How dangerous is Marseille ? Is Marseilles a dangerous city?
You hesitate and don’t know if it is possible to visit Marseille because you hear everywhere that Marseille is a dangerous city?
Marseille and its reputation as a dangerous city
TV, radio, newspapers and even social networks like to evoke the dangerousness of this city. For years, they have helped to anchor this bad reputation in people’s heads…
All the more so as the Numbeo website published a ranking last September highlighting Marseille as the « most dangerous city in Europe » ahead of Naples, Catania or Turin in Italy!
I’m not going to contradict the site’s study, but simply to point out (as some editorialists have already done) that the ranking was based on a survey of visitors who gave their simple feelings about insecurity in Marseille. No records, no figures, no official statistics confirm this ranking. Moreover, with only about sixty people having replied about Marseille, one can have doubts about the value of the results …
Having said that, we can’t say that Marseille is a totally safe city where you can walk around everywhere without any risks…
Indeed, it is unfortunately well known for its trafficking of all kinds (prostitution, drugs, weapons) and for its high crime rate. However, it should also be pointed out that the crime rate in question is mostly related to settling scores between rival gangs or for drug territory business .
Is Marseille really dangerous ?
Just as it can be said that there are dangerous neighbourhoods in New York, but not all New York neighbourhoods are dangerous?
We can say that there are dangerous neighborhoods in Marseille but not all of them are dangerous !!!
Nobody is going to stop himself from going to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Manhattan because the Bronx or some areas of Queens have crime rates that make the hot districts of Medellin blush !
So don’t miss a splendid day in the sunshine of the old port simply because there are a few sensitive cities in Marseille… If you decide to visit Marseille, here is an itinerary that I recommend: Marseille’s must-see walking tour.
What are the dangerous neighborhoods in Marseille?
If there are certain places to avoid in Marseille, they are undoubtedly the northern districts. Yes, but not only that!
When we talk about the northern districts of Marseille, this includes the districts of the 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th arrondissements (see map above).
And to these 4 districts, it is necessary, unfortunately, to add some others…
The 3rd arrondissement with, in particular, the Bellevue city or Felix Pyat as it is called by the inhabitants of Marseille.
The 11th arrondissement and its Air Bel city
But also the 9th arrondissement, notably the Hauts de Mazargues (Cayolle-la Soude).
And finally, in the 1st arrondissement, the Belsunce, which would also be a somewhat « hot » district.
What are the least dangerous neighbourhoods in Marseille ?
All except the districts listed above!
Walking in Marseille is no more risky than walking in Barcelona, Rome or even Paris!
Are the tourist areas of Marseille safe ?
On the map below, you can locate the main tourist attractions of Marseille in the 1st, 4th, 6th and 7th districts.
These districts are not defined as dangerous. Of course, as in all big cities, tourists should be careful, beware of pickpockets, not leave their bags unattended in cafés or restaurants or venture into a narrow, dark alley at night…
In which district should you choose your hotel in Marseille?
The most chic areas to live in are around the Prado and in the 7th, 8th and 9th districts.
But for tourists who want to be as close as possible to tourist sites and lively places (cafés, restaurants…), the Vieux-Port district is recommended.
Tourists who choose the Vieux Port district will be close to the old port of course, the main historical monuments, museums, other typical districts but also restaurants, cafés and other animations.
And for those who want to stay in the typical district of the « Marseille of postcards », I advise you the oldest district of Marseille: le Panier. Located in the historical center of the city right next to the Vieux Port, it is a well-placed and very picturesque district with its narrow streets and pretty Provencal facades. The Panier district is therefore ideal for a tourist stay!
Finally, I would also recommend the Saint-Victor district located south of the Old Port. It is a quiet district which is becoming fashionable and has some good small restaurants. This district is nice and remains much cheaper than its very popular neighbour Le Vieux Port.