In general very unfriendly - happy to take your money but not keen to strike up conversations(well attempted broken French/English conversations).
Nearly mugged in broad daylight on a busy street. Fortunately recognised the french word for "knife" even though the tone had been friendly and the approach had been smiley smiley. Lucky escape!
Prefer Brittany any day - def' would not return to Paris unless we get to the CL final again this year and I can get a ticket!.
No big danger in Paris. You can walk in the streets at night.But I may add something, during Friday and saturday nights lot of prople come from the cities around Paris. Be careful In Bastille, Pigalle and Chatelet Les Halles districts. It's safe but don't look like too much like a tourist (with cameras outside, etc..). Be cool and that's ok.
I spent 4 days in Paris and I never felt in danger maybe because I am Arabic :) but in general watch you wallet and IGNORE people trying to ask you about something..
I was in Champs Elysee and one lady ask me: Do you speak English and I was happy: I said Yes yes and then she give me a paper saying "I lost all my famliy and bla bla ... and then .. Please give me 10 Euros... Just ignore them :D
I have had encouters with Gypsies in Madrid, Rome and London. I found that if you just ignore them when they approach you and be very stern with them if they come near you. In Rome I stomped my feet and frightened them away. I also learned to bring little as possible of value (dont wear jewerly) keep your passport and money tucked away. I had a very close call in Madrid when I was in an internet cafe, I should have had my purse tucked under my feet. I had it next to me and a gypsy came behind my chair, I caught him in time and scared him off! That was my error for not paying attention and not keeping my purse wrapped around my feet or on my lap. Most of all just use common sense and mostly enjoy your trip, don't let that keep you from enjoying yourself. I was in Paris last year and was only approached once by gypsys, I just gave them a scowl and walked away from them.
We read many of the warnings before our recent trip to Paris and it helped prepare us for the potential "dangers". Our experience, though, was quite different. We found the subways, streets, museums and major tourist attractions to be very busy, but we felt safe in all locations. We did not stray onto the back alleys, but that's just common sense. The only 2 spots we felt a little uneasy was the Flea Market (Clignancourt subway station) and the entrance to the Sacre Oceur (the large church on the hill). At each locations there were many vendors trying to sell thinsg, and they were pretty aggressive. A firm "NO" and they bacjed away. I think it is improtant to remember that Paris is a major city and like other major cities, danger can be found...but we didn't find it. That said, it is important to look like you know where you are and where you need to go. We also found the locals quite helpful if approached on a friendly basis. Enjoy the sights, and be alert, but don't let it ruin your time!
During my weekend to Paris on New Years eve, I was with a friend and we where follwed for a few streets by a group of men, until one finally pushed me over right outside my hotel and stole my wallet. No passer bys even came to see if I was ok, like they where use to seeing this type of crime happen everyday. It soon put a dampner on my new year!! This people are stupid to do it, because it has put me off the city completely, I have no desire to go again and no desire to recommend it to people, so in the end they just give themselves a bad name.
The second night of my stay when I was just getting over what happened, we where queing at the Eiffel tower, when a man grabbed a womens rucksuck and ran straight past. The police chased him pitifully, across a road, gave up and he got away.
I warn anyone going out at night or even in the day, keep only what you need on you and watch anyone at all times. Obviously around the Eiffel tower where it seems crime is huge.
(Aug 2003) Try not to wonder around Les Halles alone at night, especially if you are a single female. I made the mistake of cutting through it alone one night and it was not a pleasant experience. I was there during the daytime for some shopping and thought it would be fine to return in the evening. Boy was I ever wrong! Gets quite seedy when the sun goes down and all the shops close. Encountered a shadowy figure that approached me and offered to sell me some "stuff". Needless to say I made a bee line straight out of there. Luckily for me it wasn't very late yet and there were still a few "normal" looking people about. If you must, make sure to travel in a group.
I read so many scare stories on this site prior to my trip that I was reticent about going in the end.
I left behind my camera so it couldn't be stolen and was ready for everyone to be a thief or con artist. Saw one girl at Gare Du Nord handing a begging card to someone, as described in these pages, but no problems in our 4-day stay in the Latin quarter. I guess there must be so many people who have trouble-free visits to Paris and DON'T write in to this site, that it acts as a filter, attracting the minority of unfortunate (or careless) tourists, whilst skewing the actual incidents of crime to proportions that seem scary.
Hello futur tourists visiting Paris.
I am a french man, living in Paris for about 13 years now. I am fed up by the increasing tourists scams happening here every single day in front of my eyes. Everyday I see tourists being robbed or scamed. So I decided to try to write to sum up everything I know about this subject:
If you are walking near the most touristic areas (actually all the center of paris, Notre Dame, arc de triomphe, Louvre, Eiffel Tower, champs elysees, etc) you have a very high probability to be approach by people who will try to scam you:
-the fake deaf/mute petition: Young people with a paper will approach you and make you sign for a petition, saying they are deaf (they are not), and then ask for some money.
-the ring scam: someone will bend in front of you, pretending that he/she found a ring (looks like heavy gold ring, but is actually 10cents worth brass metal), he/she will give it to you and then come come back to ask for some money.
-A person will ask your hand or finger to braid a bracelet around and then when its attach to you, almost force you to pay 10 euro.
-woman bended like she is old and has a bad disease will ask for money (I saw with my eyes these pretending to be in a bad physical condition beggars, get up and being picked up by a 100 000 euros worth mercedes benz).
-woman with baby in hands begging to feed their baby.
-people trying to sell you metro tickets when there is queue at the automatic machine (or not), they sell you half priced (tarif réduit) tickets wich will work, but if you have a control you will be fined, because these tickets are only for certain categories of people, they cost half price, but as a tourist you have no right to use them (actually these tickets can be used for 4 to 10 yo kids, but you can buy them from the automatic machine at the price of 6euros35cents for 10 tickets).
Anyway, what you have to know is that those people are victims of a terrible mafia, that if they dont come back everyday with at least 150 euro to their boss will be beaten and raped. So my advice is to never ever give money to anyone in the street in paris. If you want to help them, buy them a pain au chocolat, or any food, but NO MONEY. Money is just perpetuating this horrible modern slavery.
2-Pickpockets and thievery:
If you are going in the touristics places, wich I advise you to do because the beauty of paris is there, you are very likely to be the targeted by pickpockets.
The most effective pickpockets in paris are bands of kids, mostly girls, but can be boys too. They operate mostly in the metro. They are really easy to spot (but maybe its my personnal experience talking here), they are young enough so they can pretend when they are catch by the police (wich happen every single day) that they are less than 13 (so nothing can happen to them in terms of prosecution), some of them are pregnant 13 yo girls. They will wait for the last moment when people get in the metro to push you from behind and pick your pockets, handbags, backpack, anything, and believe me they are very skilled!
So my advice is if you ever feel someone is touching you/too close to you, there a risk of pickpocketing so put you hands on your valuable belongings, and you hand might meet a kid hand. French people don't like contact, we don't hug here. If someone is getting close enough to touch you, you have to be suspicious.
-thieves at cafe terasses. Do not let your phone on the table when sitting at a café. Same kids (even 5 yo kids, seen with my eyes too!) might come and use a map or any paper to hide their hands stealing the phone.
-When you go to ATM to withdrawal money, just after you type your pin code, a group a young girls and boys with surround you, place a paper in front of the screen, shout/talk to make diversion, and in an instant they would have type under the paper on the keyboard the maximum amount (300/400/600 euros) and take the money very fast (happened to my grandmother last week).
Once again all these beggars/thieves are victims! They dont steal for them, they have to bring back at least 150/200/300 euros to their bosses in order not to be beaten or rapped.
The only good side of this is that they are not really physically aggressive, they won't beat you. You don't have to be frightened about physical harm if you stay inside Paris.
My overall advice would be to be very carefull with handling cash money, expensive smartphones, any valuables in public. I regularly stop them from stealing tourists when it happens in front of my eyes, and the worst thing that happened to me is a spit on my clothes from those kids.
Anyway, even if I leave here for more than 13 years now, I am still emotionally touched by the beauty of this city, everytime I walk outside, everysingle building is a piece of history. So don't get me wrong I definitly advise you to come visit!
PS: A tip for cheap drinks in cafe, if you go at the bar (almost everyone of them), where you have to stand, you cannnot seat, but every drinks is almost half priced if you stand. A coffee for example will cost you from 1 euro to 1.30 euro, a glass of wine 2.30 euros. This is where you can meet the real people. You can also ask take away (a emporté) for the same price. I don't know why but this seems to be totally ignored by all tourists.
It was my dream to take my children to Disneyland at Paris; we lost their mum due to cancer several years ago. I did it this August and drove to Paris because we also planned to later travel to South France for a few days. Unfortunately, on our 1st day in Paris, our car was smashed in a designated car park. A bag in the car boot was stolen with our passports. It was a late afternoon back from Disneyland and we left the car for about 10 minutes to buy some food in a shop nearby. The police was sympathetic but helpless. Recalling the violence in France seen on TV a couple of years ago, I feel lucky that we were not injured.
It is depressing to think that one of the greatest cities in the world has turned into such an unsafe place.
If you are a little tired and want to lay back near a statue in a park dont, in a matter of seconds police will tell you to move.
I dont know if theres no napping in parks, or if its napping near a statue.
You'll want to be carefull, especially at night, when you're in the area around the Moulin Rouge. As you get further off into the little side streets, keep your wits about you. I've encountered some thugs looking for trouble.
Walking the streets of Paris at night can be scary or annoying. Many guys will just stop their cars, get out and follow, some will just grab and pull you into an alley, etc.
The city of Kobe has to be the safest place I have ever visited. The people are very willing to help foreigners and most everyone speaks (or attempts to speak) English! I love Kobe.