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Montmartre Property Picks And Pickpocketing Prevention

Very often I’m asked about how safe Paris is (especially for women traveling alone) or about spending time in particular neighborhoods. As a woman, very often on my own at all hours of the day or night, I must admit that I never have felt any threat whatsoever and have never experienced the paranoia I lived with daily even in the best neighborhoods in Los Angeles.

This isn’t to say that something couldn’t happen — only once was I pickpocketed and that was within two months of arrival in Paris in 1994. I lost two passports (mine and my daughter’s), a carte de séjour, money, checks, credit cards and sentimental photos. The devastation of the loss taught me how never to be pickpocketed again.

I hear pickpocketing stories on a regular basis from visitors to Paris. Most pickpocketing is done on the Métro (about 40%) and of course, in tourist areas, and to tourists. One of the most fascinating incidents happened just a couple weeks ago to a reader of Parler Paris…

“On the TGV to Geneva my wife, I realized that the diamond was no longer in her ring. The prongs in the setting were bent outward and back and the diamond was gone! Oh well, it is insured, but that was the diamond I gave her 33 years ago. I have thought through how they pulled this off. They did it in 5 to 7 seconds, in my opinion. Since we were going to the train station, we had all our bags. I had a bag in each hand and a back pack. She had her hand on the roll-on bag and that was the hand the ring was on.”

“One suggested technique to foil an attempt: on the escalator, stand side ways, with back to the wall. No one can be behind you and you can see the person on the step above you and the person on the step below you. It makes it hard for anyone to fool with a back pack or back pockets, plus you can see everyone around you.”

R.C., Charleston, SC

R.C. offers up some of this own suggestions on how to avoid being pickpocketed:

1. When traveling on the Métro with bags, let the crowds pass you before getting on escalators or stairs. Stand aside and let everyone else get on the escalator. Be one of the last people to get on the escalator.

2. Stand so you can see the person in front and behind you on the escalator. Preferably, stand with your back to the wall so it is hard for a thief to get to back pockets or to tamper with backpacks.

3. If the person in front of you drops down to pick up an object and blocks you from getting off the escalator put a knee or foot on their back near the shoulder blades and step over him to exit the escalator. If you simply try to step over the person he can raise up and cause you to fall over. It’s hard for him to do it if your weight is on him. Get off the escalator immediately! A pile up will occur in just a second or two if you don’t get off.

4. Don’t wear expensive jewelry in the subway.

5. Buy travel clothes that have zip pockets and hidden pockets ( I particularly like their Classic Travel Blazer and Classic Travel Pants. They have clothing for women too. The clothes are not expensive, pack easily, and are wrinkle resistant.

These are all great suggestions, and I’d like to offer a few of my own. First, it starts with not looking like a “victim.” Dress and behave as little like a tourist as possible, sometimes impossible while carrying maps, cameras, speaking in English, etc., but more passable if you try to blend into the Parisian style by avoiding wearing white athletic shoes or fanny packs! Second, be very aware of who is around you and don’t be afraid to look them squarely in the eye — this would unnerve a would-be pickpocketer. Third, separate your valuables into different small wallets or cases (credit cards separate from cash, checkbook separate, copy of your passport with the real passport in the hotel safe, for example) — so that if all they get is your cash (and don’t carry too much!), it will be a small loss. And yes, tone down everything…go for modest jewelry, subdued colors, lower your voice when speaking, etc., so you just become a part of the scenery.

Guess that’s why no one has bothered to test out their pickpocketing capabilities on me ever since that fateful day in 1994 — I’ve just become part of the scenery. (Uh oh. Is that good or bad?)

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris
E-mail: [email protected]

P.S. Today’s Property Picks are in honor of “La Fête des Vendanges de Montmartre” (starting today — check Wednesday’s Parler Paris Previews for more details) and “Haven in Paris,” Montmartre resident Erica Berman’s new rental management firm, opened just recently after working many years with another agency specializing in Paris vacation apartments, most of which were located in Montmartre. Her favorite (naturally) is her own revenue-generating rental apartment with a drop-dead gorgeous view of Sacré Coeur, and you can visit several of the apartments now represented by Erica by visiting /parlerparis/apartments For more information, contact Erica Berman at [email protected], Tel: 33-1-44-92-06-

55, Cell: 33-6-10-28-26-06.

P.P.S. Mark your calendar for Parler Paris Après Midi this coming Tuesday. Visit /parlerparis/apresmidi.html for all the details. See you there.


Each week Paris Property Picks features a range of properties which we believe are on the market at the time of writing. These properties are featured in order to give readers a sample of what is currently available and a working example of prices being asked in various districts of Paris. As we are not a real estate agency, these properties do not constitute a sales listing. For those readers seriously interested in finding property in Paris or France, you can retain our services to do the whole thing for you. For more information, visit /frenchproperty/insider/propertyconsultation.html

2 Rooms 31 m² 75018 Paris 18th Proximity: Simplon View of Sacré Coeur

Beautiful old building, on the last floor with an elevator, beautiful unobstructed view of the rooftops, small balcony southwest facing, view of Sacré Coeur, Sacré Coeur, entry, salon, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom with WC. Parquet, cave. Very bright, calm.

Asking price 147,000 Euros + 2% Finder’s Fee

4 Rooms 88 m² 75018 Paris 18th Proximity: Jules Joffrin

On the 6th and last floor with an elevator, south facing with a large balcony, view on Sacré Coeur. Beautiful apartment with parquet, moldings, fireplace, salon 33 m², 2 bedrooms, kitchen, bathroom, WC, dressing, cave. Heating collective. Needs renovation.

Asking price 460,000 Euros + 2% Finder’s Fee




Duplex 4 rooms 91 m² 75018 Paris 18th

At the height of Montmartre, Rue Cortot, Superb Duplex of 91 m², 6/7th floor with an elevator, panoramique view on Paris facing south, grand balcony on a garden, 2 bedrooms and one mezzanine, double salon. Quality materials, perfect condition.

Asking price 920,000 Euros + 2% Finder’s Fee

Studio 35 m² 75018 Paris 18th Proximity: Guy Moquet

On the gardens of Belliard, a building of good standing, unobstructed view of Sacré Coeur, 6th floor with elevator, interphone, digicode, large bathroom, equipped kitchen, lots of cabinetry, private garden, cellar and parking.

Asking price 205,000 Euros + 2% Finder’s Fee


2 Rooms 40 m² 75018 Paris 18th Proximity: Château Rouge

On the 7th and last floor with an elevator, 2 charming rooms with terrace and view of Sacré Coeur, beautiful recently renovated building, guardian, collective heating, cellar, salon, bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, WC and dressing, parquet.

Asking price 215,000 Euros + 2% Finder’s Fee


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