios, earning Montparnasse the reputation of being the hub of the Modernist movement.
Today, the district harmoniously melds its vibrant past with the bustling rhythm of the present, hosting a plethora of cafes, bistros, shops, theatres, and iconic landmarks such as the Montparnasse Tower and the historic Cimetière du Montparnasse.
As you meander through the streets of Montparnasse, you are walking through centuries of culture and history, an adventure that makes every visit a unique experience.
Crime Rates in Montparnasse
According to Crime in Paris. Safety in Paris (numbeo.com), crime rates in Montparnasse are relatively low compared to other areas in Paris. The most common types of crimes reported in Montparnasse are pickpocketing incidents aimed at tourists. This type of crime can happen anywhere in Paris but is more prevalent in crowded areas like train stations or tourist attractions.
Given its historical significance and cultural attractions, the area is well-patrolled and monitored.
It’s important to note that while no neighborhood is completely crime-free, Montparnasse is considered a relatively safe area in Paris. By staying aware of your surroundings and taking common-sense precautions, you can enjoy all the culture and history this neighborhood has to offer without worrying about your safety.
Tips for Staying Safe in Montparnasse
Staying safe in Montparnasse, or any foreign location, is largely about awareness and preparedness. Here are some key tips to help you enjoy a secure and memorable visit:
- Be Mindful of Pickpockets: Like in any popular tourist destination, pickpockets can be a concern in crowded places, so be mindful of your belongings. Keep your bag in front of you and your wallet in a front pocket.
- Stay Alert in Public Transport: Be particularly cautious in busy metro stations or on crowded buses. Don’t get too engrossed in your phone or map as it can make you an easy target.
- Beware of Scams: Always be wary of unsolicited offers, street games, or overly friendly strangers. Some might be distractions so others can pick your pocket.
- Navigate Safely: Stick to well-lit, populated areas, especially at night. Familiarize yourself with the area during the day before venturing out after dark.
- Stay Sober: Enjoy the Parisian nightlife, but avoid excessive alcohol consumption. It’s easier to stay aware of your surroundings when you’re sober.
- Use Reputable Taxi Services: Use well-known taxi services or ride-hailing apps to ensure your safety when traveling, especially at night.
- Know Key Phrases in French: Knowing a few key phrases in French, such as asking for help or directions, can be beneficial.
- Have Emergency Contacts: Always have the contact details of your country’s embassy, local police, and a reliable taxi service.
- Respect Local Customs and Laws: Abiding by the local customs and regulations can help you avoid any unnecessary trouble.
By keeping these tips in mind, you can focus on immersing yourself in the rich history, culture, and cuisine of Montparnasse, making your visit a delightful and memorable experience.
Public Transportation in Montparnasse
Public transportation in Montparnasse is both extensive and efficient, making it easy for tourists and locals alike to navigate the district and connect to the rest of Paris. Here are the main modes of public transport available in Montparnasse:
- Metro: Montparnasse is served by several metro lines, including lines 4, 6, 12, and 13, which all intersect at the Montparnasse-Bienvenüe station. This station acts as a significant hub, offering easy connections to various parts of Paris.
- Bus: The area is well-serviced by numerous bus routes. Buses can be a great way to sightsee while traveling between attractions, as they often offer better views of the city than the metro.
- Trains: The Gare Montparnasse, one of the six large Paris railway stations, is a major hub for intercity and regional travel, including TGV high-speed trains to the west and southwest of France.
- Taxis and Ride-Hailing Services: Taxis and ride-hailing services like Uber are readily available and offer a convenient, though more expensive, mode of transport.
- Bicycle: The Vélib’ Métropole bike-sharing program has many stations in Montparnasse. Renting a bicycle can be a fun and eco-friendly way to explore the area.
While public transportation in Montparnasse is generally safe, it’s always wise to be cautious. During peak hours, the metro and buses can become crowded, providing potential opportunities for pickpockets. Keep your belongings close, be mindful of your surroundings, and avoid displaying valuable items openly.
Safe Places to Stay in Montparnasse
Choosing a safe place to stay can greatly enhance your visit to Montparnasse, giving you peace of mind to fully enjoy your Parisian adventure. Thankfully, Montparnasse boasts a wide range of accommodations to suit different preferences and budgets. Here are some of the safest areas and hotels in Montparnasse:
- Central Montparnasse: Staying near the Montparnasse-Bienvenüe metro station or the Gare Montparnasse will place you at the heart of the action. Hotels like the Pullman Paris Montparnasse and Novotel Paris Gare Montparnasse are popular options with excellent reviews regarding safety.
- Gaîté Area: This lively area offers numerous theatres, restaurants, and shops. The Fred Hotel and Hotel Aiglon are well-regarded and centrally located options.
- Edgar Quinet Street Area: This is an artistic neighborhood renowned for its markets, cafes, and the Cimetière du Montparnasse. The Lenox Montparnasse and Hotel Berkeley are safe and comfortable choices here.
- Jardin du Luxembourg Proximity: If you prefer a serene environment, consider staying near the Jardin du Luxembourg, which is just north of Montparnasse. Hotels such as Le Fabe Hotel and Hotel des Academies et des Arts offer a quiet, safe retreat close to this beautiful park.
- Villa Montparnasse: This boutique hotel on the quiet, tree-lined rue Nicolas Chuquet is another safe and comfortable option.
While these areas and accommodations have good safety records, it’s essential to consider other factors such as availability, price, proximity to attractions, and personal preference when choosing your stay. Always check recent reviews to get a current understanding of the hotel and area safety.
Is Montparnasse Safe for Tourists?
Yes, Montparnasse is generally considered safe for tourists. This vibrant district in Paris, known for its rich cultural scene, historic charm, and the iconic Montparnasse Tower, welcomes a large number of visitors each year. Given its significance as a tourist hub, security measures are in place and the area is well patrolled.
However, it’s important to bear in mind that like in any popular tourist destination around the world, certain precautions are always advisable. Petty crimes such as pickpocketing can occasionally occur, especially in crowded areas or on public transportation.
As a visitor, it is wise to keep your belongings close and secure, especially in busy areas like metro stations and popular landmarks. Displaying expensive items like cameras or jewelry in a conspicuous manner might attract unwanted attention. Staying alert and aware of your surroundings is also crucial, particularly at night. Although Montparnasse is generally safe, sticking to well-lit and busy streets is a good practice.
Planning your travel routes in advance can help ensure your safety and comfort. Don’t hesitate to ask locals or hotel staff for advice on getting around and about any areas to avoid. Knowing a few basic phrases in French could also come in handy if you need help.
In summary, while Montparnasse is largely safe for tourists, the key to a worry-free visit lies in staying vigilant and following basic safety practices. This will ensure that your trip to Montparnasse is not just secure, but also a memorable and enriching experience.