Car Break-Ins in France

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Oct 8th, 2004, 01:43 PM
  #1
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Car Break-Ins in France

I've read some things that have caused concern regarding leaving luggage in car trunks while traveling. My husband and I will be traveling in the Normandy region this month. Since we are driving from one town to another, we will have our luggage with us. Does anyone have suggestions on how to best deal with this situation. Is it a very serious problem or is this a rare happening?
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Oct 8th, 2004, 01:51 PM
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It seems more common on the Riviera. If we must stop with luggage in the car to dine, we make sure we can see the it but never had a problem. Don't leave anything like maps, travel guides to indicate you may have something there but really it is the same anywhere.
A few years ago some tourists here had their belongings stolen (NUNS!!!)
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Oct 8th, 2004, 01:53 PM
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Just keep your luggage out of sight. The only place where we saw warnings about theft was Provence.
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Oct 8th, 2004, 02:51 PM
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I've posted about this before, but a friend of mine had all her luggage stolen from her locked trunk while visiting a chateau in France. She was left with nothing but the clothes she was wearing (fortunately she did have her passport and wallet).

At any rate, after hearing about what a traumatic experience she had, and how her vacation was completely ruined, I decided we would NEVER try to do any sight-seeing with luggage in the car. We always make day trips from wherever we are staying. It might mean we'll miss seeing a few places we'd like to visit, but I just don't want to take that risk.
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Oct 8th, 2004, 03:28 PM
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We are also very cautious about this when in Europe. However, I am curious. At home in the US we travel with our luggage in ful sight and never think twice about it. I don't think crime is rampant in Europe compared to the US, so why are we all so paranoid?
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Oct 8th, 2004, 03:31 PM
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dln
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We were warned about car break-ins in Provence and told not to leave anything in sight, as Cigalechanta and Underhill mention, and to park not along roadsides or on streets, but rather in designated parking lots. We followed this advice (well, at least most of the time) and had no mishaps.

Sometimes it's just unavoidable not to have your luggage or shopping with you. I think you need to be sensible or you become a prisoner to your anxieties! For example, we went to Uzes on market day and bought a gazoodle of goods--pottery, fabrics, etc. etc. It would have been a bother to traipse on back to our B&B so we put all our goodies in the back of the car, pulled out the cover to hide it all, and carried on with our sightseeing. No one bothered our car, but of course it was locked when we left it and we didn't leave any tourist brochures, maps, or anything that screamed "tourist" on the seats.
 
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Oct 8th, 2004, 03:37 PM
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Welcome back dln, anxious to hear what you bought. Email me at yahoo; hotmail shut down my mail temprarily because of too many wrong pass words and they think someone is trying to get into my account. NOT True, I explained it's my arthritis in deformed fingers and can't feel all the keys but it's now three days and they haven't let me access.
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Oct 8th, 2004, 03:39 PM
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When driving in Italy, we hid the maps and guidebooks under the seat and tossed a rumpled Italian newspaper on the front seat. We threw coats and other clothes over suitcases in the back of the station wagon. I guess we were lucky we had no problems.
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Oct 8th, 2004, 03:40 PM
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I hate to be the voice of doom, but I'm curious if anyone who ever decided to NEVER leave luggage in the trunk ever returned to their hotel room to find all their luggage stolen?
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Oct 8th, 2004, 03:43 PM
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dln
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Mimi, I certainly will email you! It was largely based on your description of Uzes that we visited it. What a lovely town! I tell you, if any thief had broken into our car after I got through with market day, he'd have hit the mother lode! I shopped until my husband's wallet was empty (and I mean EMPTY).
 
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Oct 8th, 2004, 03:44 PM
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That's even a worse fear!


The nuns got their habits back, found thrown around behind some building here in Boston.
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Oct 8th, 2004, 04:22 PM
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I've done it for years, in France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Hungary, then Czechoslovakia, former Yugloslavia, etc. with absolutely no problem. I try to leave nothing visible on the car seats, but I do not believe in trying to pass as a local car; professional thieves can recognize tourist cars even if the plates are from the same country.
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Oct 8th, 2004, 06:12 PM
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When I drove my brand-new 1963 VW Beetle into Nice, the lady who ran our hotel advised that the best thing to do was to empty out the car, open the glove compartment, and leave the doors unlocked. The Riveria thieves won't waste time on the car of someone who knows how the game is played.
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Oct 8th, 2004, 08:32 PM
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I parked my brand new 1975 Porsche 911S overnight on the Champs-Élysées and had not a problem. But I did have problems in other cities in Europe.

It is the luck of the draw, but you should keep nothing in sight. I suggest that you park on a busy street and under a street light. Take your luggage to your room. Sleep well.

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Oct 9th, 2004, 12:13 AM
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Hi fellow travellers,
could you give me some advice on hiring a small car in Toulouse to do the Dourdogne, the Loire and across to Mont St Michel before heading up to Paris.
Is it cheaper to book before I leave home (OZ.), Is parking a problem and navigating the smaller country towns?
I would appreciate you views.
Cheers
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Oct 9th, 2004, 12:38 AM
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Kaisen,All the main hire firms are based at Toulouse airport, we have just returned from a week away in the Lot area, flying into Toulouse and hiring a car from Hertz. We booked the car before we left over the net and got what we thought was a good deal, at least we were sure of getting the size of car we required. We hired an intermediate sized car, (Peugeot 307 HDI), anything bigger you may have problems on some of the narrower country roads, the car was very economical, being a diesel model. You do not say what time of year you will be visiting but if it is in the summer do get a car with air con it is essential. WE never found parking a problem apart from Sarlat on market day! Invest in a good map book, we always use Michelin, and just enjoy! Re the subject of break-ins, why are french hire cars registered in department 60, bit of a give away to would be thieves unless you happen to be touring in the Picardy area.Cetainly a give away in somewhere like Toulouse.
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Oct 9th, 2004, 01:34 AM
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Hi Jan,
thanks for the reply.
We will be there in late January. Will I face icey slippery roads at that time of year. Do you think you got a better deal by booking before you went?
Cheers
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Oct 9th, 2004, 02:08 AM
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cbl: I snipped this from a past post of mine. Regards, Walter
"OK, I'm the thief .
I don't want your luggage unless it is high-end with a good stolen resale value.
Nor do I want your clothes, toiletries, guidebooks, used films, etc.
I want cash, cameras, electronics, CC's, etc and that gold necklace you bought for Auntie Em .
My tools will be a "Slimjim" to open the door and pop the trunk latch or I'll just smash the window. Or I will have a hammer and large screwdriver and bash the trunklock in and open it.
As soon as I do 1 of those things the *clock is ticking* and I am a criminal.
I grap your luggage and quickly make my escape.
Later I throw away your stuff and only keep the valuables.
*OR* you buy ~2m of very small linked chain with a small but decent lock, this will fit in the palm of your hand and is very light.
So when I pop your trunk your luggage is locked thru the handles and thru something in the trunk, like the trunk's hinge. A bicycle cable lock is ~1m and not long enough usually for more than 1 suitcase.
I can't grap it and run so I rummage thru it quickly (leave the luggage unlocked and open) looking for valuables. But in the end, I leave all your stuff behind."

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Oct 9th, 2004, 06:35 AM
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Thanks Paradise. This is a very interesting idea. I'll talk with my husband about it.
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Sep 11th, 2010, 03:44 AM
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tttt in regards to recent post
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