The Eiffel Tower this week



So the Eiffel tower has really been at it last week. As I shared in my last post we had Blue-White-Red decorations until Thanksgiving day following the events of Nov 13th and then the tower went green (literally) for the COM 21 event and now we have an excellent light show on this Saturday night. I don’t know what we’re celebrating but PARTY ON PARIS.

For a daily photo update of the Eiffel Tower follow @Eiffletower_Paris_ to which I contribute some of my photos.

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This morning’s light was too nice not to share as well

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Two weeks later: the Paris attacks of Friday the 13th


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taken on 14/11/2015 “Still Standing”

 

November 27 2016:

It has been hard to know what to write. With everything that has happened and everyday new fears rising; I often am at a lose for words for the things that we are living in this moment. As a school teacher I’m trying to help my little ones understand how this all could be: how it is possible for me to tell them everyday to be accepting of eachother and then for them to hear that our city was attacted just for what we are. Some of them don’t sleep on Sunday nights anymore; their parents write to us telling us they are afraid that the terrosists will be at thier school on Monday. I don’t know what to tell them. I don’t know how to comfort them because I cannot tell them that we are entirely safe. I just let them express themselves when I can and I hope that the music and laughter reminds them that our world is a beautiful one and that we should do all we can to share that even with people who may not understand it.

It wasn’t for nothing that they chose this place. Paris in itself is a city of light, beauty, fashion, expression and gourmandise; the eleventh and tenth arrondissement even more so. My ever-loved quartier of Republique and the Canal St Martin is a haven for bright-eyed optimistic youths full of music, art and joie-de-vivre. This neighborhood is a cultural intersection of our city belonging not to the bobo, the bourgeoise, the Jewish, the Arab, or the African populations but a place that is truly shared and frequented by all Parisians. It is also a site for free speech, for rallying demonstrations, for people to speak thier minds and fight the injustices of our world. It is not by chance that they chose to strike us here.

Many of you were so outpouring with your support. Paris was also forced together; reminded by the fact that we are all united: even if we weren’t effected directly we all knew someone who at least knew someone who was there or worse.

But where “support” went askew is when people began to send words of “don’t worry we’ll get them”or “dirty terrorists we’ll nuke em all”… No I don’t think you understand. We don’t want that. The last thing this world needs is aggression towards these groups what we need is compassion and understanding for those that are around us.

The Monday after the attacks a man in my metro car took it upon himself to defend our city’s honor by trying to provoke a woman wearing a hajib in our car who was bringing two young boys to school. She spoke to the children in perfect (though midly-accented) French and yet the man insisted on telling her to go back to her country, to get out of his French neighborhood and other things that I wish I hadn’t heard. On my way home the same day I was behind to young men speaking in American; I could tell they were students at a local high school as they were dropping lingo about intéro, BAC, and DST. However on exiting the metro at TROCADERO (notably diverse and international neighborhood) an older woman took to exclaiming “quel accent. Oh quel accent” as her ears were bleeding and she would swoon ( and I assure you she was not of the swooning physicality) for hearing a foreign tongue on her cherished piss-sented metro platform. She persisted well after the youths had gone well-passed on a rant about foreigners that I very eagerly speed-walked away from.

How can we expect people to intergrate a culture if we are not kind enough to let them feel they belong? Have we learned nothing from the fact that these men were Europeans, with Belgian passports? These young men encountered enough prejudice, enough slander, enough hate in their everyday lives that ISIS seemed more welcoming.

Today there are hoards of refugees coming into new countries. These people are fleeing a war that they do not wish to be part of. And people are saying to turn them away because they are terrorists. I teach my students that love can save, that we are accountable for our actions towards others, and that no one is condemned to any fate. If we close our doors and turn our backs to refugees or people suffering from discrimination everyday, we are bound to create what we fear. Hate begats hate.

It is hard to love all of the time. People of every race can be proffetires: to take advantage of openess and use it as a weakness. I do solidly believe that we should gaurd ourselves but that does not mean that every person that you cross does not deserve human decensy and respect even if you feel they resemble what you feel is suspect. Even if they are the villains that you imagine them to be, cappable of acts of hate against western societites; you have an impact on them. I’m not saying that one smile to one person will keep them from the sort of madness that we were forced to witness the 13th of November but collectivly we can show people that our world can be an accepting and loving place.

Our only answer for hate is love and respect for eveyone around us. Paris does not need you to discriminate and threaten to vendicate us. We need you to do what is necessary to prevent these people’s numbers and strength from rising.It is not muslims who promote hate it is people who are hateful that use thier faith to jusitfy irrational actions. Embrase diversity, differences, and opinions that may not be your own. Honnor Paris and its fallen: show the world that we are united and that we do not anwser with hate as these killers have done.

We shall not be afraid. We shall not hate. We shall prevail. Paris est fort. Paris est uni.

Paris je t’aime.

picture by Alison Moon taken from our balcony 11/14/2015

picture by Alison Moon taken from our balcony 11/14/2015

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The Fella: Bad jokes in French


So here’s on for my French readers:

J’étais à table avec the Fella et je lui demande de me servir de l’eau et il pose sa fourchette pour me servir de l’eau.
Je lui dit: – T’aurait pu finir ta bouché avant de me servir
Il répond- Je croyais que c’était vitale
et j’ai répondu :Non c’était de L’Evian.

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Very stupid joke.

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The Fella: Les Poissons


So tonight I was cooking our Sunday dinner as I do every week. On Saturdays we go to our local market and buy fresh fish from the market for our Sunday night… this week was trout.

As I was cutting off the fish heads to toss them into the onions, tomatoes, garlic and crème fraîche I set into a verse of “Les poiiiiiissons, les poissons. how I love les poissons…” in a heavy french accent imitating the Disney cook Louis from the little Mermaid. As I looked over coyly at the fella he looked completely lost at my imitation of what almost every American would know as the stereotypical embodiment of a French Chef by Disney’s Little Mermaid that is engrained in US children’s minds and incidentally extremely useful in teaching the use of “les” as a plural pronoun to Anglophones. Of course the Fella’s look of sheer realization (once more) that he is truly living with a foreign being prodded me even more to add gusto to my performance which came at the right time as a was arriving at the “He-He-He Hon-Hon-Hon” part of the piece.

After performing throughly the entire song with full dedication the Fella mentioned that he wished that he had a way of live blogging his life with me. I agreed that this would probably be very entertaining to some.

In short YES knowing these sorts of references will come in handy at some time in your life in France. However be prepared to explain yourself when your French counterpart has no idea what on earth you are talking about. Or don’t explain yourself and go along enjoying the fact that you sand the “Les Poisons” song while chopping off fish heads in your Parisian kitchen… that’s pretty ok too.

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Embarrassed… again… what’s new?


Written October 23rd 2014

So a pretext to this story: I’ve recently moved in with the fella’ and the poor dear is discovering for the first time what and utter and complete walking disaster I truly am. And that his pristine, new apartment basically had a bull in the form of his girlfriend running through it. I had actually managed in a matter of days to punch noticeable holes in not only a wall but also the floor just by simple movements and horrible inexplicable luck.

So the fella’ has taken to saying ” don’t set the place on fire” when he leaves me alone in the morning. He says it adorably but he could very well likely fear that I may burn the place down and rightly so.

I had recently taken up running not too long after I had sent an iron plummeting through his unblemished bathroom floor and so I was trying to be very carful going through the bathroom putting on my shoes to head out for my run. I was sitting on the closed toilet seat quaintly tying my shoes when all of a sudden my butt cheeks  plummet through the seat cover and I am dunked into the toilet bowl. The seat has caved in after havering slide entirely off the bowl. There I am, half in and legs dangling off the side of the toilet bowl in utter shock all the while thinking ” oh CRAP…. He is going to kill me for this.” And here is where the adventure begins.

I haul my sore ass out of the toilet bowl and kick into high gear: the fella had only left minutes before and I was already in trouble. I bent down to inspect what on earth had caused this Incident and find that the plastic “screws” that are holding the seat on have totally worn out and that this was in fact not my fault and could have occurred at any other more compromising time. However this was only mildly reassuring because I still had a toilet with a seat in twenty pieces.

So the first question that comes to mind is how in hell’s name do I say toilet seat in French? Because the inevitable fact is that I’m going to have to find a new toilet seat by the time the fella gets home. And the awkward frantic google searching began. Toilet seat in French: abate toilette. Ok one thing down and now: how on earth do I go about BUYING  a toilet seat? Then I had to… For the first time in my life figure out how one even goes about measuring a toilet seat. Here I am: a Monday morning in running shorts and a tank top dashing between my toilet bowl and the computer trying to figure out how I’m going to deal with this. Despite my greatest efforts ( and all the while converting to metric) come to find out that the reason that the toilet seat flew off the rim and sent me into a very embarrassing position is the fact that our throne is seemingly the exception to every toilet seat rule! because there existed absolutely no product with the same measurements as this one. Of course France…. You always have to be the exception don’t you?

Still in my running clothes I figured I might as well get some exercise out of this and I set out at a jog across the Seine to a store I had found online that had something quite manageable price-wise. I get to the store and can’t find my product but I can find the same thing for 10 euros more. Finally I just buy the thing and take the metro home. There I was covered in sweat in running shorts with a toilet seat in my hands (because a bag cost extra and I didn’t have another euro) in a crowded metro full of tourists sending me side long glances and me looking back thinking “you have NO idea what kind of morning I’ve had. »

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4 days in Val de Loire (Loire Valley)


My Momma was in town! After touring for two weeks with the Magnolia Sisters my mom was ending her trip with us in Paris. Well…sort of. Mom, being the smart lady she is didn’t want to spend four august days in hot, mostly everything is closed, Paris. So we escaped! Along with the fella we rented a car and drove to Val de Loire to see some chateaux and drink some wine! with truly only those two things as objectives we set out.

Val de Loire is only an hour and a half outside of Paris (give or take traffic) and is a wonderful change from the whole city. Some of the Chateaux are even assesable directly by SNCF trains so they make an easy day trip. We started out by going into Orléans. Neither mom and I had ever been so it was pretty cool to discover this adorable city built and paved with white limestone. It was so charming, a full metropolis with shopping and transit but two steps away from the Loire, this ragging, massive, wild river that just won us over. In the main square we loved that we found magnolia trees in bloom around the statue of Joan of Arc. It was a nice reminder of home (not to mention just being in the namesake of New Orleans).

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Joan of Arc and magnolia trees

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Central Orléans

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Amazing bronze details of the life of Jean dArc

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Mom and me starting our sweet trip

We slowly made our way to the VERY small town we were staying just outside of Blois. The town of Mer was more than tiny! they had two pharmacies and 3 kebab stores and that was it. But it was so charming. Later on we discovered by walking into the inhabited parts of the town there were fresh springs flowing through it, what a cool thing! We were staying in a guest house that we had found through Gites de France a great site where you can find lodging in someone’s home or vacation rentals in France. You can even stay in a private chateaux!

Insider’s tip: find the phone number of the places you like, or their email and check your dates with them personally. When we were trying to book the site said no vacancy but the places we liked the most had plenty of room for us. It averaged out to about 45 euros a person for the cozy house we stayed in with a lovely garden and really nice people.

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AMAZING WINE and local hams with the fella

L’Épicerie D’Arlette, La cafetière émaillée 1 route National 41500 tel 02 54 81 32 20

Our first night the fella and I went out for a drive around the Chateaux Chambord which has a 13,000 acre forest around it (that’s the size of intramural paris!!!) that you can drive or discover on foot. There are also lots of activities like boating, horseback ridding, even 4-wheelers in the woods. We just road around however, trying to spot the notorious wildlife (deer, wild boar…) that overruns the forest. Afterwards we went to a wonderful little épicerie [L’Épicerie D’Arlette] and small restaurant/ antique market at the entry of Mer to taste some local wine. We were NOT disappointed. We fell on an adorable shop where the owners lived in the back and continued to serve us wine as they ate dinner with their granddaughter in their garden. We returned two days later for our last supper with Mom and the owner’s husband was playing jazz Manouche inside. It was incredible after a day of walking to sit and eat local chèvre, drinking some of the best white wine I have ever had in my life and having the airs of this uniquely French music floating on the wind.

INSIDER’S TIP:

We saved a good bit of money by buying a Chateau pass at the tourists office (in every town and also one in every chateau also online). We chose a groupe of Chateau Chambord/Chenonceau/Blois/Cheverny for around 40 euros each. We saved around 10 euros each. 

Visit #1: Le Chateaux Chambord

What a behemoth of a castel, who couldn’t be impressed! This Castel has 144 rooms! It was the fantasy of Francois 1ere that he fashioned after an imaginary castel in the Heroic tales of Amadis de Gaule. The castel was drawn up by Leonardo De Vinci! Who’s chief impression on the castel is its central staircase that if two people climbed and descended it at the same time, they would never meet! This castel was a massive hunting lodge and welcomed all the monarchy and further on the presidents of the republic, most notably Charles De Gaulle and Georges Pompidou who were avid hunters.  It is here where we were introduced to the symbole of Francois I : the salamander. This symbole would pop up EVERWHERE in the loire valley! It’s said that the person charged with removing all of them during the revolution when all sign of the disgraceful monarchy was to be erased, gave up out of exhaustion of the task because of their numbers. The castel was very easy to discover without a guide and lost of information was provided without the audio guide even though I do wish we had one but then our visit might have taken 3 hours if I was trying to absorbe all that info and this blog would be ENDLESS. Going up on the roof was probably the highlight of the visit. We got a close-up look of the super detailed towers and enjoyed the view of the forest and the grounds from the chateau. I could have stood there for hours! One of my favorite things in the castel was looking at the graffiti. There was a lot of vandalism; tourists that visit and scratch their names in the walls but some of this “griffonnage” dates back to early chateau invitees. I was particularly struck by one from 1725 that I spotted on the roof on the northern face.

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interior of De Vinci’s staircase

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one of MANY of Francois 1ere’s salamanders!

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The central tower housing the “Lantern” of Leonardo De Vinci’s staircase

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Chateau Chambord

Visit 2: Chateau Cheverny

This was a MUCH smaller chateau and was in fact smaller than some of the french country home’s that i’ve been able to visit.  This chateau still belongs to the same family it has for over 6 centuries;  Hurault. Its lay to fame is that is was the residence of Diane de Poitiers, the mistress of Henry II, while she renovated Chaumont sur Loire after she forcibly exchanged it for her beloved Chenonceau newly occupied by Catherine de Médicis, Henri’s wife and simply a royal factory producing 3 kings of France and 3 Queens! But more on them in visit 3!

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Tintin and Captain Haddock approach his castel “Marlinspike Hall”

This castel is also the castel that Georges Remi used as a model for Captain Haddock’s Castel in the Adventures of Tintin.

This chateau is an interesting juxtaposition. The first half of the tour bringing us through the “private” apartments of the chateau that are in the style of the 19th century France during the new republic. I was a little discouraged at this point having just come back from this massive medieval castel where things had only been placed thier after it had been pillaged during the revolution, things that represented a wealth and history that I can’t even begin wrap my head around, and here I found myself in the middle of a modern day nobel family’s collection of their own “modern” wealth. However the second half of the tour proved to be more interesting opening into a “war” room filled with military antiquities including the armor or a 4 year old Count of Chambord (castel was given to him because of his military success) which I liked since we had just visited Chambord.

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Beautiful medieval ceilings at Cheverny

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The impressive “war” room

The really wonderful thing about this Chateau is its English style Gardens: an interesting contrast to Chambord’s wild hunting grounds and the prim and proper french gardens of Chenonceau the gardens at Cheverny are a tame “fake” forest with little lakes and grounds that you can promenade in delicately.  They also have a kennel where they raise hunting hounds and different places on the grounds where the hounds are kept for different activities. I really enjoyed the old orangerie, the place where potted trees are kept in winter or out-of-season on french estates and chateaux, that had been transformed into a snack restaurant. They served wonderful icecream! I had one scoop of Violet and one of chocolat and it was devine!

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Cheverny Gardens, Mom and the Fella on our way to eat ice cream in the “orangerie” transformed into an adorable café

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Cozy little chateau


Visit 3: Chateau Chenonceau

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MY FAVORITE! This is the chateau that brought all the history together for me. We were LOADED down with names and families and dates and Who’s-its I, II, and VI. It was all SUCH a blur but a visit to Chenonceau really brought it into perspective.

A wonderful thing about this castel is that there is a SNCF Gare right at the foot of it so you can literally take the train from Paris right into the castel grounds. What a great day trip! I’ll sure be doing it sometime soon.

The whole castel was really well organized and included a detailed booklet/program with every room numbered in the order they should be visited according to the history of the palace. The really cool difference from the two castels we had visited before was that this place was a residence not a hunting lodge but a place that was loved and doted over by its ladies. Yes I did say Ladies because this amazing structure exists because of women. It was built on the site of a previous chateau by Diane de Poitiers, Henri II’s( son and hier of François 1ere) mistress. She had the structure built in the middle of the Cher river and put in amazing amounts of energy personalizing it. From the beginning she insisted that the chateaux belong to her and her alone and Henri declared it so by law. After his death his wife Catherine de Médicis sort of forcefully “persuaded” Diane to trade Chenonceau for Chaumont Sur Loire. Though Diane gave up her beloved Chanonceau she is buried on the grounds.

Catherine de Médicis was the mother of kings and queens. She had 3 sons ascend to the French crown and there is a bedroom called the 5 queens in the castel dedicated to her, her daughters, and daughter-in-laws. In the castel there is the “morning” bedroom of one of her daughter-in-las who was married to Henri III king of France, who was assassinated at chateau Blois (see below). She was so devoted to him and took his final words “M’amie, j’espère que me porterai très bien; priez Dieu pour moi et ne bougez de là”./My friend I hope you will be well, pray to God for me and do not move from this place”, so seriously that she shut herself up in Chenonceau in mourning for the rest of her life. She was nicknamed the White Lady as she only wore mourning clothes which were white at the time.

During WW1 the castel became a hospital and its great hall was filled with patients beds when before it had been filled with bustling guests at balls and baquets. In WW2 it marked the frontier between occupied and resistance France and the castel was used to bravely sneek resistant fighters and jews into free territory. During the entire war there were German guns pointed at the Castel to destroy it if needed.

One of the fun things we did there was eat in the cafeteria style restaurant on the grounds that had been built in the old stables! The food was actually really good though the system was a chaotic though impressive due to the number of people, choices of meals and language barrier in general. Some of the tables were placed in between the old horse boxes. It was very adorable.

I wish we had had the whole day the entire chateau was surrounded by wonderful gardens in the “french” style, you could rent rowboats or canoes and float under and all around the castel and there was a wonderful historical village built all around that I could have spent the rest of our time wandering around; along with their donkey enclosure that had at least 5 breeds of donkey all with funny bios attached to their fence.  I look forward to doing all of these things on my next visit.

INSIDER’S TIP!!!!!!

When coming in from the main entrance don’t follow the crowds! Take the path to your left into the woods where you will follow the paths up along the river. This is the best view of the chateau and certainly a more impactful first impression.

 

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Beautiful view from the castel when you enter from the left of the grounds

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Mom in the french Gardens of Chenonceau

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adorable village houses all over the grounds



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Those wonderful gardens again

Visit 4: Chateau Blois

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Maybe one of the only impressive parts of the palace: the detailed exterior.

This was not our favorite visit especially after having been blown away as we were at Chenonceau. The visit was REALLY badly organized. We had to pass through the same thing tons of times and it became a reference for me and the fella for the rest of our summer travels; when we found something to be frustrating or overly complicated we said “Oh, they must be in league with Chateau Blois” Alot of this castel doesn’t exist anymore because a town grew around it and occupied what use to be its grounds.

Redeeming factors:- Blois was one of France’s first national monuments and set the pressident for restoring and preserving history in the hexagon -This was the murder site of Henri III so it really solidified the political and historical significance of this castel with our previous visit. -This place REALLY solidified all of the passages and the linages of the Kings most significant to the Val de Loire and was a nice was to summarize all that we had seen and learned in such a short time.

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It was a wonderful time and a great short trip for my mom who was “ras-le-bol”( had it up to here [waves hand over head]) with Paris metropole and esspecially didn’t want to be there in August.

I’ll certainly be visiting again and hope that you will too.

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How to stay safe in Paris


August 29th 2013:

Well today is not an anniversary that I like to celebrate, but not everything in my time here in Paris has been a wonderful dream. Sometimes in life we have to have some awful things happen to us; hopefully we make it out unscathed and we most certainly should learn from our mistakes.

Last year coming out of the metro at night I was followed home by two guys who attacked me and tried to force their way into my building. I threw my bag over their heads to distract them which bought me enough time to jump-up and push them out of the doorframe. 4 detectives picked me up in cruiser, zoomed me to a nearby park where hidden behind the seats I identified one of my attackers. I spent the next 7 hours on a bench in a Police station crying my eyes out alone.

It was an awful experience, I basically fled the city to my friends’ in Troyes, I wasn’t able to go out after dark for months, and when I did come back I didn’t leave my friend Liz’s for a week. But my entire life changed because of this one awful event. I found a new apartment which lead me to meet an amazing family and even lead to the events in meeting my “fella”.

But the best thing that came out of this is now my understanding that I am not some invincible youth, that something can actually happen to me, but most importantly I can do something to Protect myself.

So this brings me to the advice portion of the blog:

HOW TO STAY SAFE IN PARIS

Paris is a very safe place if you remain attentive and intelligent about your movements and choices. Paris is different than an American city like New Orleans or New York where there are defined neighborhoods that are less/more safe than others. In Paris you have to pay attention at every instant because sadly there are characters waiting in the shadows to take the advantage in every part of the city.

Pickpocketing is a serious problem in Paris. People will find you at your worst (or they create a situation) and take advantage of you. It is a huge problem and the main thing on tourists minds when they visit the city. But it doesn’t happen to everyone and there are many ways that you can keep it from happening to you. I’ve only been pickpocketed once. I was out late at night with some girlfriends in the metro and because we were obviously distracted talking and laughing the guy took the opportunity to grab my large wallet out of my bag. The guy pretty much just tore the thing apart and scattered its contents across the metro platform. I don’t carry cash so no big loss, the guy only got about three euros off of me but the experience was enough to rattle me. After this I started to carry a small walet. At first it was just because I didn’t have a replacement but eventually it proved to be a very smart decision. In the US there is this fashion of carrying a suitcase sized wallet with every membership card and form of identity that we have ever had on our person. But when you are moving around in Paris all you need is a coin-purse sized wallet with maybe two credit cards, ID, some cash and metro tickets. This coin purse should be small enough to fit into the small zip pocket that is in most purses. This keeps it accessible to you but not as easily lifted to a pickpocket.

The most important thing is to NOT KEEP EVERYTHING IN THE SAME PLACE! I can’t say this enough! Do not keep all your cash and cards in the same wallet. I’ve heard so many horror stories of people having one bag lifted off of them on the street or on a train platform and that in one fatal swoop their ipad, iphone, passports, money, credit cards and everything was taken from them. Spread it out between other wallets or bags. When I was backpacking in Europe I even kept my emergency card Duct-taped to the inside of my pack with my medical insurance card and emergency contacts incase I got hit by a bus or something. Just follow the simple principle of Keep it light: Don’t carry your passport with you, just leave it at the hotel and that goes for any credit cards or cash you don’t need right that moment. Thieves are rare in hotels (granted you aren’t staying in some shady hole-in-the wall bargain Inn). So you say “what if someone asks me for my papers”. Unless you are a student and are trying to get into museaums for a discounted price (you can only do this with a valid student visa) you probably won’t ever need your passport. If someone like the police asks you for your papers then you can politely tell them they are welcome to follow you to your hotel. But, in the three years I have lived here no one has ever bothered to ask. Just keep as little on you as you need that way if you do get your pockets-picked it isn’t such a loss. If you do though have to carry your passports, other documents numerous cards, and a good sum of money  Spread it out in your bag’s compartements so if you get picked they don’t get everything in one fatal sweep.

How to protect yourself:

Your first defense against pickpockets is your body language. Even if you don’t notice these thieves they can tell just by the way you are standing whether or not you are a good target.

Phones and Ipods. Simply by holding your phone in two hands with a finger placed firmly around the top of the phone you are sending the message that you are not easy prey.

Purses: Placing one hand on your bag signals that you are very aware of its possition. The presence of your hand automatically becomes an unpredictable barrier between the thief and your bag’s contents.

Weapons: I’ve gotten a few emails and questions from people asking if they can be armed in Paris. Well the answer is NO. In the US we do have concealed weapon permits and laws but in France this is not the case. France is a highly gun controlled state meaning that there are no arms permitted in public areas by civilians. This includes any arms with permits concealed or unconcealed. So any kind of armament, including knives, will get you barred from any attraction be it museum or sight or even arrested for terrorism.

My advice: Get creative! When my brother visited me in 2010 he drove me nuts with this obsession of carrying a sharpened pencil with him everywhere he went. And now I will publicly say this boy is a GENIUS. I didn’t really understand his preoccupation of being armed I mean…my brother is a massive column of human being, I would think that anyone who would try to attack him would have to be legally blind to attempt the affaire.When I was attacked i did have one weapon on me: my keys and I used them. I had a broken Eiffel tower keychain where the angular feet of the tower had been reduced to three bent sharp edges and I dragged so hard against the guys’ leg that it broke off. The bigger point being the fact that you simply being armed is not going to help you in Paris. The majority of crimes take place simply because people are not paying attention to their surroundings. If you are vigilant, on the look-out and smart they can’t get to you. The best way to protect yourself or your family is to be cautious.

Trust your instincts: When you have a suspicion don’t doubt it. The criminals and pickpockets are easy to spot. The “Romes” or gypsy people that plague Paris are easy to spot and all look alike and this is truly an earnests fact. They travel in packs with the sole intention of robbing people blind. Everyone knows this even the police. For example when train operators see them on platforms they announce to everyone that there are criminals on the train even before they board. When you see someone that you don’t like, don’t feel bad for suspecting them, look them straight in the eyes and let them know you see them and you are not afraid. They are cowards and will back-off from your death stare.

Never stop for anyone who is trying to attract your attention on the street whether they are trying to hand you something or get you to sign or look at a paper. DO NOT STOP. This is a way that pickpockets trap you. There are many scammers in Paris that reel you in to traps to pick your pockets or do even worse. Some of these traps are: -groups of girls waving at you to sign a piece of paper- a person trying to give you a ring that you “lost”- someone trying to braid a braclet or other iteam onto your finger –and anyone seeming to handout pieces of paper or magazines (they try to get you to pay for it afterwards and in the process often someone will pick your pockets)

Avoid crowds. This is hard to do but if you have the option to go around a large group of people or walk down a road or on the sidewalk less populated DO SO. But of course don’t venture anywhere that you are not sure of and there are few people.Walk on the less crowded side of the walkway: This may seem stupid but there is always a side of the street where there are less people. Don’t rubberneck! That is to say, don’t see a large group of people and say to yourself “oh that’s a bunch of ruckus, I wonder what it is, let’s investigate.” First of all riots break out easy durning protests and even friendly gatherings so getting in the middle or near a large group of people could rapidly become a risk. Secondly: if you are paying attention to the crowds movements you are not watching out for your bag. This goes for things such as firework displays, free concerts in crowded streets, and other public demonstrations for holidays. Pickpockets count on these situations to pass through crowds and rob spectators.

Stay in the central parts of the city (1-4,6,7,16) and not the north such as the 19th and 20th arrondissements. The things to see in Paris are in the “touristy” parts of town. This is where to be. Be VERY careful in the 18th!

Don’t buy anything from anyone who is not in a real store. These guys who are selling Eiffel towers, water, and other things from the streets are illegals and crooks. First of all their products are made in sweat shops and the funds go to human trafficking and drug cartels. Also these lowlifes are watching where you are pulling your wallets from. First they will sell you something, follow you and lift your wallet. Even if it costs you 50 cents more buy your Eiffel tower keychains in a shop. See more in my blog on how to buy souvenirs in Paris HERE.

Stay vigilant, protect yourself and you’ll be fine. It is not dangerous here as long as you are carful

Be safe in the METRO:

One of the main places that people get pick pocketed is in the metro so you really have to be careful. Don’t let people pass behind you on the turnstile. First of all I hate this because I find it just unfair that I make an effort to always pay the metro faire and there are others that don’t and make everything more difficult for the rest of us. Often though people will push themselves in behind you and slip through the barriers as well as slipping thier hands into your pockets; I had a friend recently who had her phone stolen this way. Basically if at any moment you feel someone is too physically close to you you should remove yourself that instant. And this goes for when you are walking into the metro car itself. The moment when people push and heard into the metro car is the prime time for a pickpocketer. I’ve seen it happen: they target you on the quai and then push against you going into the cars, taking advantage of the fact that you are focusing on the metro to slip their hands into your bags. Keep one hand firmly on purses and hold them in front of you and swing your backpacks to the front when entering the cars. Especially if you feel someone getting close to you or pushing up against you.

Do not dwindle in the transport. Walk quickly through the metro. Find out exactly where you are going and in what direction before you takeoff. Do not wander or attract attention to yourself by speaking too loudly or wandering about; you become a target right away. Do not keep backpacks on your back in the trains. For one thing this is common courtesy to the other travelers who are mostly just trying to get in and out as quickly as possible but obviously if your back is turned you make for easy prey to someone who wants to come up behind you and riffle through your bag.

Don’t pull your pocketbook out in the streets or in the open like in the metro. This seems like a DUH situation but often people will buy a quick bite at a crêpe stand or other things from a street-side merchant. It seems like a safe enough place but take it as a basic rule: if you are not surrounded by at least three walls you are not in security. And you should especially never buy from anyone who is not in a real store or stalls! I go into the reasons why in a blog that I will publish this summer about the correct way to buy souvenirs in Paris, but to be short it is illegal and dangerous to buy souvenirs from anyone who is not a registered merchant of the city of Paris. what is better is to keep a little cash aside from the rest of your card ect

I hope this has you feeling better prepared for your visit to Paris which is, despite how it may sound a really wonderful place to visit.

Feel free to email me at: Bloggerparis@Gmail.com with questions or your Paris stories that you would like to share. And follow my blog for stories about the lighter side of the city of lights.

A+EmilieinParis

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