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Backpacks in museums per Vigipirate Warning

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Feb 16th, 2016, 10:14 AM
  #1
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Backpacks in museums per Vigipirate Warning

I'm planning our days in Paris and have noted that on almost all the websites for the tourists destinations there is a warning that states due to the attack on Nov 13 suitcases and luggage are either not accepted or are limited in size. My assumption is that this doesn't include backpacks. I do realize we can't have any type of metal object that could be a weapon (knife, etc) in the backpack. We'll probably have a light lunch in the backpack to eat in a park with a few other essentials. If backpacks are also under increased scrutiny then we might have to rethink the order of some of our days. We're also planning on getting a smaller backpack than we've used in the past so we won't look like a pack mule.
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Feb 16th, 2016, 10:27 AM
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In some museums you are obliged to give your backpack to a cloakroom and in some you lock it yourself in lockers.

That info dates from before the attacks, so I suppose it is stricter by now.
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Feb 16th, 2016, 10:33 AM
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I do not know the reasons for recent changes in storage policy, Wekiva, but why would backpacks be an exception to storage security restrictions, as opposed to suitcases and other luggage? The reason for refusing to store bulky objects would seem to me to be obvious; fear of someone leaving explosives in such containers. For a number of years many/most storage lockers in train and bus stations were closed because of people leaving bombs in the lockers and walking away.

I realize our travel practices must differ, but may I ask why you feel the need to carry so much stuff around when doing touristy things? We go sightseeing in any city with little more than "stuff" than when going downtown in our town. We are going to a museum or a gallery, not on an expedition to the wilderness.
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Feb 16th, 2016, 10:35 AM
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If you just have a few essentials, you should have a small backpack, anyway. I don't think you should look like you are going hiking while out walking around as a tourist.

You really don't have to have a backpack to carry a few things around, I usually don't ever have one. You can easily get a totebag instead, which is basically like a large-ish purse, that's what I carry around, although I don't carry lunch around with me. I realize it may not be as comfortable, but mine has long enough straps that I can wear it on my shoulder, I don't just carry it by hand. I also have a smallish backpack that converts to one strap that makes it look like a purse, and I have one of those shoulder bag things called Healthy Back Bag. You could easily fit a lunch in there and a few essentials.

I suggest you get one of those http://www.ebags.com/brand/ameribag

I don't know why you would assume the rules don't include backpacks, as they have to do with size and in some cases, they close the entire vestiaire (cloakroom) and they don't allow backpacks in some museums ordinarily, in fact (you must check them). So I think your assumptions are wrong. The Louvre states it's an issue of size and gives dimensions not allowed. The Orangerie simply refers to "large sacs" without giving specific dimensions.

I don't think you need to have a backpack, just don't carry so much stuff around. ANd it isn't an issue of sharp objects, it's due to the idea of planting bombs. It isn't like an airline where you can make them crash, it's the explosives issue in museums.
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Feb 16th, 2016, 10:36 AM
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Many museums all over Europe ask you to check back packs. Long before the current heightened security.
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Feb 16th, 2016, 10:44 AM
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Most museums won't accept any bag bigger than an A-4 sheet of paper, and backpacks generally, no matter how small they are. There is always a place for you to stow them safely.
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Feb 16th, 2016, 11:01 AM
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I don't know why you would assume that backpacks would be excluded. I should think backpacks would be one of their gravest concerns. Around here you can't take any sort of backpack into a museum. Or much of anything else.

We don't carry backpacks when touring. Everything we need fits neatly into my small cross-body purse and husband's "murse." We don't "pack" a lunch, we buy one and either eat it at the establishment or carry it across the street to a park or something. And yes, we DO have a picnic knife in our bacpack, always. That isn.'t the issue. We are no more laden down when traveling than when we move around our home town. What do you need besides your wallet, your passport, a map, a cellphone, maybe a small bottle of water?

I think people get obsessed with this notion of trekking through European cities laden down with "stuff." It's no more complicated, with a few exceptions, than walking around doing errands wherever you live.
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Feb 16th, 2016, 11:15 AM
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I don't get it either. I've spent hundreds of days walking around various European cities and never once needed a backpack. I sometimes use a large-ish fabric handbag that can be worn on the shoulder or cross body (like a le Sport Sac) But that is mainly only when I know I'm going to be browsing/shopping like at a street market and may have to carry lots of little purchases. I sometimes use this as my personal item on the flight and it gets put away for the duration of the trip unless I go to a market.

Otherwise, I use a normal/small-ish but surprisingly roomy cross body. It holds everything I ever need with room to spare.
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Feb 16th, 2016, 11:23 AM
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Small backpacks ("day packs") are not at all a problem. After all, some women's handbags could practically be called luggage, and they are allowed in. What is forbidden are the full sized backpacks that contain as much (or more) than a suitcase.

Naturally, there is a grey zone for slighter larger day packs that might be accepted or not.
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Feb 16th, 2016, 12:06 PM
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Oh, for sure, when we go to market we carry a fairly large bag or two, but we LIVE here and are getting our groceries for the week, so of course we need a fairly large bag or two. But for traveling, unless a market is on our agenda, what's the deal? And if you're traveling, how much stuff do you need from the market?

My handbag could never be considered "luggage." I am all about not being weighed down when traveling, because it's simply unnecessary and a real PITA. I often notice American tourists lugging 1- or 2-liter bottles of water around with them. Why? How thirsty does one get? I can see it on the Camino, but on the streets of Paris? It's silly - it's not as though any major European city doesn't have water available.
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Feb 16th, 2016, 12:08 PM
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I don't see any material difference between a small daypack and a large purse. Is the objection aesthetic?
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Feb 16th, 2016, 12:55 PM
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Of course it's aesthetic! The question poses another opportunity for the usual suspects to brag about how much more stylishly they travel without offering any useful advice for the OP.
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Feb 16th, 2016, 01:17 PM
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As I said many will not allow large bags of any description - not a handbag or a backpack. One reason backpacks, even daypacks aren't allowed is the tendency to swipe others around you with them, and the risk of swiping something valuable by accident.

Most museums have a garderobe where you can leave such things for free, if you feel you must take them with you.
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Feb 16th, 2016, 01:20 PM
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I carry a day pack/backpack when touring. Collapsible umbrella (I grew up in England), water bottle, camera, cell phone, energy bars, tissues, wallet, keys, extra layer if I'm not wearing it, possibly a guidebook...

When visiting museums I leave the day pack in the cloakroom/lockers, and transfer the "goodies" (wallet, tissues and cell phone) to my small camera bag while wearing the camera. However, when I was in France last fall, at least one museum had closed its storage lockers because of terrorism. I would have been allowed to carry the day pack around with me - it's not that big - except they made an exception for me (I'm old and the museum was virtually empty). Sometimes when there are no lockers the day pack is allowed if I carry it in front.

I think the answer varies and depends on the size of the bag and the attitude of the security people.
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Feb 16th, 2016, 01:23 PM
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Of course, but again, there is no material difference between a small backpack, "a large-ish fabric handbag that can be worn on the shoulder or cross body", or "a large-ish purse". A day bag will either be allowed into the rooms or it won't, regardless of its style.

The question was, is there a difference post-attacks? That is why I read this thread, and certainly not to learn for the umpteenth time that St. Cirq LIVES IN FRANCE, lol. (Note that she now feels desperate enough for attention to capitalize.)
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Feb 16th, 2016, 01:23 PM
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Wekiva, I think Kerouac have you the best answer: succinct, to the point, answered your question, no sarcasm or judgemental remarks.

For the rest of you who "don't get it", think it's "silly", or think he might look like he's "camping in the wilderness"... It's not up to you to belittle or judge or make snide remarks. Just answer or don't answer.

I, like you, Wekiva, would not think twice about a small backpack. If I have 2 kids with me, we will be gone from our hotel or apartment for 8 hours it longer, we might need several things that don't fit into a purse: water if it's summer (yes...you can get a drink in a restaurant, but what if you're standing in a long line and you can't just take time to go sit down in a cafe and order water), an umbrella or 2 or 3 in case of rain and you have several people with you, a jacket or sweater for if the weather changes throughout the day, a camera, money, medication, sunglasses, sunscreen (yes, people that are fair skinned need to reapply throughout the day in the summer), cell phones, keys, etc etc. This can be a lot of stuff.

So all the OP is saying, is that if he can't take a backpack into a museum, he wants to know in advance so he can rethink his itinerary for the day. Maybe plan to go back to the hotel or apartment mid day. So give him a break and don't judge. Just answer. Or don't answer. But leave the sarcasm out please.
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Feb 16th, 2016, 01:29 PM
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Yes there are differences. One MAIN difference if it matters that much to you (which it probably doesn't) is that a backpack can be downright dangerous -- guess you've never been clocked by someone turning around and forgetting they had this protuberance sticking a foot out behind them.

A crossbody or small shoulder bag won't usually inflict damage on people/things.
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Feb 16th, 2016, 01:31 PM
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Oh ffs. Now backpacks are dangerous? It is to laugh.

Also, what thursdaysd said--exactly. The difference between what a tourist carries and someone who LIVES there (lol) carries should be perfectly obvious,
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Feb 16th, 2016, 01:35 PM
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Naturally, there is a grey zone for slighter larger day packs that might be accepted or not.>

Might scrutiny also depend on ethnic profiling - young Moslem with any pack looked at with suspect, unfortunately?
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Feb 16th, 2016, 01:46 PM
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"they had this protuberance sticking a foot out behind them"

Sorry, janisj, but that's nonsense. A full sized backpack on a travel day, yes. A day pack on a touring day, no. A few inches, tops.
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