On the way up to the Sacre Coeur, taking the main stairs right in front of the church, you cannot get around without seeing the African so called "bracelet guys". There young guys hang around on the stairs waiting for potential victims to come by: young couples, single women or women in small groups. They start a small conversation, shake your hand, and as soon as they have your hand they tie a small bracelet around it. And because there is no way you can get them off of your arm, they demand money. The prices they ask can get as high as 10 euro's for a worthless pieces of wool.
Unique Suggestions: One simple solution for this one: just say no and at all times never give them your hand.
NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!
One million times NO!
I went to the romantic square of Tertre and couldn't believe what I saw: the artists, expelled from the square by a dense esplanade! No! I can't believe that the good old Tertre was killed! It was the effect of the rain!
It only could be!
I will never go there again in winter!
Visiting Montmartre we went into Sacre Ceur.
Coming out and moving up towards the upper square of Montmatre we were approaced by two nice looking men , and for the first time in our lives we said yes to an offer.
Well how stupid can you be - no price don´t worry.
Drawing, drawing and drawing and then my wife shouting out: "Did you say 80 Euros"? "Jens (me) what shall I do .. 80 Euros"?
The "painter" then said "Well because it is you lets say 60 Euros" ... Then I went into the ball and told him that for five minutes of drawing someting like a twelve year old girl, I would gladly change my occupation with him, and we ended up with 20 Euros (the price should have been 1 Euro)
Unique Suggestions: Well a lesson learned. Wonder why we went into the trap. We travel a lot and have never been trapped.
I can assure you that the French for the most part are nice, kind people and in Paris most of them speak english. You really do not feel uncomfortable at any time.
Fun Alternatives: Learn the word "No" :-) and wait until you reach the center square where you will find the real artists. They are craftsmen I tell you!
I am a girl travelling alone, very petite, and i lived for a week near Pigalle area, strolling around Montmartre when i wasn't in the other parts of Paris, sitting on Sacre Coeur steps some nights, and never had any kind of hassle there.
It's true there are the people trying to sell you strings, but you just smile and say non merci, or just merci, shake your head and keep going where you're going. Never did they continue after that, and i went there at least 10 times during my stay.
It's the most beautiful place in the world, the way Paris looks like when the sun sets and it gets dark, but the city is full of light. There's people playing music and dancing, and sure they ask you for money, but if you don't want to give, it's ok. If they put on a good show, why not give, though?
It's definately best if you have enough time to just be there until it get's dark and have picnic on the hill with some wine, looking at the view and all the people being alive!
I felt very safe there and all around that area, and there's lots to see, you don't have to go into the tourist trap-shops on the main streets, just wander to the sidestreets and you will find different things, and the people around you will speak french instead of german, english and russian.
I was checking on VT about things to do in Paris and found out about this place, but the VT member wrote that during the day it is a nice area, during the night it is full of "strange" ppl, prostitutes, drunk kids etc. and I agree with her tip 100 %. I was disappointed with area around Moulin Rouge. It is worth to see during the day, and there are some nice bars in Montmartre, plus the houses and streets are nice.
Unique Suggestions: Explore the area, you will find some decent, normal bars with French music, artists on the street painting/ in front of the church Sacre Coeur, there is a beautiful view on Paris! Nice!
Fun Alternatives: During the day you will get the different picture of the place-much much nicer!
I am in shock! Really in shock by all the comments that I have read here concerning Montmartre. Considering I live here, I wonder why I didn't realize that everything was so overpriced or that I could buy drugs from people in the bathroom at bars - not to say these things didn't happen but they are so far from the norm.
I not only live in Montmartre, I rent properties here and have had so many glowing reviews about our guests' experience here. Maybe it was because they met us, locals who leave them with a guide book of information on the nice restaurants we love to eat in on a regular basis. Maybe it's because we DON'T tell them to eat at Place du Tetre. You go to Rome and you are outside the Coliseum you will be accosted by people trying to get into a photo with you and charge you for it. Who hasn't been cat-called on the streets in numerous cities around the world? But does that mean the place should be shut down and is not worth your time? I think not. Montmartre is large and is not limited to the few steps that most visitors take to walk up to Sacre Coeur from metro Anvers up rue Steinkerque- personally I don't go there. I don't like the crowds - Crowds equal possible problems. Why not stroll up Ave Junot from rue Caulaincourt or hop on the Montmartrobus from metro Pigalle or metro Jules Joffrin?
Want restaurants that are not tourist traps - where you will find real people, eating good food - ask a local (you see it all the time on the travel shows, no? So maybe it works). Try any of these: Le Relais Gascon - 6 rue des Abbesses, Lui L'Insolent - 15 rue Caulaincourt, Au Virage Lepic - 61 rue Lepic, Le Petit Caboulet - 6, place Jacques Froment . . . Just to name a few.
In other words experience it for yourself. Other people's experience is very very important but sometimes you have to wonder. I think I will have to start telling my guests to come to this site to re-educate people about the area because this is sooo sad, I could almost shed a tear.
Monmartre has a lot of artists wanting to draw your face - they will approach you as you are walking along the la Place du Tertre...and unless you really do want to have your charcoal-painting or if you want to help a struggling artist, don't agree to have your face drawn because they do charge a bit high (50 Euro upwards for a few minutes) - this happened to a friend of ours.. .
It is a bit awkward to back-off and not pay if your face has already been drawn...
As you approach the Place du Tertre in Montmartre, particularly from the direction of Sacre Coeur, you will no doubt be bombarded by patrolling 'artists' inviting you to have a portrait or a silhouette made. It can feel a little like running the gauntlet for the uninitiated but a firm 'non merci' accompanied by a 'talk-to-the-hand' type gesture will usually be enough. (Sounds a bit like puppy training doesn't it!) That is, of course, unless you really want to have some overpriced scribble presented to you as a done deal.
I had to quickly get over any misplaced vanity that it was me they were interested in because it's usually my husband they're after. I've now lost count of the number of times we've been told that he has 'interesting hair' - it tends towards the spiky when it needs to be cut!
Just return from Paris and my only one bad experience was exaclty when everyone experienced when heading up on the steps . A goup of these scums African guys cornered me ( i am pretty big for a asian guy ) and ask he to show my hands . I know what they are up to and left my hands in my pocket ... one of them got pretty agressive when i fimly said no and jsut walk ahead .. he tried to block my path a while but i carried on . At the point of time i really iwsh i had a weapon and put this guy down .. sorry to sound agressive but these guys are just really low down con man . So my advise is ... aviod the step and try going they the back way , cant remember the name but the small villiage behind the chuch. Cheers
As everyone has noted try to avoid contact with the seedy looking black guys at the base of the stairs and out front of the church itself.
I couldnt beleive the police would allow them to blast gangster rap at full volume 20 feet from the entrance to the church.
Unique Suggestions: Whatever you do dont let them put the string around your finger.
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