Be Careful is a Must Know Rule

Paris has a very efficient public transport service. I don’t deny it. But I’ve been living in this city for a few years, and there are things I learnt that might be useful for you.

I was watching a documentary yesterday about the violence in Paris’ underground, and I was astonished by how common it is nowaday. I, myself, witnessed a few violent events like this, but thought it was rather rare. Well, it isn’t.

Here are some basic rules that can help you protect your stuffs:

-> Never keep cash in any accessible pocket. Nor wallet. Nor anything of value. Way too dangerous. The best way to carry cash or papers with you would be to put everything of value in an inside pocket (can I say it? Well, somewhere people can’t access without opening your coat.). I know cash belts exist as well, it can be very convenient.

-> Don’t use your phone. This is obvious but many of us tend to use our phones during travel and you should NOT do that. That’s how thieves choose their next victim. They spot the phone and then follow you discretly until there is an opportunity for them to steal it. Remember that they can be very violent. If you find yourself in a situation where you are trapped by a group of thieves, don’t resist, give them what they want and ask for help as soon as possible to an agent of the RATP.

-> If you use a backpack, hold it in front of you, not on your back.

-> If possible, don’t carry your camera around your neck. You had think it’s pretty safe because they can’t steal it easily, but as I said, they can be pretty violent and might not hesitate to hit you if they want it. And carrying your camera this way really identify you as a tourist, which makes you a potential target.

-> If you feel someone getting a little too close, be twice as careful. Move.

If you are Asian, it is even more important to be aware of all of this. It’s sad, but it is really really true that Asians are their favourite victims. Often, Asian tourists carry a lot of cash as well as high tech phones and camera, and don’t speak a word of French or English, so they usually won’t go to the police. My Korean friend (who does speak French AND English well) had her stuffs (phone, wallet…) stolen twice. You can NEVER be too careful.

Even doing all of this, there is still a risk that someone steals you something. If that’s the case, immediately go talk to an agent of the RATP. They will help you. They might not speak English, so here are some sentences you can use to explain your problem. They will understand what happened and provide the best help they can:

-> Someone stole my phone: On m’a volé mon téléphone (international phonetic alphabet: {ɔ̃ ma vɔle mɔ̃ telefɔn})

-> Someone stole my wallet: On m’a volé mon portefeuille (international phonetic alphabet: {ɔ̃ ma vɔle mɔ̃ pɔʀtəfœj})

-> I don’t speak French: Je ne parle pas français (international phonetic alphabet {ʒə nə paʀl pɑ fʀɑ̃sε})

If you think of any other sentence you might need, please ask!

I was going to go on with indecent behaviour some men have here, but it’s worth an article on its own, so that will wait a bit.

Avoid using your phone, do not tempt pickpocket and everything should be fine. If you are careful, you will be able to enjoy your trip a lot better!

005Arch of Triumph

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