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Back pack in Paris?

My wife and I are headed for two weeks in Paris - first timers. Expect to do a lot of walking and carrying "stuff" - I typically have a small backpack in my travels in larger US Cities. Is this a problem - security or otherwise as we wander in Paris?

Posted by
21724 posts

You probably will have to check it for museums, etc. But lots of people carry day bags.

Posted by
807 posts

security do open it and look at checkpoints but it should be no issue.

Posted by
11288 posts

Just make sure there is nothing valuable in it. As long as it contains things like maps, a bottle of water, guidebook, etc. you're fine on the street.

Posted by
6627 posts

My life got a lot better when I discovered I did not need to carry enough stuff to survive the apocalypse while wandering around a city. I buy clothes with a few hidden pockets and don't carry a purse or bag 90% of the time. No aching shoulders, not pickpocket buffet on my back. And surprisingly I rarely discover I desperately need something I am not lugging about. We have messenger bags and when doing day trips we carry one with us for the lunch and a sweater or whatever and take turns carrying it.

Posted by
8406 posts

Just be sure to move it around protected under your arm in any crowd.

Posted by
1839 posts

It is often advised to carry it on the front of your body in crowded trains/metro or in museums. Just know that pick pocketer are around looking to find someone off guard. Keep all money and credit cards in a money belt and a small backpack for a sweater, water, etc. We have never been a target because we keep everything buttoned up pretty tight!

You'll love Paris!

Posted by
6627 posts

LOL Nothing makes you look more like a goober than wearing a back pack on the front. It makes you look like a frightened rabbit. You don't need a diaper bag, you just need common sense. Don't put valuables on your back unless in an inner closed compartment that would be very difficult to get to. You should never have a backpack on your back in the metro anyway as it is rude to swing around and clock people with it, which is what happens. Most of the time you simply don't need to lug that much stuff. You will probably be asked to check it in a museum if it is at all stuffed and men in particular end up having to check them. A woman carrying a pack, that is not too stuffed, over one shoulder and under the arm will usually be allowed in as it reads as a purse. A pack on the back is a risk to art, so wearing them on your back in museums if you manage to enter is likely to get you sent back to check or at least warned.

Posted by
14917 posts

My backpack opens by zipper from either end. When I'm worried about pickpockets, I just slip a cheap key ring through the holes in both zipper tabs. It takes a few seconds to do (or undo), but it's enough to discourage any would-be thieves. In fact the one I have now is a tiny Eiffel tower that I bought for 50 cents in Paris. Great souvenir.

Some sights will ask you to check it. You can usually avoid this by carrying it as a day bag over one shoulder and tucked under your arm. Or you may be asked to wear it in the front.

I find a backpack more comfortable than anything over one shoulder. Just be careful when you stop - don't be careless. I will put my leg through the strap if the pack is on the ground or I will keep it on my lap or next to me on my seat with my arm through it. You'd be surprised at the number of packs hung on the back of chairs or plopped down on a bench.

Posted by
7609 posts

I wear a backpack around the city all the time. It's just fine -- as long as you keep Janet's recommendations about courtesy to your fellow metro or bus passengers, and Chani's about protection, in mind. Yes you may have to check it in at some museums but that's not a big deal. If it's what you're used to sightseeing with, it's just fine.

Posted by
1767 posts

Companies make backpacks that have compartments only accessible from the backside (side that is against your back when wearing).
The expensive versions of these have a rotation feature where you undo a safety latch and pull a rip cord type hoop and this area swings around to the front so you can access the secure area like a fanny pack and swing it back all without taking off the bag.
The inexpensive versions you have to remove the backpack in order to open the secure area.

Either way both are pick pocket proof if on your back.

Posted by
2466 posts

If it's really a small backpack - the size that would contain a regular-format magazine - it would be OK in museums. Of course, the temptation is always to fill the thing up with stuff you pick up along the way. If you go to the museum in the morning, you will be fine, but the backpack will be searched.

Posted by
8406 posts

In fact most art museums around the world require you to wear any small backpack on one shoulder., not on the back. The concern is someone accidently scratching a painting or bumping the pack against a statue if worn on the back. Large backpacks aren't allowed at all generally.

I have a small backpack, Francinel, that I bought in Europe years ago and I check it.