For some people Paris is the « City of Love ». For others – a perfect place to find a pigeon – a naive and easy to target tourist who is so focused on eating his baguette that he will not know when and how someone just stole his wallet.
Don’t be a pigeon!
Visit Paris and enjoy the city, but always stay vigilant. Today I will share with you my tips on how to avoid touristic traps in Paris and come back home safe and without a hole in your pocket.
IS PARIS A TOURIST FRIENDLY CITY?
Paris is a very easy city for experienced travelers. There is no problem with transport, you will not get lost, hospitals are safe, police will not try to imprison you on a false pretext. We are in Western Europe. We can enjoy our life, wine and baguettes.
But in the same time there are plenty of pickpockets and thieves who are targeting tourists and believe me – they never take a day off. So you should be vigilant all the time.
HOW TO AVOID TOURISTIC TRAPS IN PARIS – METRO
Metro in Paris is easy to get around and you can download a RATP app that will help you navigate from point A to point B. But you should always remember about few things. Never buy a metro ticket from a guy who is trying to sell it to you on the side. Just don’t get into a conversation with him. Also, keep you metro ticket close to you, don’t lose it and throw it away only when you get outside the metro (I mean, outside the gates!) Sometimes you need your ticket to get from one station to another (like at the station Gare du Nord for example or Les Halles) so don’t lose it.
If you are sure that your ticket is new but somehow you can’t enter the metro, go to the information desk and ask for help. Some tickets – like hotel room cards – are demagnetizing and at the metro information point they should exchange your ticket for a new one.
HOW TO VISIT PARIS AND AVOID THIEVES?
I think this particular subject deserves a special blog post. For now, I will just mention the most obvious things.
When you visit Paris, don’t be lost and focus on your surroundings. Don’t walk around with your wallet in a back pocket. Don’t wear very expensive jewelry in the metro. Forget about keeping your expensive camera in a backpack. Be careful with you I Phone X – it can be snatched from your hand…
Unfortunately – pickpockets in Paris are very resourceful. This is not a little village where everyone knows everybody. This is a huge city where you need to think about your safety.
HOW TO AVOID TOURISTIC TRAPS IN PARIS: HIGH PRICES AND DISHONEST SELLERS
Although I love buying fruits and vegetables in the Parisian Marché, it happened to me that dishonest sellers tried to cheat me on the price. They just took me for a tourist… So try to focus and « trust and check » – at least this is what I do… Don’t be ashamed to count money and if tomatoes are costing more than you think ask about it.
HOW TO VISIT PARIS AND EAT WELL?
I think I never visit restaurants in Paris without checking their status on Trip Advisor. It’s just a habit for me. And I don’t look for 5 stars expensive places. I just want delicious fresh food – not a Picard frozen version of a meal I can defrost alone at home.
My favorite restaurant in Paris is LE JAJA – perfect menu du jour, rich wine menu and always fresh and seasonal food.
I always encourage my friends to check the restaurants before they decide to eat there – even when they look for something simple. For me this is the most effective way so I don’t end up with a 15 euro sandwich in some touristic zone.
HOW TO AVOID TOURISTIC TRAPS IN PARIS – FEW LAST WORDS
Don’t get into a conversation with women who are asking you to sign a petition. Don’t keep your bags and phones on the tables in restaurants. Watch your bags also when queuing to the museum or when you are already inside admiring Mona Lisa. Thieves in Paris very often pretend to be tourists and they target visitors who are feeling « safe » within the walls. A few years back there was a strike in Louvre because people working there were tired of losing their belongings.
Did I make you paranoid enough?
I hope so 🙂 I always prefer to warn people about Paris and hope they will really enjoy it. The capital of France is a real city with real problems. I always encourage everyone to visit and discover French culture.
Just don’t lose your head and remember that you are not going to a Fairy Land 🙂