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!