Safety and Credit Cards in Paris

Jan 23rd, 1998, 11:42 AM
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Safety and Credit Cards in Paris

I was wondering if anyone could give us advice on how safe Paris is at night for two single women? Some museums are open late and we would me taking the Metro. We are going February 11th with the Fox 97 radio station trip from Atlanta, GA and staying at the Holiday Inn Pantin in teh 19th district. I've read this is not a very convenient area to stay in, but we didn't have any choice. Any advice on where we should exchange US Dollars for Francs? Will most places take charge cards? How about metro passes and museum passes? Are pickpockets really as bad as you read? Would it be safe to be out in the 19th district walking to the metro station at night? Thanks for the suggestions.
Jan 23rd, 1998, 02:21 PM
Patrick Barnette
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I was only in Paris for a short time (and never in the 19th) but from everyone I have talked to and from my own experience, it is quite safe. I mean, the US has some of the highest violent crime rates in the World, so if you live here...

As for pickpockets, just be careful: carry money in a different pocket, write down credit card information, use a zippered purse, and hang it across the body and hold the purse in one hand.

Credit cards are rather well accepted (especially Visa and Mastercard) in the more touristed areas. As for currency exchange, use your ATM card (your PIN must be 4 digits or fewer, though, and remember it in numbers, as the keypads do not have letters on them) for the best rates. The Visa and Mastercard web sites have listings of ATMs by country. Otherwise, buy Amex traveler's checks and exchange them at an Amex office (any good guide book will have them listed.

Hope this helps.

P.S. go to the Lourve on Sunday, as it is about half the price of every other day.
Jan 23rd, 1998, 04:46 PM
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Hello Donna, The best rate you will get for your dollar is at La Banque de France, 39 rue Croix des Petits Champs (Metro: Louvre). They also give a better rate for travellers checks. This is the major bank that gives foreign currency to the other french banks, and thus you can't beat their rate. Bon voyage and feel free to email me if you have any other questions.
Jan 24th, 1998, 08:53 AM
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Before you embark on an evening out via the metro, be aware that many of the lines stop running at 8 p.m. Make sure you can get home before you leave. You will get the very best exchange rate possible by using your hometown ATM card, as it gives you the commercial rate (reserved for banks doing multimillion dollar transactions) and no bank or exchange office is going to do that. They have to be making a profit somewhere, whether in charging a commission or lower exchange rates. You can be sure when a cambio brags, NO COMMISSION, their exchange rate will leave a lot to be desired. Stick with your ATM and you can't go wrong. You will find ATM machines at the airport and everywhere you turn throughout France. The same holds true for using your Visa/Master Charge for restaurants and all purchases possible. They charge the same commercial rate as you will get with your ATM card for the same reason. You are off to one of the greatest countries in the world. ENJOY.
Jan 26th, 1998, 01:07 AM
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I'd like to bring a small correction to the above information on metro lines. Most of them stop around 12.30/1.00 AM. It may also happen that one line in particular stops around 8 PM due to renovation work. Bus lines generally stop around 8.30 PM and most of them do not work on Sundays or public holidays.
Jan 26th, 1998, 01:42 AM
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I was in Paris for a month last summer, and was only pick- pocketed once. Fortunately I was able to tackle the miscreant and get my fanny pack back. Beware train stations. Orange Metro (weekly) passes are only available at the beginning of the week. Bon Voyage.
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