Back to Life in Paris
As a result of Monday’s newsletter, “To Catch a Barcelona Thief,” so many of you had a story you wanted to tell about some thievery while traveling or a suggestion on how to avoid it, that I am compelled to share them with you. (To read Monday’s issue, visit /parlerparis/issues/readpastissues.html)
A while ago, we created the Parler Paris Reader Forum, meant particularly for that reason — so that you could share your comments with me and all the Parler Paris readers. When you hit “Reply” to a Parler Paris newsletter, it goes to a customer service email address which I may never see! And I’d hate to miss your important comments! So, please take this opportunity to use the Forum: /parlerparis/forum
One story worth sharing with you from Adelbart B. will be helpful next time you’re taking cash from an ATM: “I was in Paris at an ATM trying to get money and was having a problem. A helpful person came up and tried to assist me. While he distracted me with reading the screen, he cleverly removed my card and quickly disappeared.”
Scott K. wrote that “You should follow my wife’s practice of getting a leg pack, which we buy at AAA in USA and always carry ALL credit cards, money, etc.”
The sad part is, that we really shouldn’t have to go to such extremes or be so concerned about all those misguided people out there who chose to make their vocation methods of praying upon others. At the Barcelona police station, it was such a matter of routine that not only was there a line of tourists making the same complaint, but the forms to complete were lined up along with pens ready to hand out. We wondered why they weren’t making more of an effort to stop the pickpocketing, and what kind of effort could they really make? Here in Paris, you will often hear announcements on the Métro reminding you to watch your personal belongings. Shouldn’t all heavily touristed areas post some sort of warnings? And shouldn’t the police be on particular look-out? Or are they and it doesn’t much matter?
Recuperating from the theft the last few days has been both a nightmare and a blessing. American Express had an emergency credit card waiting for me at their rue Scribe office — but it didn’t do me any good when I arrived directly from the airport with all my luggage to be told the “résponsable” (supervisor) had gone home 30 minutes early leaving no access to the card!
Frustrated, I hopped on a bus to head home stopping first at SFR at Place de la République to try to replace the cell phone. (How did we live without cellular phones!? SFR has a special site for International travelers in English to learn how to use your cell phone while you’re traveling here: http://www.sfr.com/en/index.jsp)
Here the personel were particularly nice and helpful. Thanks to an accumulation of “points rouges” (frequent user points), for a whopping 9€ I could treat myself to a new mobile with email and WiFi/Internet. The only problem…they wouldn’t accept the police report from Barcelona in Spanish. That sent me
treking to the “Commissariat” of the 3rd arrondissement — the police station at 4Bis rue aux Ours (01.42.76.13.00). (http://www.PagesJaunes.fr lists 21 Commissariats in Paris [department 75]– just in case you ever need to report a crime, find the one in the district where the crime took place, at just about any hour.)
While the French police could not have been nicer or more understanding, the process took well over 2 hours and still, the report was not complete, missing the “IMEI” number from the stolen cell phone, which of course, I wouldn’t have had! By now the long day turned past midnight scouring the closets for the original packaging which would have this important serial number.
The next morning, a trip to the bank (CIC) was in order to unblock the checking accounts and stop payment on the checks lost. There is a steep charge to do this — more than 32€ per two check numbers. Ugh! Mission accomplished, the next stop was again SFR, which almost didn’t accept the report without the IMEI number written directly on it and verified by the police stamp. Begging, pleading, crying and having the original phone box along with my passport and the checking account from which the payments are extracted elicited a positive response. Within moments came an explanation of the various phones available with Internet and email; not a difficult decision to make, but with my luck the way it was, it’s no surprise that the store was out of stock. That sent me down to another branch on rue de Rivoli…yet another hoop over which to leap. Help!
“Darty” is an appliance store to which I’ve become quite “fidèle” over the years, so it was there I quickly purchased a new digital camera. My daughter’s advice was…”buy a Sony Cyber–Shot — it’s simple enough for you to handle!” And so I did. It’s tiny, sleek and no joke — simple. The instructions come in several languages and are for “Photography for Idiots”…”To turn on the camera, press the Power button.” Even with this simple camera and armed with the photo guide, “Big Bucks for Snapshots: 53 Can’t Miss Techniques for Becoming a Money-Making Freelance Photographer, I should be on the road again to great Paris photos. (This is your last chance to get a hold of this popular photo guides — click here for more information: http://www.thephotographerslife.com/bgb/09. And if you don’t already know about Darty, you should if you plan to purchase any electrical device here — they guarantee everything for at least one year and their service is top notch. Recently they introduced “Dartybox” — Internet, Television, Telephone with guaranteed installation. Visit http://www.darty.com for more information.)
With still a few more things to complete the recuperation process, I learned that my medical insurance was not up to date and therefore wouldn’t cover my lost eyeglasses! If this hadn’t happened, I would never had known! So, since there is a reason for everything in life, perhaps that was the real reason to have lost all my personal goods…now I can reinstate the medical insurance and be prepared for something really serious — much more serious than separation from a few possessions.
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris
P.S. Come to Patricia Laplante Collins Paris Soirées this Sunday night April 1st at 6:30 p.m. for her 8th Anniverasry Celebration and Soiree Gastronomique: “The Cuisine Of India” prepared by Chef Jonathan Robert Frost, with a short talk: “What Is India To Me” by Indian Designer Katrina Neal and I’ll bring along some of Erica Simone’s best photos from our recent trip to India. For more information, visit http://www.paris-update.com/fr/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=512&Itemid=18 or http://www.parissoirees.com