Paris France help/suggestions for women

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lws6772
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Paris France help/suggestions for women

Post by lws6772 » Mon Mar 02, 2015 12:53 pm

My wife, daughter-in-law and seven year old grandson are flying to Paris for about a week . None of them(or me) have ever traveled abroad. My wife needs a good way to secure her money/credit cards, etc. She has been to the Rick Stevens site regarding pick pockets. Most of what she found talks about money belts, but she wants something women can wear, maybe around the neck, etc. Any suggestions, specific types/brands, etc of what Bogelheads use would be greatly appreciated. Also, any Bogelhead recommended eating/dining spots and shopping/flea markets would also be greatly appreciated. Thanks again.
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sls239
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Re: Paris France help/suggestions for women

Post by sls239 » Mon Mar 02, 2015 1:02 pm

A cross body bag with an outer and inner zipper should do the trick. I'm fond of Baggallini, and you can find them sometimes at TJMaxx.

ResearchMed
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Re: Paris France help/suggestions for women

Post by ResearchMed » Mon Mar 02, 2015 1:03 pm

Have her take a look also at pacsafe.com

They have some of the same types of items that Rick Steves has on his website, but Pacsafe has metal wiring to lessen the chance that straps/etc., can be just cut.

Also, have her read up (google) on pickpocketing.

It isn't meant to alarm her, but to help her know what to watch for.

One common one, probably especially at women, is a stranger asking (while pointing at the ground or holding out a ring) "Is this your ring?"
And while the person bends over to look (or such), that's when the pockets get picked or the purse gets grabbed.

There are many others.

The main thing is, ignore others, whether they are asking for help or directions.
Yes, it's not friendly, but it's prudent.

RM
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downshiftme
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Re: Paris France help/suggestions for women

Post by downshiftme » Mon Mar 02, 2015 1:07 pm

As a visitor, my daughter had good success with a pouch on a string that she hung over her neck and under her sweater. I've seen these called passport holders, or commonly used in industrial settings as badge holders (although visible, not hidden, for use displaying a badge.) Later when she stayed for some months as an extended visitor, she became comfortable enough that she just kept money and cards in her front pockets and reserved the pouch for days when she had no suitable pockets.

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FelixTheCat
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Re: Paris France help/suggestions for women

Post by FelixTheCat » Mon Mar 02, 2015 1:14 pm

downshiftme wrote:As a visitor, my daughter had good success with a pouch on a string that she hung over her neck and under her sweater. I've seen these called passport holders, or commonly used in industrial settings as badge holders (although visible, not hidden, for use displaying a badge.) Later when she stayed for some months as an extended visitor, she became comfortable enough that she just kept money and cards in her front pockets and reserved the pouch for days when she had no suitable pockets.
I have "pouch on a string". I used it mainly for my passports, flight reservations and hotel accommodations. I got it because I kept getting tired of taking the information out of a carry on bag. It works really well.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Paris France help/suggestions for women

Post by ResearchMed » Mon Mar 02, 2015 6:28 pm

downshiftme wrote:As a visitor, my daughter had good success with a pouch on a string that she hung over her neck and under her sweater. I've seen these called passport holders, or commonly used in industrial settings as badge holders (although visible, not hidden, for use displaying a badge.) Later when she stayed for some months as an extended visitor, she became comfortable enough that she just kept money and cards in her front pockets and reserved the pouch for days when she had no suitable pockets.
We both used these last year in Italy, and we'll probably use them again on a return trip this May.

When we were in the Caribbean (port stops on a cruise), then we used the fanny/belly(?) packs (worn in front so we could keep an eye on them). And we also had a bag with towels a few times, lest the beaches beckon...

However, we'll probably switch to the versions that Pacsafe offers, because of the wire that would interfere with a quick cut-and-grab attempt.

Mostly, we tried to keep enough cash and one charge card handy, in a pocket that wasn't too convenient for pickpockets, so that we weren't fishing around and displaying those holders hanging under shirts.

We'll probably get one of the cut-resistant bags for smaller items and also for meds, to keep in the hotel, one that can attach to a permanent item in the room.
Better safe than sorry.

It's a delicate balance to "be prepared and alert" and also to relax and have a good time.

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GerryL
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Re: Paris France help/suggestions for women

Post by GerryL » Mon Mar 02, 2015 6:53 pm

I'm interested in this discussion since I plan to travel to Paris later this year. I lived in Paris more than 40 years ago and didn't have trouble (I also didn't have much money) but I understand that the pickpockets have become much more of a problem. I like the idea of the conference badge pocket on a cord since I have several, but I may opt for a money belt as well so I won't have to leave valuables in my apartment.

Paris flea market -- Marche au Puce -- will take you to the area where you had to be careful about pickpockets way back when I lived there. Very crowded. Not saying don't go, just be especially careful.

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Re: Paris France help/suggestions for women

Post by livesoft » Mon Mar 02, 2015 7:11 pm

When going around Paris, don't take anything of value with you. All you need is a credit card. Leave everything else back in the hotel safe: passport, keys, other cards, etc.
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downshiftme
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Re: Paris France help/suggestions for women

Post by downshiftme » Mon Mar 02, 2015 7:21 pm

Worst places for pickpockets in my experience were on Paris Metro, both in the stations and on the trains. Pickpockets took advantage of the press of bodies and the timing of doors to make snatch and grab attempts. Both back pockets and anything carried (backpack, purse, etc) were significant targets and we experienced several incidents. Friends in Paris warned us repeatedly about pickpockets on Metro and they were proven quite correct.

Levett
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Re: Paris France help/suggestions for women

Post by Levett » Mon Mar 02, 2015 7:22 pm

Relax.

Enjoy the museums and restaurants and shops.

It helps if you speak some French, but given the rapid travel between England and France via Eurostar you should do fine. Much more English spoken.

The only surprise for us when we visited last time (in May) is how much cleaner London is than Paris.

Highly recommend renting an apartment rather than staying in a hotel.

Enjoy your trip. Paris has much to offer.

Lev

dgdevil
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Re: Paris France help/suggestions for women

Post by dgdevil » Mon Mar 02, 2015 7:36 pm

downshiftme wrote:Both back pockets and anything carried (backpack, purse, etc) were significant targets and we experienced several incidents.
People who put stuff in their back pockets deserve to be robbed. But at least they keep the pickpockets busy, and away from me.

harmony
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Re: Paris France help/suggestions for women

Post by harmony » Mon Mar 02, 2015 8:34 pm

A side street on the Left Bank may afford a centrally-located quiet place to park a rental car on a Saturday morning, but the place may seem very different in the evening. Bars will be open and the streets filled with people in various stages of inebriation. The streets of Paris loosely align with the Seine, but the river curves through the city, with the tight side of the curve on the south/left bank, so there are very few blocks that are rectangles or squares. You can study the bird's eye view on a map, but when one is within this mesh, the many angles can become quite confusing. A quiet Parisian street, the French name of which you memorized earlier in the day, may seem to have vanished at night. Few of the folks who are there to party all night will understand if you ask a question about directions in English. Streets may seem to lead to everywhere and nowhere and “going around the block”, when blocks are not squares or rectangles, can feel more confusing. With three generations in your group, I would recommend GPS and a navigation plan, especially if you are out after dark. Put clear identification on the child in case you become separated. Don't split up (even with cell phones) because if you get lost, the street layout and lack of English speakers may make it very difficult to find each other again. We eventually did find our rental car with barely enough time to drive back to the hostel before it was locked.

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Re: Paris France help/suggestions for women

Post by Swampy » Mon Mar 02, 2015 9:02 pm

I wouldn't be wandering around with all sorts of cash, ID's and credit cards.

When we travelled, we only carried daily cash separated into several areas, including a money belt, button down shirt pockets and tucked into my wife's bra.

DO NOT go to the currency exchange at the airport! You will do much better at any ATM in the city with a no fee debit card. NEVER let your guard down, especially at an ATM. While getting cash, the family stood around me looking out like a security detail. Believe it or not, there was a guy across the street with a digital camera binocular looking our way. Unbelievable.

Lot's of panhandlers by the Eiffel and Louvre, otherwise we had no problems, though we encountered others who lost cell phone, wallet and ID at a sidewalk cafe.
C'est la vie.

We had good success with ParisAddress.Com if you're looking for a place to stay.
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2stepsbehind
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Re: Paris France help/suggestions for women

Post by 2stepsbehind » Mon Mar 02, 2015 9:44 pm

What would your wife/daughter wear if she was walking around NYC? That's what she should wear in Paris. I find it odd that people buy special packs when traveling--a big fanny pack just screams "rob me; I'm a tourist." Tell them to wear black, a cute pashmina, and walk with purpose and they should be just fine.

Pedsmd
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Re: Paris France help/suggestions for women

Post by Pedsmd » Mon Mar 02, 2015 10:08 pm

I have traveled widely and here is what I do. I carry a days worth of cash, my camera, and sometimes a credit card in a cross body bag (PacSafe). I keep the cash and credit card in a zippered pocket in the bag and I safety pin the zipper pulls together. When I am on a bus/metro or in a crowded place I pull the bag in front of me and put my arms over it. I keep some extra cash in a money belt around my waist which I also safety pin to my waistband. Usually I keep my credit card in the money belt also, it depends on where I will be, the transportation I will be using, and how easily I need to access the card. Once in Italy my money belt fell off which is why I now pin it to my clothing. My passport I keep in the hotel and only carry a copy on me.
I hope they have a wonderful trip. Paris is wonderful.

dgdevil
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Re: Paris France help/suggestions for women

Post by dgdevil » Mon Mar 02, 2015 10:17 pm

Pedsmd wrote:I have traveled widely and here is what I do. I carry a days worth of cash, my camera, and sometimes a credit card in a cross body bag (PacSafe). I keep the cash and credit card in a zippered pocket in the bag and I safety pin the zipper pulls together. When I am on a bus/metro or in a crowded place I pull the bag in front of me and put my arms over it. I keep some extra cash in a money belt around my waist which I also safety pin to my waistband. Usually I keep my credit card in the money belt also, it depends on where I will be, the transportation I will be using, and how easily I need to access the card. Once in Italy my money belt fell off which is why I now pin it to my clothing. My passport I keep in the hotel and only carry a copy on me.
I hope they have a wonderful trip. Paris is wonderful.
Exhausting! I agree with @2stepsbehind: do you do this in New York or Los Angeles? It's just as well you travel with a valet to help you get ready in the morning.

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Re: Paris France help/suggestions for women

Post by RunningRad » Mon Mar 02, 2015 10:53 pm

Add Montmartre to the list of high pick pocket risk sites. I kept my hands in my pockets the entire time there.

Also, Notre Dame and really anywhere where there is a high density of people.
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3Wood85
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Re: Paris France help/suggestions for women

Post by 3Wood85 » Tue Mar 03, 2015 10:22 am

I went to Paris this past summer and had no issues at all, its just like New York or any other big city.

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midareff
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Re: Paris France help/suggestions for women

Post by midareff » Tue Mar 03, 2015 11:17 am

Magellan.com has lots of great stuff for travelers. I have a neck hanging "thingie" I got from them to hold ID, a couple of cc's and some Euros. Paris has a high concentration of gypsies, pickpockets and thieves, among others. Not that long ago they had to shut the Louvre due to the severity of pickpocket and tourist crimes being committed in the museum's grounds. I'd be ultra cautious at ALL tourist areas there from the Louvre, Montmarte, Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower and so forth.

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rob
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Re: Paris France help/suggestions for women

Post by rob » Tue Mar 03, 2015 12:06 pm

dgdevil wrote:Exhausting! I agree with @2stepsbehind: do you do this in New York or Los Angeles? It's just as well you travel with a valet to help you get ready in the morning.
I think it depends... I've never had issues in NYC BUT If I played tourist (maps, cameras, lost expressions, looking at the buildings and pointing etc.) I expect it would be different. Be aware of surroundings, walk deliberately etc. works to a decent point but you have to accept you will look like a tourist at times, especially around the tourist trap spots.

The only different thing I do in tourist mode is use a small belt hung pouch that goes inside the leg of the trousers [would easily work for a skirt with belt... probably better] for emergency credit cards, some cash and the passports. I also put some money, credit card and id loose in both front pockets so no wallet to attract attention (although maybe a mugging wallet is a decent idea... not sure).

I have a discrete (beat-up looking) backpack for carrying stuff including camera gear but the main compartment opens from the wrong side (against my back)... you have to take it off to get stuff from main compartment out. Nothing important is in the pouches accessible from the outside (unless you could the snacks/water for the day :-) ). I have a stretchie on the pack that loops through my belt so the backpack is attached to me or a table/chair. I use this pack as my daily shlep to the office with laptop etc. so it would not appear awkward to anyone since I'm so familiar with it been there.

Best thing is to have a plan (copies, emergency credit card, way to cancel stolen credit cards etc.) and insurance..... and be more careful with harder stuff to replace (passports mostly).
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crit
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Re: Paris France help/suggestions for women

Post by crit » Tue Mar 03, 2015 12:55 pm

Watch out while you're eating (or after you're eating, while paying a check) at a cafe seated outdoors, near L'ecole Superior Normale (so not intensely touristy). I had a gang (handful) of children, looking about 7 or 8 years in age, snatch my wallet by waving a paper in my face. It only took one confused second, and they left the credit card that was on the plate set to pay, but the wallet was gone. However, it was my 'travel wallet' -- only my health insurance card, some cash but not a lot, a bank card, a license. It was much easier to replace than my real wallet (and I still had the cc) with all its various detritus, and of course my passport was back in the apartment.

Moral of the story: watch out for gangs of small children looking to distract you. Have a barebones travel wallet. And have cellphone pics of your passport and cards.

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Re: Paris France help/suggestions for women

Post by Rupert » Wed Mar 04, 2015 10:23 am

You've gotten some good advice. The only advice I would add is tell them to pay particular attention to how they dress and where/how they consult their maps and guidebooks. American tourists often stick out like sore thumbs in European cities because of what they wear and are easily targeted as a result. Leave the sweat pants, tshirts with big American logos, and Crocs at home and try to blend in. Paris, in particular, is a city where people pay a lot of attention to their attire. The advice a PP gave to wear lots of black is actually really good advice. Parisians look fabulous even when doing the most mundane things, such as walking their dogs. That was one of the things that struck me when I first visited the city. As for the maps/guidebooks, tell them not to stand in the middle of the sidewalk with their maps open trying to figure out where they are. Find somewhere to sit down or stand out of the way and discretely check their maps there.

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Re: Paris France help/suggestions for women

Post by AddingUp » Wed Mar 04, 2015 4:54 pm

A few other ways to blend in so as not to be pegged as tourists:

--Don't walk down the street smiling and pointing at everything.
--Keep your voices low both outside and inside.
--Learn a few French phrases. Saying "bonjour" and "au revoir" when you enter and leave a shop, respectively, goes a long way with Parisians.
--Walk like you know where you're going (as someone else mentioned) even if it's not where you want to go. It's great to get "lost" in a new city. If I need to re-consult my map during the day, I sometimes duck into any big hotel and sit in an out-of-the-way place before pulling out my map. I've even put a newspaper behind it, so people think I'm reading a paper and not a map.

Just trust your gut and treat Paris like any big U.S. city. Enjoy!

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