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Enjoy Paris and Do Not Be Afraid

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milwaukee, wisconsin
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Enjoy Paris and Do Not Be Afraid

I've just posted a review of Montmartre and decided to copy over some of what I posted here in this forum. Before leaving for Paris, I read many posts describing scams and pick pockets, nearly to the point of making me question whether I picked the wrong place to visit. I'm glad to be able to tell you that there is no need to be frightend, just be smart and safe. You will have a wonderful time - promise! Below is what I posted in my Montmartre review, plus a few additional comments:

I had read reviews about visiting Montmartre and the cons in the area. We visited on a weekday, during the day, and had a wonderful time. We did encounter the "deaf" girls shoving the petitions in our faces, but just walked right by. After all, they are supposed to be deaf and not able to speak, right? So, they can't even yell at you to stop. So non-threatening, it's almost funny. Once we passed them I turned around and they were chatting to one another as they waited for the next visitor to come up the steps from where they were standing. We also encountered the "string scam" and simply did not stop walking, speak to or look at the men. None of the cons physically tried to stop us or abuse us in any way. These were the only scams we encountered during our 7 day visit in Paris.

My main point is that visitors should not stay away from Montmartre due to frightening reviews they may have read on this site. It is easy to avoid being taken advantage of.

I also want to say that I feel badly for people who have had wallets, purses, etc. stolen, but it is truly easy to avoid this kind of heartache. Keep larger sums of cash and credit cards in a wallet made to be worn inside of slacks. Keep passports stowed away safely in your hotel room. My husband carried a backpack and I had a smallish size handbag all the time. But the items we kept in these bags were of no great value, and if they had been taken from us, the joke would have been on the thief.

One last thing, while shopping one day at the Carousel of Shops, two women approached us asking directions and with a map that one wanted us to look at. My husband is very kind hearted but before we left on our trip we made a pact not to let strangers approach us in this way. The second woman quickly came very close to me as soon as I stopped, but we recovered quickly and explained that we could not help and just kept walking. It nagged at me a bit, wondering if it was my imagination and maybe we should have at least tried to help them, but then I realized that we most likely looked pretty much like tourists and spoke English. So, why were they asking US for directions and not asking someone local to the area and better able to help, or going to the information desk in the mall??

So, dear travelers, don't spend time worrying about the possible scammers you may or may not encounter while visiting this lovely city. Instead, set up some rules on how you will conduct yourself IF you encounter a situation, and consider ahead how you will carry your valuables while touring around. And have a wonderful time. There is much to enjoy and love about Paris!

Kuala Lumpur...
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1. Re: Enjoy Paris and Do Not Be Afraid

I 've been to Paris once and loved the Monmartre area, but couldn't spend a lot of time there due to time constraints. I will be going again in a few days, and this time decided to book a hotel in Monmartre.

Your post was reassuring, and your advise on setting up rules prior to the trip is a good one, and one that I will discuss with my travel companion.

Thanks you!

Paris, France
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for Paris
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2. Re: Enjoy Paris and Do Not Be Afraid

I really don't think that any significant number of tourists avoid Montmartre out of a fear of scammers or pickpockets. You find those all over the world, particularly in touristy spots, and a preoccupation with them is counterproductive. I have yet to hear anyone say, "Oh, I won't visit X, because there are too many pickpockets!" Even a modicum of precaution is more than enough to prevent pickpocketing, and the other scammers can simply be ignored. And Montmartre is no worse than any other tourist attraction in terms of risk.

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3. Re: Enjoy Paris and Do Not Be Afraid

It's not a level plain.

Some cities are worse than others for scammers and pickpockets. It would be ignorant to say "it's just like any other tourist place".

You can issue caution and be wary in Edinburgh, Vienna or Brugge, if you feel it's necessary. Issue more caution in Paris, Rome or Barcelona because it'll be needed.

Know the scammers and pickpockets are prevailent in Paris and keep tabs on them. Once you are fully aware of them and what they do and how one should interact when faced with them, you won't have to worry and can enjoy Paris.

the big blue marble
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4. Re: Enjoy Paris and Do Not Be Afraid

Amen Millermaid. And Thank you.

Destination Expert
for Avignon
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5. Re: Enjoy Paris and Do Not Be Afraid

Knowledge is power, and that's a lot of what these forums are about. You knew about such things in advance and coped perfectly well. Thanks for your post, which will help future visitors who might feel a bit intimidated.

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6. Re: Enjoy Paris and Do Not Be Afraid

These antics are by no means limited to the Montmartre area. We were accosted by a fellow trying the ring scam at the Place de Concorde a few days ago - he gave us an injured look when we told him to go away, but then we saw him drop the ring on the ground across the street and try his trick on some other unsuspecting sousl.

There were several fellows with their shills running the three-card-monte scheme near the Tuileries as we walked by.

A "deaf-mute" girl approached me at the Eiffel Tower yesterday but I just sternly said Go Away! and she must have been miraculously cured because she seemed to hear me and moved along.

Haven't felt threatened by any of it but definitely held on to my purse.

Paris, France
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7. Re: Enjoy Paris and Do Not Be Afraid

Scammers and pickpockets are completely different professions.

Reading, United...
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8. Re: Enjoy Paris and Do Not Be Afraid

I had a nasty experience in Monmartre but it hasnt put me off going there again. Its a beautiful part of Paris and i dont think you should let scammers and pickpockets ruin your holiday/travels. just be smart and say no - even if it means you feel bad. And yeh you can get mugged or scammed in any town/ city - its all the same its just that tourists are easy pickings. Money belts are a good idea so if your handbag/ rucksack gets taken your money and passport is still safe.

just think about what your doing before you go out.

Melbourne, Australia
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9. Re: Enjoy Paris and Do Not Be Afraid

Scammers and pickpocketers in Paris are a pittance compared to what I've experienced in China. They are at every tourist sight, every train station, you just see them coming..I let my husband deal with them because he's big and scary and they still keep trying even when you're rude, wave your arms, shake your head and yell no, they still keep up with you. They even try and stand in front of you and try to block your path.

The hype concerning Paris is really unwarranted compared to some cities around the world.

I have never encountered one pickpocketer or scammer while in France, plenty in China and I still travel there every year.

'be afraid" not likely.."be careful'...definitely..

Paris, France
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10. Re: Enjoy Paris and Do Not Be Afraid

Thank you, Millermaid, for this interesting and objective report.