Beggars & Aggressive Vendors, Paris
It's not so common as in other places, but beggars may appear in touristy areas.
Sometimes they are pushy, some other they are shy and discreet, and most times they are "professional", taking advantage of the ambiance.
Will it be difficult to you to find out why did Victor Hugo come to my mind, when entering Notre-Dame?
Whilst around tourist locations we were approached on a regular basis by men trying to sell us Eiffel Tower keyrings and women asking if we spoke English waving 'petitions'. We had heard before we left about the women and how it was a ruse to pickpocket so we steered clear and found that a firm polite 'no' was enough to move them along, however, the keyring vendors were often persistent and attempted to bargain with us, usually following after us offering more and more keyrings for a euro. Approaching the Louvre, one shouted that I was rude after I had asked him to stop following our group. Inside the Louvre by the pyramids, we witnessed the security escorting one vendor outside so we can only assume that that area is hassle-free!
Be aware when buying metro tickets too- we used the machines and had a man approach us offering to sell some from a batch he had in his hand. Luckily we had already bought a booklet of tickets by the time he got to us, however we did notice that the tickets in his hand were already used and therefore useless( a ticket on the metro can get you very far but they are single use only not like a Underground travel card )
Be careful if you go to this place alone. They will come directly to you and pull your hand to tie a bracelets. Then you have to pay!!!!! Even if you're not okay with this situation.
I went there alone in May 2013 and I was in this bad situation. I tried to walk away but I can't because these people will detain you in a circle. And they told me to pay!!! What a bad day!!! I gave them a coin and tried to pull the bracelets away but I can't. They told me again with a 40 Euro!!!! oh my god!!!! but for my safety, I gave them 40 Euro. And they let me go. I walked up the stairs and found 2 French girls. I asked them to cut this *** bracelets and they helped me. Then there was a man came to me and asked about the situation and how much did I pay? I said 40 Euro with tears in my eyes. Maybe he saw me very upset so he gave his money back to me 40 Euro!!!! Thank you GOD! you safe my life :)
It was very the best experiences for me and I hope this story will help you avoid this aggressive gypsies.
Visited today and got pushed very violently by one of the african vendors when I said several times No I am not interested, inmediatly 20 of them surrounded me and started a discussion some of them pretended to be helpfull others tryed to keep the fight, all to distract and surely pickpocket me and my friends,. Police seems to help but at the end this situation have many years going on when you read this posts. So sad tourists come to paris looking to enjoy such beautiful city and end up in danger with no protection.
Also 2 of this guys hold both of a friend hands to make him pay for the bracelet he almost had to hit the guys to make them let go of his arms. Do not let them get close to you..
Before going to the tourist areas like the tower or louvre, I was on here reading what to look for. Sure enough the thieves and scammers were everywhere. I just wanted to see if I get messed with so I made sure I wore a cap and shorts, despite reading on here that you shouldn't but dang it was hot with the sun beating down my head. Luckily I wasn't a victim despite dressing like a tourist. Just be aware of your surroundings and keep your passport at the hotel and bring only enough money while you're out and about.
After spending 4 days in Paris, me and my family sure have seen all the begging tricks in the book!
There are a lot of "Gypsie girls" running around asking if you speak english or wanting you to sign a paper. As you talk to one of the girls, another one will try to steal your belongings and then both of them will run away.
Another thing we encountered were "games" by the Eiffel tower. You will bet money on that you can find a pea under one of three cups. You may see that someone bets a lot of money (We heard that someone bet 100 euros) and then wins the double amount. This person is really in on the scam too and just bets a lot and wins to make you play as well. The person is also there to distract you so that the pea can be removed while you're not watching. You can never win at this game, and even if you do win a small amount, it is just to make you bet larger amounts and then you lose it all!
Also, don't give money to beggars who have pets lying next to them. The pets are on drugs so that they will lie still and make you feel bad for them. To give the beggar money will encourage him/her to torture the animals even more!
Just a warning that at the Trocadero, you will find dozens of touts trying to sell much of the same souvenirs. They aren't expensive, but if you don't want them, well, it doesn't really matter.
Not all pester you, but many do, so put on your "grumpy" face, or one that says to them, "Leave me alone" - You will be surprised how well this works!
If you look a little interested or gullible, they will be onto you before you can say "jack robinson!"
My husband and I were outside Notre Dame when two girls came along and shoved papers on our face for donations to an orphanage. We were actually prepared for gypsies/scammers. Mid conversation, the girl next to me tried to open my purse (it was zipped up)...I felt her try - I grabbed her hand. She struggled a bit, but her and her friend ran off.
Too bad there was no cop around. :/
A person comes to your table at a restaurant in Paris, they beg for food. They have a piece of paper in their hand and they shove it in your face as if they are trying to get food or money from you. Typically, they shove it in front of you so you cannot see what is below. They are very smart and have likely seen that you have a wallet, purse, or iphone, or cell phone on the table. They put the paper over the item they are going to steal. Typically, you are stunned that anyone could be so bold and you either tell them to get away or give them food. They leave not only with your food, but also with anything valuable that might have been laid on the table.
Best way to combat this is to make sure that you are prepared. Keep your phone and wallet and keys in your pocket or in a safe place. Never leave it on the table or in plain view. If someone walks up to you, just walk away or move your valuables close to you and call for help. Call attention to them will put other people on alert and they may try to get away.
These people are very good at what they do. You need to have a mindset already set that you how you are going to deal with these people. They are brazen, well trained and fearless. They pray on people who are tourists and who are good natured, naive, and have a soft heart. They also pray on people who don't have the guts to look them in the eye and tell them to go away. Prepare yourself, and don't feel guilty telling someone to go away.
Watch out for girls ages 7-20 wearing old-baggy clothing (sweats) who usually have their hair tied back. They travel in packs. Don't respond to anything they say, if they shove papers into your face walk away.
Mid-April break, a group of Americans including myself visited Paris for a week or so. We were not rowdy and did not present ourselves as if we were tourists. However, a group of aggressive girls approached our group and managed to steal one of our iPhones.
Don't look into their eyes, don't fight back, and definitely don't take out expensive objects such as cellphones, iPads, iPods, money, etc.
There are many beggars in Paris.
Many operate round the churches, and other tourist destinations.
Apparently in Paris it is illegal for the beggars to approach people, they risk imprisonment if they do, so they are no where as aggressive as in other countries, but they can be off putting if you are not aware of the situation.
Many have their pets with them as bait.
These ones were most aggressive troubles in Paris. They were everywhere! Most likely close to sights and monuments and close to metro stops etc.
They are usually quite young woman, not French, walking in big groups. They ask you to sign a petition for... what ever. My friend had signed such at Madrid, and after signing they had told her she had agreed to pay 60e for them. The print about that was under the thumb of person asking you to sign.. So I suggest not to sign anything like that. It´s jsut best to keep walking.
We don´t have those ones at Finland yet, we have very strict laws and i don´t think this coud even be possible.
I had read about the fake deaf girls who distract tourists with petitons while their chums pick their pockets but didn't think I'd actually see them in action! We were on our way to the Pompidou Center and while at a street corner (with a red "do not cross" man illuminated) a group of rowdy teenage girls just blasted their way through the crowd. Cars were coming, mind you, and one of the girls banged her hands on the hood of a car as it screeched to a stop. She was shouting quite colorful expletives, it was bizarre. So we finally get to the museum and who should we see but the loudly swearing teenager, playing like she was deaf, with her petition out to an unwary tourist with her little gang poising to swarm the poor bloke. As we walked by I said to the guy that we just heard her cussing up a storm down the street. He dropped the "petition" to the ground and stomped towards the queue. Truly quite gutsy and very sad...they probably have some kind of "pimp" they have to pay, too. If you see these girls or women (and we saw them at all the major sites) just say "No" and keep walking. They didn't keep after us or follow. I wish I would've taken a snap or two!
Beware peddlers boasting of trinkets in areas near main attractions. Sometimes you are offered a fantastic deal only to be hounded to make more purchases afterwards. I bought 5 adorable keychains to distribute among my friends for only 1euro total, but then had to make a fast getaway from a peddler who just would not take "no" for an answer.
Usually an angry, firm "no" will send these peddlers away (making a scene is bad for their business), but if you're timid and polite like I am, you'll be followed down the street with cries of "25 euro, 20 euro, 15 euro...please, for the pretty lady, 10 euro."
- Went twice there, got fooled the first time, warned my cousin the second time! Under the stairs at Montmartre coming from the metro station Anvers some scam people might try to reach for you finger, attach a string, make a bracelet with it then "sell" it to you! My scammer came from Jamaica apparently(?) and asked me for money for a bracelet I didn't ask. At the end I gave him a few coins and some foreign money (less than 1€ worth). I must admit I was caught by surprise and a bit curious of his trick.
The second time I went there I told whoever was approaching me and my cousin that I "knew the trick" and smiled.
Those (black) people aren't criminals, just scammers. So just say no and walk away. Don't engage in conversations with them.
- Second scam near Montmartre (also on the bridge near the Eiffel tower): the old Three Card Monte trick - you have to guess a card between three while betting money on it. Good trick or not there's always an accomplice betting a 50€ bill on it (part of the trick of course)... Don't even stop, you'll be wasting your time. And btw if you try to warn tourists of the scam, the street hustlers tend to get violent and insult you, so yes, be careful too.