Trip Report – Hello Daytrip! A Day of Avoiding Scams and Scammers
Or… A Day touring Paris.
In this trip report…
A day of avoiding scammers in Paris.
I foolishly decided to take in some of the sights of Paris (rather than catching the 15:55 flight back… looking back now, that would had been acceptable…), so off I went to do the sights. Because I’m a tourist.
And at nearly all the popular sights, it was scammer central.
If you’ve read my post “I life Paris… But…“, you’ll sort of know what’s coming next.
Here’s where I got attempted to be scammed!
The Arc De Triomphe/Champs Elysees
Scam Attempts: 1
With this one, it was one of the oldest classic tricks of Paris (one which a lot of tourists fall for), it was the ring found on the floor scam, with the ring being offered to you, in exchange for some money for food. You’ll end up with a valueless ring, and if you accuse them of a scam, a pile of abuse.
Still, this scam seems to be in decline in my trip (only once, so I was pleasantly surprised with that)
Scam Attempts: I honestly lost count – I swear I was hitting double digits over 30 minutes.
Scam Types: 3
Walking from Bir-Hakeim station to The Eiffel Tower, it was a case of “dodge the scammer:.
Photoblog.com picture of the day – 23rd June 2014
But first, there’s a nice market to go through first… and not overly a scam
First up were the “Speak English women” who would ask you to sign a petition of some sort (normally on a cardboard back). The women operate in groups who are seeking to relieve you of anything loose on your possession. Advice: PLOUGH THROUGH. As these petitions are in French – unless you have a good understanding of the language you may not know what you’re signing with these . In addition for signing petitions, they may ask for a donation too.
All the fun and local colour…
The scam operates along the walkway from the Metro station to the tower itself (and on the lawn at the tower)
Then we have the three card monte/shell game players. Whilst it looks easy money… don’t. You won’t win against these scammers as these games work on slight of hand. Not fun.
And if you want to go up the Eiffel Tower, go early – the queues can be astonishing.
Meanwhile, on the law of the Eiffel tower, we come to our next scam: The friendship bracelet scam. The crux of this scam is that friendly people come to you and put a friendship bracelet round your wrist for “nothing”.
Then they demand the euros by the bucketload of you, getting rather agitated if you don’t give them to you. In addition, some these people can be further aggressive by not releasing you from the bracelet until you’ve visited a cash machine and emptied your account for them.
Finally, whilst not a scam, there is something you should be aware of - and that’s those with lots of Eiffel Towers on a ring to sell.
Whilst some sell at a reasonable price, others don’t. In addition, at the first sign of the Gendarmerie appearing, they tend to run away. FAST.
That should give you a hint to possibly avoid them.
Gare Du Nord: 1
Scam attempts: 2
I wandered by Gare du Nord. Mainly because I like looking at trains, but also to get a bit of cooler air.
And to use the toilets there.
After taking pictures of pretty trains (what you define as pretty and what I define as pretty are two different things), I headed downstairs to head to Gare Du Lyon (which turned into an impossibility due to the strike), to be accosted by a speak English (this time a beggar), and shortly after a petition signer.
Advice: Non Merci/Pardon, and pull through.
Scam attempts: 1
Once again, it’s the women with the petitions asking if you speak English. Again plough through (although to be honest, this location was low on them… they were still probably at the Eiffel Tower and would flock here on Sunday)
Love locks get everywhere..
However, get onto the holy grounds themselves and the scammers are gone. Just the long queue to get into Notre Dame.
I chose to sit back in the shade and enough the French afternoon, with a cool breeze. Heck. I’m lazy sometimes.
A bird on the head…
For those who enjoy life going by, this isn’t the worst place in the world to do it – not by a long shot (especially if you’d been up for 13 hours by that point!)
They probably helped a bit though…
Learning basic French is a good idea (the words Non Merci go a long way), but ignoring where possible is a good idea. Keep your wits about you, as well as your wallet and personal belongings.
And if you really want to avoid scammers, don’t look like a tourist, or go to parts of Paris which are slightly off the tourist map (I encountered none at Challet).
And the advice goes is the same for any city – If it looks too good to be true- then it probably is, or it doesn’t feel right, trust your instinct and walk away.
You can find some more advice on WikiVoyage and WikiTravel as well as on TripAdvisor and… well… anywhere. A quick search for Paris Scams on Google makes for unhappy reading…
Next: Back to Orly Airport, Iberia Lounge