Yesterday, May 12, 2017, we arrived at the Paris train station, Gare du Nord, and jostled our way onto a very busy train. When we got off at our stop, we discovered we had been pick-pocketed by a group of Africans that surrounded us on the train. Between us we lost eight credit cards and bank cards, Garry’s phone, about 700 Euros, our drivers licenses, and our newly acquired residence permits for the U.K.
Fortunately, we had money stashed in a few places, and Garry had one of our joint credit cards in his pocket. We spent last evening reporting our lost cards to CIBC, PC, RBC and BMO. The crooks had attempted to use the cards (one attempted charge of $4000) but nothing went through.
Our morning was spent at the local Paris police station where we filed a formal complaint. It is highly unlikely the crooks will be caught but we need a file number to get our UK resident cards replaced. Tomorrow we will call ICBC. In all of this we were lucky to retain our passports as they were well stashed.
This was very stressful for us, but we are doing much better today. Our seventh floor apartment is lovely, with a pretty view. We spent the afternoon exploring our new neighbourhood (very pretty) and stocking up on groceries. Tomorrow we will be better rested and do more extensive exploration.
What have we learned?
If we have a lot of luggage (which was the case yesterday) we will take a taxi when we arrive at a busy train station…avoiding public transportation.
I will always carry my small day pack in front of me, rather than in the back as I did yesterday. Ordinarily, I would make sure my wallet was at the bottom of the compartment. Yesterday it was at the very top. Big mistake.
Garry will avoid carrying most things in his pockets…using a money belt or a pack instead.
Trust most people – many people in Paris have been very helpful
At the end of the day, we’re lucky we had adequate cash stashed elsewhere, we retained one credit card, and most importantly, our passports.
We are ready to put this behind us, and enjoy Paris in the spring, which is breathtaking and so are the croissants! [oh – and the wine, sausage and cheese…we are well.]