We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

2 days in Paris & no problems!

Which Paris hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
West Midlands
posts: 129
reviews: 118
2 days in Paris & no problems!

I know I am repeating what has already been said, but these are my 2 days in Paris. I am over 60 and travelled alone. I arrived at Gare du Nord on Eurostar and hope I looked Parisian with dark pants, dark shoes and a modest shirt. I had a zipped back pack and a large zipped bag for my luggage, and I strode out of the station by a side door where people were waiting for taxis, as if I knew where I was going. I didn't notice anyone hanging around and no-one interacted with me. A 15 minute walk took me to my hotel just south of Montmatre. I left my passport in the hotel safe, my drivers license is all that is needed to satisfy police if stopped. My wallet was in my right pants pocket and I wedged my smartphone in horizontally, so everything was tight and I could feel things against my leg. My coat with zipped pockets covered my pants pocket opening anyway. Later I walked towards Concorde and it was obvious that Parisians walk the streets of their city with confidence. No one looked afraid! Many women walking alone. I did see clipboard girls at Concorde but they did not appear to be aggresive.

Now, "the scam": Twice between there and Arc De Triomphe a dark skinned man "found" something on the ground. I did not slow down or even aknowledge him.

The following day I used the metro quite a lot and had no problems at all. I tried to stand so that no-one could come along my right side where my wallet was, and I also tried to have something at my back so no-one could open my backpack.

The only times I felt uneasy was walking between Moulin Rouge and Carrefoure in Pigalle after dark, to get back to Montmatre. I think Pigalle is a little seedy, what with all those sex shops, and twice I was spoken to by dark skinned men lurking on dark corners of Bvd De Clichy. I don't know what they were offering but again a polite "non merci" sufficed and I kept on walking.

I was also spoken to by one of a group of 4 men (again dark skinned) almost blocking the entrance to the small park below Sacre Coeur, just to the right of the funicular railway in lower Montmatre. They seem to be there day and night. Again I did not engage them in any way.

I think to sum up, remember what your parents must have told you when you were little and Don't Speak To Strangers! Try not to interact with anyone who is obviously not a tourist. Most Parisians have no reason to speak to you. Nothing much happens when you are on the move, it's when you are stationary that you need to be extra vigilent. Keep valuables out of sight. I put loose change in my left pocket and €20 or so in my shirt pocket, so I would not have to take out my wallet too often. Hang your camera around your neck and not over your shoulder. It's mainly common sense like when you are in any large city.

I really enjoyed taking in the atmosphere of Paris by walking the streets. You miss such a lot when using the metro. You must not be afraid of visiting Paris. Just be careful and watch for scams etc.

PARIS
posts: 6,312
reviews: 395
1. Re: 2 days in Paris & no problems!

'Dark skinned' men....tremble!!!!!!

Minneapolis
posts: 1,218
reviews: 37
2. Re: 2 days in Paris & no problems!

Wow. You worked really hard on your trip and it paid off. But watch for scams and dark skinned men?

I assume you meant no harm and your intentions are good. It just sounds a whole lot like profiling. And if I were a dark skinned man, I would be pretty offended.

West Midlands
posts: 129
reviews: 118
3. Re: 2 days in Paris & no problems!

Er...Yes. In hindsight I should have added a comment to say that Paris, like most big cities including London, is now a multi racial society and I feel certain that the majority of people of ethnic origins are decent hard working people. I am certainly not racialist, however I wrote honestly and both men who "found" something that was dropped, and the men outside the small park in lower Montmatre, and those on the street corners in Pigalle were all men of ethnic origins. It is a statement of fact and nothing else. Maybe my imressions are unbalanced but this is what I observed.

Victoria, Canada
posts: 17,293
reviews: 52
4. Re: 2 days in Paris & no problems!

Glad you are enjoying yourself, I found your report to be just fine, I don't stand for much pc, I realize you weren't trying to paint an entire group of people, but were relaying your encounters ( or encounters you avoided) in a factual way.

Minneapolis
posts: 1,218
reviews: 37
5. Re: 2 days in Paris & no problems!

I don't think your impressions were imbalanced - they were simply, yours. While I try to avoid PC, it is always a balance. I am in the middle of a anti-stigma campaign and it has seeped into everything!

Thanks for the report.

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for Rome, Amalfi
posts: 27,864
reviews: 10
6. Re: 2 days in Paris & no problems!

Only talk to other tourists? I would never follow that advice personally. Talking to other tourists is fine but I really enjoy meeting people who live where I am visiting and always manage to do so - even if it is for a brief amount of time.

Mentioning that you saw women walking alone sounds a bit odd to me as well; it is a huge city, of course, there will be people - men and women - walking around alone. To point it out makes it seem as though there is something unusual about that.

Glad your trip went well - but, as a female solo traveler who loves talking to interesting people, whether they are tourists or locals, and isn't that aware of the color of people's skin most of the time, it is an interesting perspective. One I am glad not to have but I always find it interesting to read what other travelers notice - and don't notice.

West Sussex, England
posts: 2,342
7. Re: 2 days in Paris & no problems!

Have to say, that your report read as if you went to Paris with the idea that you were venturing into some extremely dangerous place, full of scammers, and where you were quite surprised to see women walking alone! I guess you must have been reading a lot of 'scare stories' beforehand - ?

I hope now you have actually been, and survived to tell the tale, that you will feel a bit more relaxed on your next visit. Of course, Paris is a big city and will attract its share of scammers, beggars, pickpockets, etc, and you do need to be careful in situations like crowded metro, groups watching street performers etc, but it would be a pity for any visitors to be so focussed on 'staying safe' that they were not able to relax and enjoy this beautiful city.

As a sidenote - I actually feel that I am *less* likely to be targeted by scammers when I am alone, than when I am with friends or family - obvious reasons: less likely to be distracted, will not be heard speaking English, and tend to move more purposefully than when having to check with others where they want to go/is everybody still together, etc.

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for Rome, Amalfi
posts: 27,864
reviews: 10
8. Re: 2 days in Paris & no problems!

I'm curious - is this your trip report? Did you have a nice visit to Paris? Do things that you found interesting enough to mention here?

UK
posts: 10,189
9. Re: 2 days in Paris & no problems!

I would imagine the OP is posting as a result of reading the interminable scam/pickpocket posts on here. There's one running at present with over 100 posts so no wonder visitors are concerned about safety issues.

Paris, France
posts: 23,196
reviews: 33
10. Re: 2 days in Paris & no problems!

I agree with Sussexgirl -- solo travellers are more focused on what they are doing and are harder to prey upon than groups. In a group, if one person hesitates for a scam, the whole group stops -- pure gold for a scammer!