Marseilles, France is getting a bad reputation for it's poor level of safety for tourists .
After being in the cioty for 15 mins, we we robbed of a gold necklace - just grabbed from behind by a thug who ran off as fast as he could.
Cries of "stop thief" were met with nonchalent glances..
Theft here is an everyday occurance.
We reported the theft to the police at the station who took us to the main police headquarters where we waited most patiently for FOUR hours to be interviewed by a French police sergeant.
Several people we have since spoken to have had similar experiences..
WARNING = HIDE ALL valuables.. carry your bag across your shoulders.. with the zip under your arm.
carry a money belt under your clothes.
Don't leave your wallet in your open trouser side or back pocket
AVOID any market places and crowds where theives and pickpockets can ply their trade.
Marseille has always been a rough town - France's major port city. The very same thing can happen in Paris, New York or Honolulu. Travelers wearing gold are just asking to be robbed.
You need to be careful where you go in Marseilles but so long as you are streetwise you should be ok. I live in France and was in Marseille for a couple of days last month. Had a very pleasant time wandering around the Vieux Port and some of the back streets.
A gold necklace? In most countries in Europe a thief would have had that away fairly quickly. You have to use some common sense.
Don't flash money about. Be careful of crowds, even on public transport, and be careful after dark. Don't dress like a tourist. It is OK to wear casual clothes.
As to the police, they are the same anywhere with tourists. You are a nuisance who will be there for some days and then they will not see you again, so can forget about you.