Staying Safe from Acts of Crime While Travelling to France

France, like any other country, has its share of pickpockets, crooks, thieves, and opportunists, who can turn your dream into a nightmare.  If you are careless with your belongings, especially your valuables, you may at risk of having them stolen or pickpocketed.  Anywhere, anyone can become the victim of a terror attack or an accident. Pickpockets and thieves are attracted to wealthy-looking tourists, foreign-looking tourists, and most tales of distress and woes reveal unpleasant experiences of losing luggage or some other mishap. There is a need to avoid trouble, and the right way is to pay attention to the elementary rules and truths.

Riot police charge using tear gas canister at the Arc de Triomphe on the Place de l’Etoile in Paris on March 16, 2019, during clashes with Yellow Vest protesters, on the 18th consecutive Saturday of demonstrations called by the ‘Yellow Vest’ (gilets jaunes) movement. – Demonstrators hit French city streets again on March 16, for a 18th consecutive week of nationwide protest against the French President’s policies and his top-down style of governing, high cost of living, government tax reforms and for more “social and economic justice.” (Photo by Thomas SAMSON / AFP)

Guide to Avoid Trouble

France is a beautiful place receiving visitors by the millions, and the tourists coming here should be extra careful especially while visiting Paris and Nice. Keep a watchful eye on loitering groups in the Paris metro. Though the majority of them ride the subway without any hassles or worry daily, there are organized pickpockets and grab thieves looking out for innocent tourists. So it is crucial to keep your valuables in your inside pockets and to have a firm grip on your bags when you are in a metro or even waiting for a taxi in line.

  1. Keep your credit cards, cash, and passports with you, and do not carry more money than is necessary. Mostly, you can use credit cards everywhere and so there is no need to carry bank notes. Carry small bills if you are traveling instead of the big denomination ones. Tourists flaunting 100 Euro notes are sure to attract attention.
  2. Travel tickets are best left in your hotel room in a safe or in your suitcase. Do not carry them unless it is required. While touring around, keep the travel tickets in the glove compartment of the car or any other secret hideaway.
  3. Laptops, mobile phones, USB sticks, iPods, Rolex watches, expensive cameras, etc. reveal your wealth status. Smartphones have a magnetic attraction, and even ordinary teenagers will try to rob you if you are careless. The laptop and USB sticks should be password protected. Of course, this will not stop the thieves from stealing your computer if you leave it accidentally anywhere. The only satisfaction is that they cannot access your information.
  4. Traveling alone is not risky in France; every year millions travel alone for pleasure or business. However, single female travelers must avoid taking public transport late at night and should not venture into doubtful urban areas alone. Despite the precautions, if you become a victim, report the incident to the nearest gendarmerie, immediately. If your passport or identity papers have been stolen, contact the nearest consulate; in case of loss of travel tickets, contact the transport company or airline.
  5. Always carry photocopies of your primary documents and travel papers. Keep these separate. In case you have to declare some theft or loss, you can show these documents, and it will help in getting any issues resolved faster.
  6. Avoid visiting the parks after nightfall. These manicured gardens are dangerous after sunset. Drug dealers also frequent them. Best is to enjoy your evenings in well-lit areas in the city.