The district, whose streets are usually lined with large groups of young men of African and Arab origin, is located around La Chapelle metro station on the border of the 10th and 18th arrondissements in the northeast of the French capital.
The current row over the alleged no-gone zone echoes a controversy widely reported by French and foreign press late last year, when a bar in the Paris suburb of Sevran was accused of being one of many public places in the area where women were effectively banned.
Now the issue has moved almost into the city centre.
The demonstration on Friday, organised by SOS La Chapelle, a group of local residents and shop owners, aimed to highlight growing concern over harassment of women around the metro station and along the Rue Pajol and other streets in the rundown district that is dominated by an overhead metro line.
“The problems in the area are real. It is aggressive and you see men fighting in the streets. Women do not feel safe,” Clare Rougy, one of the dozens of women who turned out for the demo, told The Local.