But now police, prosecutors and the city's transport operator RATP have come to an agreement allowing victims to file a complaint within the station, without having to go to a police station.
The new facility comes after a trial period in 49 Metro stations run over the last year. Now all of the Metro stations within Paris and stations on the RER A and B lines within the city have the facility to file complaints directly. Transport bosses say they hope to expand it out to the city's suburbs in the future.
They hope it will lead to increased reporting, as for tourists the process of finding the nearest police station and making the report can be confusing and off-putting.
A report can be made in the Metro station of a theft without violence where the loss is €1,000 or less.
Pickpocketing is a major problem on the Paris transport network, and one that is growing – the first nine months of 2019 saw a 32 percent increase against the same period in 2018.
Many of the pickpockets are part of organised gangs, and in 2019 a 20-strong gang of Romanians were jailed for a total of 113 years. The gang leaders were charged with human trafficking as well as money laundering and criminal enterprise as they had been forcing children to go onto the transport network and steal.
During the 18-month trial period of the new scheme, more than 300 complaints were received at the 49 participating stations and victims included 51 different nationalities. The most number of complaints were received at Châtelet, Saint-Michel and Opéra stations.