Every tourist knows about the "gold ring" scam but the scamers keep trying... - scamer picks up a "gold" wedding band from the sidewalk (that they placed there), then offers it to you at a bargain. It's worthless sure but a very realistic "gold" ring it is too although perhaps too big...
They are prety annoying but after a couple times we noticed - scammers properly react on any language swearing-words and go away.... But they could be aggressive when noticed you are going to take a picture of them.
Just keep your hand on your wallet.
They are everywhere: we met them all the time, near each museum (Louvre, The Musee d'Orsay ).
Also watch out for pickpockets on the Eiffel tower and Metro.
I have been walking and taking pictures in Paris for 10 years now and never had a serious problem. But even if I am French and generally do not look like a tourist, I have seen quite a few things:
Guys near the Louvre, especially at the entrance of the Jardins des Tuileries ask you to sign a document against land mines. Once you have signed, they ask you for money for a non-profit organisation (that probably does not exist). If you wish to give, ask for a receipt!
While shooting, I have been approached by two guys looking like gypsies. One of them told me his friend was american (he was obviously not) and needed help setting up his tiny camera. I suspected those two were aiming at MY camera and told them I could not help.
I have also had the golden ring scam, but told the guy I knew the trick and he did not insist.
On a Summer evening as I was shooting near the bridge of Arts, I was approached by a guy who was already badly drunk (at 8pm !) and apparently wanted to discuss photography. 99% of the people having a picnic in Summer near the bridges or on the quays are not a problem, but you may find some groups of tramps in some places.
I always read the warnings or danger pages for any location I am traveling to from you good people here at Virtual Tourist. Up until now none of the scams I've read about have happened to me until now. My wife and I were walking toward the Alexander Bridge in Paris when a young man ineptly palmed a ring right on the sidewalk in front of me. Fully warned about this dodge I waved the guy off and didn't even give him a chance to start his sob story or whatever which is the same tactic I use for telephone solicitors. Just don't give them a chance to get started. They then can spend their time on some more promising prospect. Funny thing was that later that day while waiting in line to get into the D'Orsay museum we struck up a conversation with another couple and they showed me the ring they bought off of one of these crooks. It's so fake I can't believe anyone would fall for this scam. They said they felt sorry for the person who pulled this on them. I didn't go into the fact that this is the guys job and he is probably working for others who make a killing off of kind hearted fools like them and encouraging this sort of criminal behavior to boot. I did tell them they fell for one of the most practiced tricks in the book and it had been pulled on us to no avail.
I encountered one at the Gare du nord. A lady from Bosnia. I got rid off her explaining that I am a foreigner here with limited amount of euros that I can't spare.
Again, while at Notre Dame, on 2nd Oct, 2010, a girl approached with me a piece of paper with UNICEF logo on it.
She conveyed to me that she was deaf and dumb, but collecting money for UNICEF. I did not want to spend my euro reserve but gave her two euros. I knew that probably she might be a cheat, but as it comes for children It become difficult for me to deny. And by the way she was so attractive that I still remember her and wish I could have known her better.
Oh my god, where do I start! As beautiful as Paris is, it certainly has a lot of danger as far as pickpockets and aggressive hawkers! We found people get a little too close to you, so at that point unfortunately everyone becomes a suspect! The METRO is way colorful on the train and off, but be on your guard! You know if someone who is French tells you to watch your camera, that there must be something to it! There were pickpocket signs in Notre Dame and that is a church. Keep your money in a bag under your shirt or in a very deep front pocket. As for the hawkers, be prepared! The Eiffel Tower is full of them. Our favorite one was the people trying to get "romantics" to buy a rose. One came up and just put one in my friend's hand and then demanded money. Another evening, my husband I were attempting to share a romantic moment when we had a gentleman put a rose in my hand. I told him no, but he insisted I hold it. Knowing full well that was not his intent, we started to walk away and he looked at my husband and I with pleading eyes....I said "NON" very firmly. This is NOT the place to pull out your Euros, trust me. Everything from keychains to TIM flying birds are sold at the Eiffel tower by these hawkers. Do beware!
Recent visit to Paris and although the city is beautiful, I will never return due to how unsafe I felt there. It was meant to be my honeymoon, and what I imagined as the city of romance was far from it.
The following occured to us whilst there:
1) Gypsies: often dressed in normal day to day clothing, some you see with more expensive clothes. They will often be sat sitting in the middle of the pavement with a cup in their hand, or asking if you speak english and showing you a sob story of how their 10 sisters, 6 husbands and 3 dogs are all starving on some street somewhere and how you are the only one that can help. After about 15 times of this in one week, I just told them where to go. They also haunt the restaurants, mainly the fast food places, they will come in and shove a hand in front of your face demanding money.
2) Deaf & Dumb Gypsies: Gypsies coming up to you with a clipboard with a fake sponsership form on and pointing at their mouth and ears, pretending they can't hear and talk. Their plan was foiled later when I saw them all arguing amongst themselves - speaking and hearing clearly....
3) The old ring trick: Both me and my husband thought it odd at the time; wandering around we were encounted by yet another gypsie claiming to have found a ring and that it was our lucky day as she was allergic to gold, she gave us the ring and walked off, soon to come after us again to ask for money. We gave her the ring and said if she needed money to sell the ring, of course, she didn't want to do that.
4) Parisian Beggars: Often in the metro, they will want money from you and often also have a major sob story ready. They will follow you on to the metro, and some even have cards printed in French and English with their sob story on, they give them to the passengers, give it a minute, and then go round with their hand out.
I would say to everyone, see Paris at least once for the city, but I didn't feel safe there even with my husband beside me. Specifically at tourist traps, be aware, watch out for pickpockets because they are certainly going to be watching you.
Gypsies beggars are annoying and everywhere at Effie tower and African vendors are annoying but a simple No or Non will surface.
Just a special tip public drinking is illegal so if you’re at the Effie tower at night in the park and a African comes up to you with cheap champagne. Just say no.
1. They don't have a liquor license and 2. if you’re going to get caught consuming something illegal from African vendors make sure it’s not something stupid like 2 euro champagne
After recently travelling to Paris on a sixth form trip with over 40 other 16 -18 year olds, it came to my attention how persistant some of these beggars are. We often encountered the women asking if we spoke English, luckily we'd been warned about beggars before we went so we just said no. The street venders near the Louvre were fairly persistant but after a couple of "no"'s they walked away. At the Sacre Coeur, we were greeted by many of these venders trying to sell bracelets, grabbing at all the girls and generally being persistant. We had a group photo taken on the stairs in front of the basilica and had several of these beggars taking photos of us. Another kept grabbing some girls, and even when a teacher told him to get off he carried on.
The worst we encountered was as Notre Dame, where one man was going around all the girls asking if they wanted to buy a keyring. Everyone said no but he kept asking, I told him no and to go away, which prompted him to move closer, I turned away and walked off and heard him shout "Roast Beef" at me, which I've been told is an offensive term towards us English. I chose to ignore him but a few moments later I saw him stood staring at me which made me quite nervous.
Apart from these beggars Paris is beautiful, its just a shame the officials haven't done anything about them.
If you are walking you are likely to be confronted by a beggar walking towards you. Just before he reaches you he will stoop and 'find' a gold ring on the pavement. The ring looks like gold, it has a hallmark on the inside but the weight is all wrong. The finder will claim that they must give any find like this away but will accept a small "donation" in return. Happened three times to me on one street alongside the Seine and close to the tower.
Let's be careful out there!
We just returned from Paris and had a wonderful time. The amount of begging at the tourist attractions is a bit annoying though (Eiffel Tower & Notre Dame in particular). If you sit and people watch you will notice that the begging is very organized. I watched a group of women with scarves on their heads (looked Indian, but they claimed to be Bosnian), sit around talking and laughing... then they all dispersed into the crowd asking tourists if they spoke English. Upon saying "Yes" they would shove a piece of paper into your hand which asks for money to help save her family from Bosnia etc. etc. They are very pushy and there are A LOT of them. What annoyed me further is they littered everywhere. After being turned down, they would often crumple up there pieces of paper and just throw them on the ground. Very rude, and I hope people don't enable them by giving them money!!
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