Leaving luggage in the car in Provence

Old Jun 6th, 2006, 12:53 PM
  #1  
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Leaving luggage in the car in Provence

I know generally it isn't smart, but what if you have luggage in the trunk of a rental car (not a hatch-back) so it isn't in view? Are trunk break-ins a problem typically? We would like to make some stops en route when we travel from our hotel in St. Remy to our hotel in Bonnieux, and also from Bonnieux to Eze, but of course we wouldn't want to lose our luggage along the way. Any thoughts?
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Old Jun 6th, 2006, 02:10 PM
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There are areas where break-ins are prevalent; you'll usually see signs in parking lots there warning you not to leave anything in your car. The problem these days is renting a car with a real trunk--more and more the rentals seem to be hatchbacks.

The best thing you can do is cover everything up, beign sure not to leave anything like maps and guidebooks in plain sight in the car. If you're in a real parking lot, back the car into a space up against a wall whenever possible. Using underground lots is also advisable, as they are typically monitored electronically.
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Old Jun 6th, 2006, 02:10 PM
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There are areas where break-ins are prevalent; you'll usually see signs in parking lots there warning you not to leave anything in your car. The problem these days is renting a car with a real trunk--more and more the rentals seem to be hatchbacks.

The best thing you can do is cover everything up, being sure not to leave anything like maps and guidebooks in plain sight in the car. We sometimes toss in a local French newspaper as a decoy. If you're in a real parking lot, back the car into a space up against a wall whenever possible. Using underground lots is also advisable, as they are typically monitored electronically.
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Old Jun 6th, 2006, 02:17 PM
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I wouldn't leave luggage in the car. When we travel across France and stop for lunch, we always pick a place where we can see the car. Never leave maps, or anything that says tourist in the car on view. I always leave a French newspaper if any thing.
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Old Jun 6th, 2006, 04:08 PM
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Especially avoid leaving luggage in the car at such sites as the Pont du Gard, the Roman memorial outside St-Rémy, and the non-paid parking beneath Les Baux.
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Old Jun 6th, 2006, 07:47 PM
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Here are some tips. On arrival, buy a local newspaper and leave it on the driver's seat. Take along a pair of men's old work gloves. Leave them in plain sight. The dirtier, the greasier the better. Cover up all your luggage using an old blanket, also greasy and dirty. Do you have a dog leash? Take it along and leave on the passenger's seat.
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 03:43 AM
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I would not leave luggage in a car, unless it was an open suitcase filled with dirty laundry (and looked it) or something similarly untempting.
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 04:12 AM
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USNR...

I hate to burst your bubble, but leaving a local newspaper on the seat, or work gloves or even a dog leash isn't any kind of guarantee against someone breaking into your car. If they see something interesting, they'll break in anyway... not to mention that it's pretty easy to tell a rental car from the license plate (here in Provence almost any car with 60, 06 or 76 at the end is a rental), and the fact that rental car companies insist on putting that "F" sticker on their cars. Bingo - RENTAL !

Patricia
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 04:53 AM
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Well, I'm sorry but if I had the choice of leaving lugagge in a locked car trunk vs. trooping it through the local chateau I think the answer is obvious...if it isn;t then what IS the reasonable alternative?

I suppose you could always drop luggage off in your hotel BEFORE you take the car to any sightseeing spots but that isn;t always convenient.

On one of the previous posts on this same subject some folks suggested parking the car in a place where it is backed up against a building, etc., which would make a trunk more difficult to open.
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 05:04 AM
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Hi E,

As noted, the local thieves can tell the tourists by the license plates.

All you can do is to discourage the opportunist.

Keep everything in the back covered. The passenger space should be empty.
A bicycle cable looped through the luggage handles makes it harder to remove the baggage.

Take whatever is valuable and can't be readily replaced with you.

The probability of theft is, actually, rather low.

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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 05:32 AM
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Just to say that I know that the risks are there and I have followed the general precautions outlined by others. Upon arrival and before getting to my hotel, I have sometimes parked my car simply on the street in St. Remy where there are passersby. I try to put bags as much as possible out of view and I always take important papers etc. on my person. Haven't had a problem, but it's something you only want to do when you have to.

Hope that you have a lovely trip! Sounds delightful!
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 07:37 AM
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PB, wasn't there some talk about changing the plates that identified rentals because of all the break-ins?
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 07:49 AM
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That was in the U.S. In France, the plates have the same numbers as normal cars, but the big companies concentrate their registrations in certain areas for tax reasons, and anybody with any sense can identify any new-looking car "far from home" as a possible rental car. I worked for Avis many years ago and I can still identify an unmarked rental car in a split second. And I only worked there for 7 months!
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 07:54 AM
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thanks, Kerouac,
did you name yoursef after Jack?
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 08:07 AM
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I had a friend who parked their car in front of a hotel in Fountainbleu while they went inside to check in. Luggage was in the closed truck.

In the 10 minutes they were gone, someone had broken into the car, pulled out the back seat to gain access to the trunk and stole their luggage.

Now, knowing these people as I do, they were probably targeted. I'm sure they stood on the street discussing for a few minutes whether or not to leave their "valuables" as they always referred to it, in the car.

On the hatch-back issue, we have requested a regular trunk (sedan vs. wagon) on the past 3 rentals and have gotten the hatchback.
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 12:29 PM
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Thanks, everyone. Unfortunately, it sounds like it just isn't a good idea to sightsee en route between our hotel stops if it means risking the hassle of having luggage stolen. The main stop I was thinking of was perhaps the Sunday market in Isle sur la Sorgue before we arrive at our hotel in Bonnieux. Does anyone know how long (driving time) it would take from St. Remy to Bonnieux (to drop off luggage), then back track to Isle sur la Sorgue? Is this worth doing?
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 01:17 PM
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Heading to Bonnieux instead of l'Isle sur la Sorgue will probably get you to the market about 1 1/2 hrs later - perhaps 45 to 60 mins in travel time and 30 mins or more to check in, deposit your bags, and get back on the road again. You may not be able to check in that early, so you might just drop off the bags. If you have trouble locating your hotel, it could take longer. Are your bags that much safer in a (perhaps) un-secured or un-watched place at the hotel than in your car???

You should get to the market by 9:30 at the very latest - unless you enjoy shoulder-to-shoulder crowds. If it's 1 1/2 hrs to Bonnieux & back, then you should leave St Remy at least 7:15 to do the bag drop-off.

We spend 2 months in France most years, and I never worry about someone breaking into the car & stealing our luggage. Traveling in Europe is one of my greatest pleasures in life. I won't compromise an itinerary just to increase the odds slightly of someone not stealing by bags. If you back the car up against a tree or wall so the trunk can't be opened, and then also chain the bags to each other like Ira suggested, then I think your bags are just as safe in your car as in a hotel room. BTW, I have never had anyone break into our rental car & I know of only 1 person who has had bags stolen from their car. I know 2 people who have had hotel room break-ins and have had stuff stolen.

Stu Dudley
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 01:21 PM
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Frankly, I only worry about stuff in the trunk overnight. Stopping during the day somewhere is no problem.
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 02:43 PM
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If your stop is going to be l'Isle sur la Sorgue, here's a solution for you. There are two parking lots with attendants, so your car will be perfectly safe.

One is next to the small grocery store on the main street down near the train station. (it's actually the grocery store lot and if you go into the store and buy something, you get an hour free parking)

The other is up the street from the Post Office (also on the main drag). Turn on the little street that runs alongside the post office and to the end. Turn left and immediately turn right into the lot.

Hope this saves a long turnaround drive to Bonnieux for you.

Patricia
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Old Jun 8th, 2006, 07:07 AM
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Thank you so much! That sounds like a plan.
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