We were in PAris last week and a word of advice...watch for the pickpockets!!! There are signs in the evelvators on the Eifel Tower even warning of them. We saw a guy at the Gare de Lyon Metro station on the A platform watching people. Luckily the police must have been watching him because he was hauled away with another guy by the National Police!!!
I was just posting a warning for people. Having grown up in NY and riding the NYC subways for years I can't remember anywhere there were signs posted warning visitors of pickpockets as there are at the Eifel Tower.
Yes there are signs at the Eiffel Tower warning you of pickpockets, but this is because it's probably the foremost tourist attraction in the world, with long lines of people waiting to get in, and then packed tightly in the elevator -- it's prime location for pickpockets to work their trade.
They are informing you so you will be aware this may happen. In visiting the tower several times, I've had no problems, but my money and valuables are always safely under control.
I've been to Paris 3 times in the past few years and have never felt unsafe, either for my person or my belongings. Of course, I use a daypack that I wear on my front (NOT my back) with the strap crossing my body. And I keep my eyes open. That doesn't mean they're not there, just be watchful but not scared.
Don't scare people like this! Paris has no more pickpockets than anywhere else. Like any large city, be aware of your surroundings, walk like you know where you are going, keep your wallet in your front pocket and don't be foolish.
I have taken the NYC subways for years and years, lived in the heart of Times Square (when it WAS scary) and now live outside Newark, NJ. Nobody has EVER messed with me or tried to pick MY pocket.
Thanks for that Ed
It's always good to see these reminders on here that we need to be careful and watch our surroundings :)
Once you are pickpocketted, you learn to be very careful. Thanks for letting people know, Ed.
There was an "attempt" to rip me off in Rome. I literally ran the kid down, pushed his face into the concrete. ALL he got was either a broken nose and/or severally bruised face. Many startled people stood there and said/did nothing. My money and credit card went untouched thanks to one of these nerdy looking front waist belts. For a guy these things are very disturbing to wear, but they keep your personnel stuff safe. I can attest to that. Just keep your belongings in front of you and you'll be fine.
My first day in Rome I, like many tourists, went to the Colloseum. What I didn't expect to see was on one side the Carbinieri (police) beating the hell out of a couple of kids. They were caught pickpocketing and rather than take them to jail, the police inflict punishment right then and there.
Later, I was told, by a police officer, that if I catch one of these kids trying to rob me, it would be fine for me to hit him. No police officer would bother me. In fact, he said, if a group approaches, the only way to get rid of them is to start swinging.
Sad state of affairs, but a necessity.
As far as those waist belts, fanny packs, whatever you want to call them. Be careful. I personally know people who have had their wallets taken out of them by those kids. They're so small, they can get close and you won't even notice. If you insist on carrying your valuables in one, you might want to think about getting one that can be locked.
Ed,, Paris like serveral other well known touristy cities in Europe does have its fair share of pickpockets, and it is funny how pickpocketing is so popular in Europe, but rare in North America, guess that if you have a gun you don't need to pickpocket.
I agree new travellors need to be made aware of this, anyone who is experienced is well aware of this danger.
I do consider Paris much safer then the American cities I have gone to, and even to some of our large Canadain cities.
Even Rick has been hit by theives. I wouldn't call it the "best" experience, but we all learn if ever hit by pickpockets.
That is why you do not carry your entire life savings with you when traveling. As Rick said: Take only what you need for the day, and 1 card.
I've had pick-pockets try to get into my day pack on the Champs Elyses and in front of Buckingham palace. The 2 girls in London were VERY GOOD, I didn't notice a thing. I keep my money and passport inside a small purse that has a safety pin keeping to shut. Then I safety pin the purse to the inside of my pack. Even though they got into my pack, they couldn't get into the purse. We're going to Italy this year, but we're taking money belts!
Frank- In reading your reply I was reminded of what happened to several friends of ours. My parents next door neighbors travel several times a year and never used a money belt. Last year, they were both robbed of their wallets (at separate times even) in Rome. My husbands co-worker was on at the stairs in Rome and a bunch of old ladies surrounded him, blatantly grabbing at him for his belongings and no one came to his aid. It wasn't until he hit one of the ladies in the face and knocked her down that they backed off. Don't know if I could do that. Money-belt with a safety-pin is always my way.
Ed - I was almost pick pocketed on the Eiffel Tower elevator a couple of months ago. I was alone, on a break from my tour group. I waited about an hour to get on the elevator; when I finally did a lady behind me put her hands on my shoulders and shook me, she said something in another language - I assume it was "yippee, we're finally on the elevator"! I turned around and firmly said "no" (get your hands off of me). When we exited the elevator her male partner bumped me very hard with his stomach.
I did my Eiffel Tower visit then stopped at a cafe on the way back to the hotel. I used the restroom and noticed that the back pockets of my Dockers were open. They tried to pick pocket me! Fortunately, I was wearing my RS money belt. I had worn a 3/4 length raincoat every other day but had a short denim jacket on that day (because it rained the night before & my coat was still wet) - the longer coat would have helped. Another vote for “wear a money belt!”
Eli - That Romebuddy site is great! Thanks for posting it.
My two cents on this topic is to assume that pickpockets abound in the big cities and use your money belt accordingly. I hate to see people on this site going to elaborate lengths to ward off pickpocketing - customized internal zippers, choosing an inappropriate wardrobe so not to look like a tourist, etc.
Just wear a money belt and keep some petty cash in your pocket. Be sensible about your camera and don't keep anything you can't afford to lose in your day pack. If you can do that, then it's all kind of interesting. If you find yourself getting too concerned, park yourself on a bench to the side of a place like the foot of the Eiffel Tower or the bottom of the Spanish Steps and watch the crowd. You'll soon see how it works.
Of the many times I have been in France I have only once noticed a pickpocket. Once on a crowded Metro, my brother was standing close to the door and a pickpocket put his hand in my brother's front pocket hoping to grab and jump off at the upcoming crowded Metro stop. My brother noticed and slapped his hand, but my brother was also not carrying his billfold in his pockets. He was using a money belt. I never leave home without mine. In fact, I am leaving for Paris in a week and the first thing my husband asked as I was packing, "Did you pack your moneybelt?" Paris is really one of the safest large cities in the world. Just use common sense.
One of the main reasons pickpockets prey on toursist besides having vaulables on them is because there is little chance the tourist will return for a trial should the pickpocket be caught.
So, if the pickpocket has any doubt about you being a tourist or a local, they will move on unless they don't care. Such as in Italy, where the police don't bother arresting the pickpockets, the sentence is carried out right then and there.
But, if you give them an opportunity, they will strike.
Do locks tend to deter them? for example would they see a lock and just - think "well, the other pockets wont have anything in it" or that its just too hard to bother?
I'm going to be taking my daypack around with me which will have my video camera in it (so willhave a lock on it at all times) will they still try to get into it becasue they see a lock and think tourist?!
We were in Paris last March and on the day we visited Notre Dame they were having a veneration of the Crown of Thorns Relic. It was very crowded but we'd arrived early and got a seat 4 rows from the front. As the service was starting, a well-dressed young woman sat in the empty chair next to me.
It was a very intense and focused service and I about jumped a mile when I felt a little tug on my raincoat pocket and my small fold up umbrella clattered to the floor. I bent down to pick it up and when I looked up, the woman next to me had vanished. The surprise was on her, I guess. She probably hoped that she'd score some cash by trolling in my coat pocket, but instead, dislodged the umbrella and made a racket. My wallet was safely clipped to an inner pocket of my travel vest, which was buttoned up under my coat.