Paris to Open Migrant Reception Centre in Historic Former Town Hall

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The Paris city government has announced it will be transforming the historic former town hall in the city’s 1st arrondissement into a reception centre for asylum seekers and migrants.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo announced the move on Sunday, saying that the humanitarian mission that was previously located in the notorious Porte de la Chapelle area would be moved to the very centre of Paris in the vicinity of the world-famous Louvre museum.

“In the former town hall of the 1st arrondissement, we will install the humanitarian stop that has been open for several years at the Porte de la Chapelle. Paris will continue to play its role as a safe haven,” Hidalgo said.

According to a report from French broadcaster BFMTV, around 100 to 200 migrants will be housed in the new reception facility. They will have access to care and sanitary areas to clean themselves as well as be able to start their asylum claims at the facility.

The move comes as thousands of migrants remain on the streets of the French capital, many living in makeshift tent cities in various parts of the city, despite occasionally being evacuated and moved by local authorities.

Earlier this year, police removed 1,436 migrants from a tent camp in the north of Paris at the Porte d’Aubervilliers and took many of them to the 15 gymnasiums commandeered to accommodate migrants. According to reports at the time, it was the 60th time the area had been evacuated since the height of the migrant crisis in 2015.

A high number of those living on the streets of the Paris region also claim to be underage, and many engage in crime while being addicted to highly addictive drugs such as benzodiazepine, commonly known as “benzos”.

French police say that in 2019 they arrested over 6,300 underage migrants in the Paris region and claim the number has only increased over the last three years.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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