Sunday, May 5, 2013

An American {pickpocketed} in Paris

Monday at 11:30 we had reservations for the Eiffel Tower. We did not stay close enough to walk, but I consulted my trusty Rick Steves guidebook for a list of bus routes near us that went to the tower. Come to find out they all picked up near St. Sulpice which was perfect because we wanted to stop and see the Church as well. 

First we stopped for Venti Caramel Frappachino at Starbucks, then we stopped at an adorable little bakery and picked up some breakfast goodies for our walk. 
St. Sulpice is much bigger than I had imagined. It's almost the same size at Notre Dame, making it the 2nd largest church in Paris.

You may recognize it from the book and movie "The Da Vinci Code". While we didn't get to go inside, it's the Church in the novel where one villain goes in search of the "keystone" revealing the location of the Holy Grail. He finds a hollow space under the floor next to the obelisk and breaks a tile to obtain the keystone. I won't spoil the book, but it was neat to see the Church (even if we didn't get to hear the organ). Immediately in front of the church we hopped on a bus and rode it right to Champ de Mars.

First peek...
Tada! I will say after being slightly disappointed at the actual size of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Eiffel Tower does not disappoint. It is just as tall as you would think!

And for a exorbitant amount of euro, you can buy lollipops in the shape of the Eiffel Tower. Then 30 seconds later when your 2 year old drops and breaks hers into a million pieces before even getting the wrapper off, you can go buy her another one. She is a wee bit spoiled by her Daddy.
They are working on the first level of the tower, I was told that there is an ice rink there in the winter (or will be) so they had these work elevators going up the middle.

We got to the tower a few minutes before 11am but couldn't ascend until our reservation time of 11:30. Once up there you can stay as long as you like but they only let you go up during your 1/2 hour reservation block. We still ended up going up around 11:20 but there isn't much to do under the tower itself. You can wait in line and not have a reservation but I would not recommend it. The lines were INSANE. Its rumored you could wait in line 3+ hours.

Excited to go up!
The views from the 2nd level were pretty amazing. The building with the gold top, is Les Invalides ( it is a complex of buildings containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building's original purpose.) To the left and north of Les Invalides, you can see the 2 towers of Notre Dame.

When we purchased our tickets online, I bought the tickets that went to the Summit level, the 3rd level, at the very top. Once we were on the 2nd level, I quickly realized this was plenty high. I'm not typically afraid of heights, but having the kids peering out the 2nd level fencing, feeling the wind and seeing how crowded it desire to go any higher was immediately squelched. B however went to the top. Here is is on the upper 2nd level, before getting in line for the lift.
Sissy celebrated her half birthday the day we arrived in Paris, so I made sure to take our bear with us and snap a photo on the Tower. She is a lucky little 2.5year old!
We ended up eating lunch on the tower (sandwiches) and then descending. The 3 younger kids all wanted to ride on the carousel, so I took them while B and Bubba explored the river and took photos.

I would love to say that our awesome day in Paris continued on to the Louvre...but it did not (though that was the plan). Sadly enough after these photos were taken, I was a victim of pickpocketing. It is a horrible problem in Paris, and there are signs everywhere. Luckily we were not hurt and our passports were not stolen.

Here is what happened: we purchased tickets for passes that allow you to ride the Hop On, Hop Off double decker bus tour as well as the Batobus, the water boat tour. We purchased the tickets and got in a short line to wait for the boat. I was wearing a crossbody bag (you can see it in the photo above), against my body that zipped shut. Inside was my wallet, some babywipes, a few snacks, my camera and phone. We were the second family in line and when the attendant approached, I took out my wallet to get our passes. I removed the passes from my wallet, stuck the wallet back in my purse, then gave the pass to the attendant. He handed them back, I took Peanut's hand and helped him and pushed the stroller up onto the boat. As soon as we were on board, I went to put the passes back in my purse and my wallet was gone. It literally happened in less than 45 seconds. My HUGE mistake was putting the wallet back in my purse, but failing to zip it right then. I was worried about getting the kids on the boat and didn't think about the fact that I made an easy mark.

I immediately told the attendant my wallet was missing, we looked on the ground, we asked the English family that was in front of us in line if they saw anything (they didn't) and we asked the people behind us. The single man said "No, but you have a lot of it in your stroller.' Which B had already completely emptied, it wasn't. The couple from Indiana who was behind him, didn't notice anything either but helped me look all over the floor of the boat, the ramp, etc. Everyone was helpful, but no one saw anything or had it {supposedly}. I filed a report with the Batobus company and the kids and I headed back to the apartment to call and cancel my cards. B continued to ride the boat for the rest of the tour, just to make sure it didn't show up or get dumped in the trash. It did not.

Lesson learned. It sucks but we were all okay.

Luckily before we left home, I had switched wallets and taken only my essentials needed to travel. My ID card, drivers license for Italy and 2 debit cards. I had less than €80 in it so it wasn't a huge loss. Thankfully my stateside drivers license, my emergency credit card, all my personal momentos and american dollars and our passports, were not in it. But I was a total airhead and earlier in the day, my hands were extremely swollen. In the bathroom stall, I had removed my wedding rings and zipped them up tight in my wallet, as my fingers were hurting from wearing them. You see where this is going, my rings were stolen when my wallet was taken. I filed a claim with USAA, who informed me that I would need to go to the police department to file a report, in order to file the claim.

By this time it was 5pm, we were exhausted. I was an emotional wreck who was trying not to let this ruin the whole trip, the kids were tired, and we ended up getting dinner from a store right there on our block, eating at home and going to bed early. We knew we would have to file the report, we just knew we were not getting to it that day.

1 comment:

  1. im so sorry about your pickpocketing experience, and the loss of your wedding rings! :(


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