Hello Robin, your info is not wrong.
A month or two ago there was a program on the French television about pickpockets in the Paris Metro.
These pickpockets, also active on line 1, the chic line under the Champs Elysées, were young girls working for mafia organizations from the Balkans (I use this more general term to be politically correct).
The girls were arrested by the special Metro brigade and each time released by justice because they were minors in age. The next day they were again active on the Metro. They used to steal tourists because these are less alert.
On my last trip to Paris I remember that there was an announcement in my Metro coach by the driver that pickpockets were on the train and warning travelers to be careful. Of course one needs to understand French to get alerted.
It's a fact that the criminality from the "banlieues" suburbs of Paris is extending towards the centre. It is not without reason that Gare du Nord is under "VigiPirate" controll not only because of terrorist treads but even more for extending criminality.
Whenever you push your metro ticket (or any other point to point ticket) through the turnstile, don't forget to take it back and to keep it until you exit your arrival station.
You will have to present it if a control occurs (and to be fined is not fine).
Oh! and an another "risk" for your beloved transport pass : when taking the bus, you have to punch the metro ticket/ticket t/Optile ticket (all the point to point tickets), but don't punch your pass (Paris Visite, Mobilis, Carte Orange, ...) as it won't work anymore then (just present it to the bus driver).
you should be very careful taking the RER-B trains, if you are planning to leave Zone 1-2. check the board that states on which stations will the next train stop. they are on every RER platform, stating all the upcoming stations, with a little yellow light in front of the name, if the train stops there.
if you don't check, you can easily find yourself on an express train to the airport (CDG or Orly). as this is with a special fare, you are very likely to get a fine (I got one two weeks ago - 42 euros) for travelling without a valid ticket.
Everybody recommended us to buy Carte Orange as the best option for transportation in Paris, from all points of view, including the price.
But when we arrived in Paris trying to buy it from a couple of Metro stations was really an adventure.
Understanding that we are tourists some of the sellers were quite aggressive and rude when explaining that the only pass we are allowed to buy is the Tourist Pass, which obviously was almost 50% more expensive than Carte Orange.
At the end we succeeded to buy it from a smaller, not so "ouristy" metro station, but not without a lot of useless efforts.
Those pesky ticket inspectors pop up at the most unexpected times so be sure you keep your stamped metro ticket on hand for the entire ride. I took the funicular to the top of MontMartre at 7:45 in the morning and waiting at the top was Ticket Inspector Javert and three of his deputies. Then on the RER back to CDG, zee Ticket Inspector again (with three of his deputies) checked for tickets. The young man across the seat didn't even try to use the "but it was in my pocket" routine. Apparently his second violation and a 72 euro fine.
Recent visitors to Paris will note the appearance of these "in case of emergency break glass" things. They are to meet a very specific need. The rough translation is "In case of someone falling on the track" -- what happens if you pull the handle inside is that it stops the power to the third rail for that side of the platform. It continues "and in this case alone ... all abuse will be punished"
I asked a friend of mine resident in Paris what was up and he said that there are often train stoppages from people committing suicide on the tracks, so these were installed.
The Metro of Paris can be a very crowded place. Especially line 1 can be very chaotic. To avoid that you´ll lose you travel company, you have to make one agreement before using the Metro:
If the doors of the Metro close and not everybody is inside, you step out the forthcoming station and wait for the next ones. Then you can never lose eachother.
Not necessary, you´ll find out yourself!
We arrived at Paris at the train station Paris North and we almost got our luggage stollen imedeatly! The gates through which you gain entry to the metrosystem are real traps! These are two flaps and you have to push yourself through. Always push your luggage through first or the flaps close in between you and your luggage behind you! Pick-pockets are literary waiting for that to happen. They are totally unashamed and will simply keep pulling it from your hand untill you let go while you are trapped behind the gates!
At the Metro station Abbesses, which is a very popular starting point when visiting Montmartre there is something you should know. When leaving the station you will come upon a lift (ascenseur) and most probably there will be several people waiting to use it. BE WARNED..... if you have bad knees or feet, respiratory or heart problems etc. wait for the lift because the alternative is a mountain of stairs to climb before you will see daylight. I have it on good authority (Sally aka beausoleil) that these stairs number 287. Felt like 2,087 to me!
Be careful when on the metro especially in rush hours and at busy times as there are (as there are in many other places) many pickpockets. They are very clever and quite often (like my father) people don't even know they have had their pockets picked.
I always keep my bag in front of me when travelling as a precaution.
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