Theft in France???

Sep 10th, 2010, 08:37 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 88
Theft in France???

First, let me say that I have traveled to nearly 50 nations and have no fear however I am shocked at so many comments regarding the breaking into of vehicles and stealing in hotel rooms all across France. We will be driving thru Normandy & Brittany, staying in a different hotel almost every nite. My plan was to leave un-needed luggage in the trunk so as not to have to drag it up stairs. I am one who does not carry important documents on me while site seeing due to pick pockets and theft of purses but if the hotel does not have a safe then what? And if they can not be left in the trunk when we are inbetween hotels... I've never felt forced to make this decision.
bridgetS is offline  
Sep 10th, 2010, 08:43 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 45,643
Where are you reading this stuff? I've made more than 100 trips to France and never lost a sou. Never used a safe, either. I don't leave luggage in the trunk, though - that seems foolish. I don't do that here in the USA, either. And in France I always put a local newspaper or baguette or something local on the dashboard of the rental car, which may seem idiotic, but I think it gives the impression of being a local insofar as one can. But really, where are you getting your info? It seems very dramatic and unrealistic with regard to France.
StCirq is online now  
Sep 10th, 2010, 08:46 PM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,743
Put your valuables in the trunk of the car, back into the parking space upto a wall so the trunk cannot be opened.

If the hotel doesn't have an in-room safe but a front desk safe, I'd put money, passport, etc. there.
joannyc is offline  
Sep 10th, 2010, 09:01 PM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 4,266
The world seems to be a dangerous place. Bubonic plague, stuffed horses being blown up, taking your shoes off in order to board a plane.
Idiot pastors threatening to burn the Koran (our local paper notes that he makes a living selling second hand furniture on eBay), pickpockets riding scooters or Harley Davidsons, drugs being sold on the second floor of the Pentagon (I made that up), vaccinations leading to Mad Cow Disease (I made that up too).

In the meantime, about 2 billion people are getting on with their daily business, keeping a roof over their heads, food in their mouths, hoping for a better life for their kids.

Count to ten, slowly, and relax.
Peter_S_Aus is offline  
Sep 10th, 2010, 09:32 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,239
"I am shocked at so many comments regarding the breaking into of vehicles and stealing in hotel rooms all across France."

Where have you read this stuff. Certainly not on Fodors. Sure there is the odd report of something or other. But no more than other countries, and a lot less than in many.

But - honestly - where are these "many comments"??
janisj is offline  
Sep 10th, 2010, 10:38 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,212
I just love remarks about uncited comments. Who has been making these comments to you? How many comments have there been? Oh my!

I don't often stay in hotels/apartments with safes so my options are clear - I leave my passport and extra money in my backpack in the room during the day.

If you only bring 1 suitcase then you won't need to leave luggage in the car overnight. Simple solution.
adrienne is offline  
Sep 11th, 2010, 01:18 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,319
Gee, I must have been lucky. I've spent over 4000 nights in France without knowing about these reports !

mpprh is offline  
Sep 11th, 2010, 01:53 AM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 2,006
In 1987, we were on holiday in France and got the news that my mother had died, so we returned earlier than expected. This meant booking a night in a hotel, so I stopped by a phone box and made the booking. Unfortunately, I left my credit cards in the phone box. They were mailed to me by the local maire a few weeks later.

Parts of Paris may have pickpockets and tricksters. In the rest of France, I have always found people honest and friendly.
chartley is online now  
Sep 11th, 2010, 03:07 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,083
I really think your worrying over nothing. I have been to France many times and never had a problem.

I think you will always get an element of crime in large cities like Paris, but it really isn't any worse than any other city.

Take your normal precautions, apply common sense as you would at home but above all don't worry.
Mucky is offline  
Sep 11th, 2010, 03:41 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 3,997
Sorry Bridget, you really aren't getting much help or sympathy but I have read similar reports and I think, probably here on this board in the years I have been planning trips. In fact, in regards to St. Cirq's comment, it seems to me that I have read that the smart thieves can tell by the license plate which cars are rentals. But at least the first responders here seem not to have had any problems, so perhaps that will be reassuring. In my foggy memory I am thinking the reported problems were more in the south of France, and more in cars than in hotel rooms - perhaps it gets back to "pack light" and try to plan your trip so you return to your hotel where your stuff in each evening instead of stopping along the way to sightsee.
suec1 is offline  
Sep 11th, 2010, 03:48 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 3,997
Bridget - I just found an OLD post and topped it - the issue has been discussed here but hopefully it will not end up being something you have to deal with. Bon voyage!
suec1 is offline  
Sep 11th, 2010, 05:20 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 8,351
I go to France in a Dutch car. Clearly I am a tourist. The car is a Prius so a hatchback with a cover over the luggage area, not a boot.

I leave luggage in the car overnight at hotels when we are just stopping off on the way to somewhere else. I only do it in hotel car parks, not hotels which use a public car park. If possible the car is reversed in against a wall.

My valuables - camera, laptop, any jewellery I may have with me, go into the hotel with me. There is often stuff on the back seat too, and a cool box between the seats. I could put on a flag on the car saying tourist, but it is hardly necessary.

I have never had anything stolen. Maybe I have been lucky. I honestly think there is more chance of your car being broken into at a motorway service stop than a hotel.

The advice of a chain and lock on the topped thread is perhaps worth considering.

It seems it used to be that French hire cars could be identified by their plates, but under the new numberplate system I am not sure if that still holds true.
hetismij is offline  
Sep 11th, 2010, 05:37 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 75,935
First, let me say that I have traveled to nearly 50 nations and have no fear however I am shocked at so many comments regarding the breaking into of vehicles and stealing in hotel rooms all across France.>

garbage is what you have been reading and where? Like many above i have driven all over the Hexagon and never never had anything stolen from my car. This is outside of Paris - in certain parts of Paris there may be problems.

But others have asked where have you been reading this MISINFORMATION IMO?

Where - it makes a difference as to the crediblity of the source.
PalenQ is offline  
Sep 11th, 2010, 05:48 AM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 4,266
My car was broken into in Perth, Aus, and was stolen in Melbourne, Aus.

Can happen anywhere. I suspect it is no more likely in France than anywhere else.

Shiiiiite happens sometimes.
Peter_S_Aus is offline  
Sep 11th, 2010, 06:11 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,412
I think the two issues are separate. I have not read about rampant break-ins in hotels in France, nor do I remember reports of anybody having anything stolen from a French hotel room here on Fodor's. I have, however, heard about things stolen from parked vehicles and have even been warned about this by hotel personnel in France.

The advice I have read is that if you absolutely must leave luggage in your car (and sometimes it is unavoidable, such as when you stop to see a sight between hotels as you travel by car through the countryside), you should back the car up to a wall so it is difficult to open the trunk. And you should make sure there is nothing visible inside the car. You should open the trunk only when you are leaving a parking spot, not when you are arriving, so that somebody watching the lot will not see what you have in your trunk before you go off to sightsee.
Nikki is offline  
Sep 11th, 2010, 07:52 AM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 2,910
I think you have every right to be concerned bridgetS, we all do. Why not take precautions when travelling and the philosophy that ¨my car has never been stolen, therefore cars are not stolen¨ is quite naive. It really does not make any difference how many times someone has driven in France, the risk is always with the next time.

We have friends who live near Melun just south east of Paris. Together we drove to a nearby Carrefour with our car full of luggage. Our French friend would not allow our car to be left unattended. She insisted in staying behind to protect our luggage as we did our shopping. An extreme measure? she didn´t think so.

It´s really quite easy for anyone to pick-out rental cars, those most likely to be driven by tourists. If you lease a car, the red license plates are a give-away. The little white ¨diesel only¨ sticker on your exterior gas cap is another. No car owner leaves stickers like these on his car and if you try to remove the sticker on your rental, it always seems to leave a non-faded image of where it was.

Those of you who drive a lot in France probably know that a Frenchman is more likely to remember the department in which the car in front of him is registered than he is to remember its color or make. Local drivers will note quickly if your department number is not from one nearby. Even with the removal of the number from the license tag on newer cars has not eliminated this identity element as most drivers now include it in the license plate frame. Europcar seems to register its cars in Haute Normandie. The department number of Seine Maritime, 76, seen on a car driving around Provence is certainly noticed and if it is not driving by a foreign tourist, it´s most likely a French tourist.

Being sensitive to the threats posed by thieves is not meant to ruin your vacation, quite the opposite, being alert and prepared can prevent one´s becoming a victim and having his vacation cut short or destroyed. Valuables should be locked in the glove box, nothing should be left in view which might attract thieves, and take advantage of monitored parking whenever it is available.
Sarastro is offline  
Sep 11th, 2010, 08:11 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,379
Well, of course there is theft in France, why wouldn't there be. I would be surprised if you read reports that it was really prevalent and much more common than in many other countries, though. As usual, there is a lot more in certain areas, I know I've read a lot about theft from cars down in Provence or along the Cote d'Azure, in particular, and I know I've read about that on Fodors as well as many other places. I have certainly read about theft from hotel rooms in France, but just random events. I usually read about an occasional theft when I'm reading hotel reviews, for example.

I don't know why you would be shocked about this, there is theft everywhere (probably even in Bhutan, but maybe not in some places).
Christina is offline  
Sep 11th, 2010, 09:33 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,239
suec1: You had to search out a six year old thread?? Yes - that certainly proves that theft is rampant in France.

(BTW - a better way to do that is to post the actual link - - than to top such an old thread)

Theft from tourists cars can happen ANYWHERE - San Francisco, Florida, France, Oslo, Sydney - you name it. Sensible people don't leave anything in view that yells "This car belongs to a tourist". Suitcases in the trunk, maps in the glove box, etc. And don't park in a touristy area and then put the luggage in the trunk. That sort of defeats the purpose.

But I'd take the exact same precautions anywhere.
janisj is offline  
Sep 11th, 2010, 09:59 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 3,997
Janisj - I pulled that to show that indeed there had been such discussions on this board, I did not say it proved theft was rampant in France - it just seemed to me that the OP was making a post about something that concerned her and was being hmmmm, what word,.........sorry if I unwittingly did a board faux pas.....sometimes it seems there are SO MANY ways to offend here. Would you mind starting a post about all the things that make the expert posters crazy so the rest of us know all the rules?
suec1 is offline  
Sep 11th, 2010, 10:20 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,239
Jeeze. I wasn't posting a "Rule". I was explaining a better/easier way to point someone to another thread. Instead of topping it -- post the link. Then they don't have to search the list of threads or click on your name to figure out which one you are talking about.

I was trying to help -- but you can do it any way you want . . . . .
janisj is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:38 AM.