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Traveling in France....neighborhood to avoid?

Traveling in France....neighborhood to avoid?

Feb 24th, 2015, 09:38 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2015
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Traveling in France....neighborhood to avoid?

We'll be bring our kids to France this spring and will be stopping by the following cities/area:
- Paris
- Blois
- Castles around the Loire River
- Tour
- Renne
- Mount St Michel
- Deauville
- Honfleur
- Rouen

Could you please kindly let me know if there is neighborhood(s) in these cities that may not be safe and should avoid? How late can I walk around these cities and still pretty safe. Is pick-pocketing common outside of Paris?

Many thanks.
NewHere is offline  
Feb 24th, 2015, 09:46 AM
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You are not likely to find yourself in unsafe neighborhoods. Undoubtedly they exist, but if you are asking the question it probably means that you are not familiar with France and would be sticking to the main tourist venues.

Pickpockets exist all over the world. I do not consider them to be a safety issue; they try to work as inconspicuously as possible. The Paris metro makes regular public announcements warning you of the problem, especially on the lines (no. 1?) heavily used by tourists
Michael is online now  
Feb 24th, 2015, 11:09 AM
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A couple of thoughts...be mindful of your surroundings. If one is using the ATM, have another stand directly behind him/her to avoid anyone looking over your shoulder for a PIN number. Keep your purses or backpacks closed/zipped. Same advice if you were travelling to Chicago, NY or LA. Don't be an obvious target, don't get distracted by pan handlers, non-tourist types asking for directions, etc. Leave major valuables in the room safe, don't carry huge amounts of cash and have a copy of passports, list of credit cards and emergency numbers available just in case. Don't have to be paranoid, just mindful.
Iahawk is offline  
Feb 24th, 2015, 11:19 AM
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You should never forget that the tourist areas are the most unsafe for tourists -- that is where the pickpockets, scam artists, purse snatchers, etc., do their most productive work.

However, all risks are very low if you have any sense of how to protect your possessions in urban areas.
kerouac is offline  
Feb 24th, 2015, 12:14 PM
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All the towns you list are very safe.
sanderskn is offline  
Feb 24th, 2015, 12:59 PM
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the no go areas where even police don't dare go hyped a while back on Fox Noise just do not exist but they would not be recommended for an obviously wealthy foreign tourist to be walking around in.

I've been in more than a few just to see what they are like and in the daytime felt pretty safe - nothing at all like the inner cities of America where one would definitely not feel safe - like in my beloved Detroit!

Asians apparently are being targeted in some places because thieves think they are loaded with cash.

and take terouac, a Parisian resident's words to heart - you're by far in the most danger of being robbed or pickpocketed in a heavily touristed area- like my Asian friend who had his I phone stolen in a McDonalds by the old thieves working in twos thing - two young Romani gals about 14 came up to this table with something printed on a large sheet - probably asking for donations for their dire straits and when he was reading the sheet one of them took his phone - a very common tactic - divergence - be very careful of anyone coming up to you for any reason unfortunately

and don't fall for common ruses like someone just finding an expensive watch or piece of jewelry and offering to sell it to you - or anyone in metro stations offering to help you buy tickets from machines - be careful going thru metro turnstiles - folks from behind can deftly open a day pack or empty your back pockets - always wear a secure under your clothing security device - especially in crowded areas and even museums!
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 24th, 2015, 01:43 PM
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The fact is that tourists are not likely to go to dangerous neighborhoods, they just aren't, in the typical course of events. Especially not sightseeing with children. All of those are small to moderate cities, anyway, except Paris. I don't think you realize how big Paris is, nor even Rouen. You aren't going to be walking around the entire city.

Tourist sites are not dangerous in terms of physical crime, serious stuff, but are for pickpocketing.
Christina is offline  
Feb 24th, 2015, 01:55 PM
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How old are your kids?
Ackislander is offline  
Feb 24th, 2015, 04:17 PM
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Anyplace in France is safer than almost anyplace in the US. T

he potential issues are not safety ones (muggings, murders) but minor crime (pickpocketing, grabbing a purse or phone) and thee can easily be foiled by simply hanging onto your stuff at all times. And yes, this mean in stores, restaurants, cafes and even public areas of your hotel - just as you would anyplace at home.

Oh - and men - do NOT carry wallet or money in back pants pocket - they can be slit ina second and you won't eevn know.. Put either in front pocket or inside jacket pocket.
nytraveler is offline  
Feb 24th, 2015, 06:09 PM
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To add to the others, keep out of dark alleyways at night and you'll do fine.
Robert2533 is offline  
Feb 25th, 2015, 07:25 AM
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Thank you all for the advices.
I have been to france 3 times in the past, but many many years ago without kids. I once almost got pick-pocketed while i was in rome and I was really surprised how open these ppl were. they didn't care when you looked at them in their eyes telling them that i know they are trying to steal my thing. i didn't feel paris was not safe when i was there. but, my friend was in paris two years ago and got pick-pocketed while taking metro. she didn't even know it until she was trying to buy stuff in a store. so, i started wonder how alert should i be and if i would be ok carrying my cross-over bag and hang in front of me (inside of side).
my kids are 2, 4, and 7. so obviously, we probably can't run as fast if we are in trouble. just want to make sure that we don't accidentally go into the wrong neighborhood. i'll stick w the tourist street rather than the back alleys then.
i have heard that asian are the big target these days. unfortunately, i'm asian....but i don't have a habbit of carrying lots of cash on me. usually just couple bucks. any tips on how to not to look like an "asian target"? =)
thank you all again.
NewHere is offline  
Feb 25th, 2015, 09:12 AM
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usually just couple bucks. any tips on how to not to look like an "asian target"? =)>

dress down don't expose an expensive phone or camera, etc. but really just know the problem so you are not a sitting duck and you should have no problems - strongarms robberies I think are rare.
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 25th, 2015, 11:28 AM
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I asked about the kids ages because teens are a problem. They have all that technology and don't take very good care of it. Be careful yourself: never leave so purse, camera, or phone on a table or chair in a public place.

Younger children should be fine. There is a LOT of graffiti in Paris, most of it just stupid tagging, but it makes some places look scarier than they are. You are more likely to avoid places that are safe based on appearance than to stray into someplace scary for real.

Paris has great parks for children, the Jardin du Luxembourg being the best. I would have a talk with the older ones about what to do if you get separated. Otherwise, enjoy.

How not to "look Asian": crooks are looking for PRC Chinese and for Japanese. Like Americans abroad in the 1950's, they travel in packs with guides, show no respect in churches or solemn historic places, and they dress funny. I hate to stereotype, but you will know immediately what I am talking about when you go to Notre Dame. You won't be taken for them.
Ackislander is offline  
Feb 25th, 2015, 11:40 AM
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Just to add to Ackislander's advice above, Asians from People's Republic of China often travel to Paris with huge wads of cash to buy designer items. Thieves have become aware of this and have targeted those people.
You will be fine. Enjoy your trip!
raincitygirl is offline  
Feb 25th, 2015, 11:46 AM
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my kids are 2, 4, and 7. so obviously, we probably can't run as fast if we are in trouble. >>

honestly, you'd have to be very unlucky to have to run away from anyone!

with the kids in tow, you might like to think about using a money belt - it'll leave both hands free for holding hands, wiping noses, dealing with tickets etc.
annhig is offline  
Feb 25th, 2015, 12:07 PM
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We have plenty of local Asians in some of the arrondissements such as the 10th, the 13th or the 18th. If you want to try to blend in, they are perfect places to go. In my own part of the 18th (metro Marx Dormoy), as an ethnic European, I am pretty much the ethnic minority of the area, which is mostly Chinese, Indian, African and Maghrebi. I very much like it here.
kerouac is offline  
Feb 25th, 2015, 01:47 PM
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I've found a couple of good techniques for fending off anyone in France who tries to lure you into a conversation leading to a scam/pickpocketing/etc.:

1. If approached, respond with an immediate, firm "Non, desolé!" and no eye contact. Two little words in French will send the message that you're NOT a clueless tourist and you're on to their game, and they'll look elsewhere for prey.

2. Don't wear anything remotely "touristy" (e.g., a big day bag full of maps, guide books and water bottles, sneakers). Especially in Paris, wearing basic black with a chic scarf will help you blend in with the locals.

3. As someone else mentioned, don't keep anything "behind" you -- no backpack, no back-pocket wallet or phone. When cruising around the city, I never carry anything more than a small crossbody bag that's thin enough to fit under my coat, so it's not even visible.

A handy kid tip: When we took three of ours to France in 2000 (ages 10, 11 and 18), we made sure they always had a few business cards from our hotel somewhere on them. That way, if they were ever (god forbid!) lost, they could find the nearest police officer and show him the card to indicate where they were staying. Fortunately, they never had to use that trick, but I felt better knowing that they had "hotel ID" on them
DancesWithWords is offline  
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