Are you scared about using the Paris Metro? I’m a French native and know the Paris Metro well. With 16 lines and 205 km of track, I often get asked: Paris Metro Is It safe?
The answer to Paris Metro is it safe depends on your behaviour. If you show a lot of valuable objects whilst travelling, my answer is yes, you will be in danger. If you learn about common pickpocket techniques, you will not have problems. Of course, there are some areas that tourists should avoid.
When you use the Paris Metro regularly, you become aware of common pickpockets techniques. In this article, I will share 10 golden rules to help you to stay safe and avoid problems on the Paris Metro.
Paris Metro Is It Safe? 10 Golden Rules
1. Listen for the ‘Door Closing’ Signal
The ‘door closing’ signal obviously means the doors are going to close. At this time, it is very easy for pickpockets to steal from you and exit before the doors close. The pickpocket has the chance to steal from you and leave the train just before the doors shut. No chance for you to catch them!
2. Stay Awake and Alert
If you are tired, you may fall asleep in the train. Whilst you are sleeping, you are likely to lose your handbag or wallet. So, stay awake and alert.
3. Don’t Be Too Nice
This scenario can happen with two pickpockets working together. The first drops her card or wallet in front of you and because you are a gentleman, you bend down to help her. At this moment, the second pickpocket empties your back pocket. Don’t be too nice!
4. Ignore Fake Alerts
The Paris Metro is crowded. Sometimes, you can hear Voleur! (Thief!) being shouted somewhere in the crowd. Your first instinct is to put your hands exactly where you have your most valuable things. By doing this, you just tell the pickpockets where your valuables are. Don’t react!
5. Be Wary of Distractions
Most organised pickpockets can organise fake fights, fake arguments and other distractions within their group. They use these distractions as an opportunity to steal from you. Be vigilant!
6. Take Extra Care on Line 9
Line 9 is the most dangerous line of the Paris Metro and runs from Boulogne in the west to Montreuil in the east with stops at Trocadero and the Champs-Elysees. Be extra careful!
7. Don’t Be Charitable
On the Paris Metro, there are a lot of fake charities or activists asking you for money or to sign something. The purpose of this is to distract you and to make you an easy target for other pickpockets. Be aware that pickpockets are organised and work together in gangs.
8. Secure Bags and Wallets
To make the life of pickpockets harder, the easy solution in any country is to put your valuables in a well zipped, properly sealed pouch, strapped around you. Another tip is to use the humble paper clip to tie your rucksack zips together.
We highly recommend that you use a travel wallet which goes across the body and can be concealed under clothes like the one below.
9. Be Cautious if Someone Spills a Drink on You
Another favourite pickpocket technique is to spill a drink on you. The pickpocket will mop you up with a tissue and at the same time rob you. Don’t let strangers get too close to you!
10. Use Your Common Sense and Stay Vigilant
Remember that you are on vacation in Paris, so you don’t need to rush. You can wait for the next Metro train and avoid the crowds.
Don’t show off your valuables. It is better to use your mobile phone in a safe place than in front of everyone. Remove your jewellery before travelling. Never wear it in the Paris Metro, but put it back on when you arrive at the Opera.
Be aware that a lot of children under 15 are pickpockets working for their parents. Why? Because if they are caught by the police, the police can do nothing with them as they are under the age limit. So basically, there is no risk for them.
Now you are aware of some common pickpocket techniques, don’t give the pickpockets what they want. They are looking for easy targets. You will be safe if you are smarter than the average tourist, because they want to steal quickly and without problems. Remember our 10 golden rules!
For more information about the Paris Metro, check out the RATP website.
If you are looking for things to do in Paris, make sure you read our comprehensive 2-day guide which might surprise you. Prepare in advance for your trip and familiarize yourself with the Paris Metro system.
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Let me know your experiences of the Metro at Paris. How was it for you?