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Paris, precautions from pickpockets?

On our Paris trip, I'd like to be able to carry my iPhone around for photos, listening to RS audio tours, maps, etc. I have a huge iPhone 6+ so it can't easily fit anywhere. So, I purchased a phone case with a lanyard. I expect to hold the phone in my hand with the lanyard wrapped around my wrist.
Additionally, I don't want to carry a purse, so I bought a wrist wallet, for credit cards, cash, etc.

My husband plans to keep his phone (smaller iPhone) in his front (shorts) pocket, and does not plan to have a lanyard case. I don't think he'll have any other items on him.. We plan to leave our passports in the hotel.

What do you think as far as our level of preparedness? Is a large phone with lanyard safe? Is a wrist wallet ok? How about regular-sized phone in front pocket?


Posted by
3800 posts

I'm not sure I'd like holding onto a large phone attached to my wrist for hours at a time for the sole purpose of taking pictures. Try walking around with a phone attached to your wrist by a lanyard for 5-6 hours before you leave to see if this works for you.

We both take iPhones and use them in Europe as cameras, occasionally texting one another and sometimes to look up a location. I keep mine tucked away in a small, cloth, cross body simple purse. My husband keeps his in his front pants pocket. So far this has been comfortable for us.

Posted by
22887 posts

Front pockets are not safe as someone just posted. If phone is on a lanyard tucked under a jacket or a secure pocket when not in use, is fine. Remember, the harder it is for you to get to it, it will harder for the pickpocket. A good money belt/pouch under your clothing is the safest for the majority of your valuations. You keep a small amount of cash and maybe one credit card in you pockets.

You should review this question ----

Posted by
784 posts

Personally, I think you would be better served by a cross-body bag, so you can have your hands free for taking pictures, etc. As you describe it, you will have a wrist wallet hanging from one wrist and your iPhone lanyard in your other hand - wouldn't work for me. You would be hard pressed to hold your iPhone steady enough to take a picture while your wrist wallet is weighting down your other arm. A dangling wallet might also be a target for a snatched and grab. Also, placing phones and wallets on a table while eating near a sidewalk is aa bad idea. What about maps and guidebooks? Glasses (if needed). All the other stuff accumulated while touring, not to mention stuff we normally carry around. A cross-body bag doesn't need to be huge, but it is easy to hold close to your body and should have zipper pockets keeping things secure.

For your husband to keep any valuables in a front pocket is a bad idea. One bump by someone in a crowded Metro station and it will be gone.

Posted by
37 posts

My daughter has been walking around with an iPhone 7 plus in her hand while we've been touring France for the past week and a half (in Paris now, traveling to Nice tomorrow). We have not had any problems. Most of the French have phones in their hands, as well. Please note, however, that we have not used the Metro in Paris - probably best to secure the phone there.

Posted by
7617 posts

anything easily accessed is unsafe. I'd hate to be carrying a phone all day and a wrist wallet sounds vulnerable. I use hidden inner pockets in clothes (harder in summer to be sure) or a cross body bag. My husband having finally discovered that yes, pickpockets can easily pick a front pocket now uses a neck wallet for his walking around money and one card - under his shirt. Front pockets are not at all safe. Pick pockets easily lift things from them.

The key is inaccessible for a person next to you but convenient and not stressful for yourself. Bum bags, backpacks, front pockets etc are all vulnerable. Cross body bags properly used, neck wallets properly used and hidden inner pockets are much safer. Most picks are seamless and don't involve physical force;most victims don't notice until later when they look for their valuables and find them gone. If you are not a walking buffet, they will move to someone who is an easier target.

Posted by
9 posts

Hi everyone, thanks for your answers.
I should clarify: The wrist wallet does not hang off my wrist. It's actually on my wrist:

As far as a cross-body purse, I really can't do that, as I have neck problems and can't have something hanging on my shoulder and neck all day.

Given that we are leaving in a day and don't have time to buy lanyards and special pockets, what would be the best way for my husband to secure his phone?

Posted by
2466 posts

I think a wrist wallet is asking for trouble and could be stolen from you in a heartbeat.

Maybe you could buy à neck pouch in the airport shops. This would be hidden and not out in the open like your wrist wallet.
You might be able to buy lanyards for your husband's phone there too. Make sure you keep your phones in your pocket when not using them.

Posted by
22887 posts

There is a high probability that even if you do nothing, you will not have any problems. While petty theft, pickpocketing is a problem, it does not happen to 50%, 75%, 90% of the tourists. It is only a few unlucky ones who have problems. By taking a few precautions you can reduce your changes to near zero. Just use common sense and trying to keep most of you few valuables out of sight.

Posted by
183 posts

Look on line for pacsafe wallets/ handbags/ shoulder bags . They have inside locking clips , wire mesh built into the material and straps so they can't cut them . Inside locking pockets . Used them in Paris 2 years ago .felt very safe , held my phone , wallet , water bottles . Etc.

Posted by
490 posts

Check rules for carrying passport on you...

Many Europeans use lanyards, for phones,they make taking photos a bit safer while getting jostled in crowded spots. You will even see lot's of young Frenchmen with small bags just big enough to fit a phone and cigs around their necks! ;)

Posted by
15 posts

As mentioned, the pickpockets go after that which is easily accessible, so it's essential that anything important to you is not.

A wrist lanyard that attaches to the phone is excellent for hanging onto your phone while out and about before storing it safely each and every time. My phone is always attached to my wrist with the lanyard when not in a secure pouch or bag.

For your husband, consider something like this

(Note Skymall...)

It's best to choose one that's just large enough for passport (while in transit), phone, cards, cash. Should hold the phone snugly, but not be too roomy.

With the belt loop attachment, it's worn between the shorts and himself. It can be worn outside most of the time, if you don't mind it flopping with every step, but it's best to secure it well ahead of going into a metro/RER station.

For sure, check the airport shops. Securing your phone is not the time to quibble too much over cost. But, do choose carefully.

No, not a front pocket. A seasoned traveler on the TA forum reported recently that his phone was lifted as he got onto an RER train with the thief running off the train and the doors closing right behind him. For sure, the thief took notice of where he put it as he was getting on the train. And, I've seen many a phone slide out of a front pocket and onto the sidewalk at a nearby table, unnoticed by the owner.

For yourself, you may want to re-think a cross body bag, which does not have to be large or heavy - just large enough for the phone and other small essentials. A wrist wallet becomes a huge nuisance very quickly. Hands free is better.

This has been the perfect bag for me

I use the inside zipper pocket for the phone. The outside zipper pocket is really handy if you'll have a Navigo (locate the chip and you'll know which area to wave over the scanner without removing the pass) or other transit passes/tickets. All weighs just under a pound. I nearly never remove the bag, even when using rest rooms. The trick to cross body bags is weight and comfortable strap. If necessary, you can hold the bag in your hand as you're walking. Or, have your husband carry both phones in the bag when not in use, or for a break. Or, you can adjust the shoulder strap and wear it around your waist.

A good place to find a large selection of small cross body bags is BHV, Galeries Lafayette, etc. But, first check the roving markets where you'll often find not only great selection but, often, the exact same products for considerably less.

Otherwise, you may be happy with the belt loop model if you can find one that fits your phone.

If you'll be using your phones for battery draining apps such as the camera, Google Maps, you may want to seriously consider a portable battery charger. (I carry mine in the bag with the phone. We share one 16750mAh which is more than enough for our Androids with heavy use.)

Posted by
12154 posts

I think the lanyard for your phone is a good choice. You will need to add awareness of your surroundings. In certain situations, you need to keep a tighter grip on the lanyard and phone than others.

I'm not sure about the wrist wallet. I like a neck wallet. I put one arm through the lanyard so it rides at my side, under an arm, rather than in front. The idea is to never access this in public, so potential thieves can't see where you keep valuables. I used to use a moneybelt more but, these days, slim fit pants don't have as much room under them.

I think it's best to carry a little money in your pocket (nothing that would be a major disaster to lose) and leave your neck wallet, with your passport and credit cards, alone. The idea is the same regardless of what you use. I suppose a wrist wallet would work as long as it's inside your clothes and you don't access it.

A pocket is never secure, but it's safer when you have your hand in it on a crowded subway.

A lot of people leave their passports in the hotel. I keep mine with me, because it's your only legal ID, but out of reach in my neck wallet.

For security reasons, leave valuable watches and jewelry at home. I doubt you would be mugged for them but they might cause thieves to focus on you more than they would otherwise.

Posted by
3090 posts

It's my impression your wrist wallet is for the credit card and money you might need during the day. I think it looks great! I'm going to look into one of these as well. I can't see how you wrist wallet is easily accessible, especially if the zipper is turned toward the inside of your wrist. It looks like a great place to keep a credit card. All you back up financial documents/PP either stays in something secure; ie, interior pocket or money belt/neck/leg wallet or in your hotel room, as others have indicated. Your lanyard is good as well. Don't over think it...I say, but do anyway. 'They' are not looking for you, per se, just an easy target and I think this will not make you an easy target. I've never been a target. Have a great time!

Posted by
1 posts

I'm very confused and frustrated. As a man, I don't have a purse. Traveling next month, I will have an inside money belt, but still can't figure out what to do with my iPhone. According to what I've read, I shouldn't carry my phone in my pocket, and I can't carry a bag into museums or most tourist sites. Hanging it on a strap from my neck under my shirt doesn't seem like a realistic solution without basically taking my shirt off every time I want to take a picture.

What am I supposed to do?

Posted by
15 posts


A phone is not secure in a pocket of slacks, but if you'll be wearing or carrying a jacket, inside pockets, best if there's a zipper pocket that will accommodate your phone (even better if the zipper pull is in the reverse direction), are much better.

Otherwise, it's best to find a case that will accommodate your phone and is versatile. This one, for example, has a strap that can be worn around the neck, cross body, around your waist (all depending, though you can always replace the strap with a longer one), and also can be slipped over a belt or attached to a belt loop with the carabiner clip. Note that zipper pulls than go around a corner are far more secure than one that just goes across the top of the opening.

I've seen locals (many in business suits) with similar cases/bags all over. Though, locals tend to have phones of a much more practical size. As with bags for the ladies, there's a huge selection in shops and at the markets once in Paris. You might observe what other gents are using and shop for one that would suit you.

There is a huge selection of cases/bags on Amazon and other web resources. It's a matter of finding one that will accommodate your phone with useful features. Beware (if they're even still available) of cases with plastic belt clips. Phones these days are too large and heavy so those break easily.

Assuming you can just keep your hand on your phone while in a pants pocket is not a good idea. There will be plenty of times when you don't have a free hand, particularly riding the metro when the train abruptly slows down and you need both hands to steady yourself - and the pickpockets know exactly when that will occur, grab, and bolt when the doors open.

You can carry bags into museums and tourist sights.

As mentioned, thieves go after what is easily accessible. They watch to see where people put their phones, wallets, etc.

Posted by
33 posts

That Civita hidden pocket that rick sells looks great. I've only been to Paris once and didn't have any problems. But next time I won't make it easy. I have to ask this person I know that speaks french, that I need a snappy phrase when they stick that piece of paper in front of you, after they ask, "Do you speak english?"

Posted by
2466 posts

All you have to say is "NO!" - keep on walking and keep your valuables safe.
They give up easily.

Posted by
2466 posts

On the other hand, if inna.nill's wrist wallet attaches with Velcro, it might be wise to switch to another system, such as a neck pouch. I would not advise keeping credit cards or cash in a wrist wallet that attaches with Velcro.
Remember how often you will use your hands...

Posted by
782 posts

I carry a small wallet in my front pocket that contains money,credit cards and photo copy of my passport,my pocket is velcroed so I would feel it opening and I keep my I phone in my inner jacket pocket or shirt pocket and my wife has a cross body purse with steel cable in it,this has worked well since 1995.

Posted by
12154 posts

I've used a neck lanyard for my camera before. Not a bulky neck strap, it's essentially the same as a wrist lanyard but long enough to wear around your neck. It would work on a phone and you could either tuck the phone inside your shirt or jacket when you're not using it or put in a shirt or jacket pocket, while still around your neck. The lanyard may be enough for thieves to target other people.

I like your wrist wallet for your walking around money. It seems harder for thieves to get to than a pocket. That said, if it's in the open, don't get complacent. Thieves are expert at figuring out how to get into things without people realizing.

Posted by
2466 posts

If I were using a wrist wallet, I would put it in a secure pocket and use either Velcro or a big diaper pin to keep the pocket closed.
Really a recipe for disaster, in my opinion.

Posted by
9 posts

Everyone, thanks so much for all your suggestions.
We were not pickpocketed, although we did see a few people "working" there.
Some thoughts:
I loved my wrist wallet (including Amazon link here for your convenience):

It was super easy to wear.. You just slip it on your wrist like a wristband. I kept the zippered part on the inside of my wrist, and had my credit card and debit card in there, plus a few euros. Outside pocket was for lip balm :)

The only thing I'd say about it, if you're not a tall/large person, it will look kind of big on your forearm and won't look great in photos. If you're looking to be super-fashionable in Paris, this won't help. I didn't care, so it was fine for me.

Also, I did end up buying a light cross-body bag. I was hoping to go without one, but found a good secure one at Target. I'm glad I did, as I used it to carry my iPhone, Museum Pass, metro tickets, and some tissues the whole time.

One thing I noticed is that many locals, though not all of them, have much smaller phones than we do. The huge smartphone bug hasn't affected them like it had us in the United States.

Hope that this helps someone to have a wonderful time in Paris! We miss it already!