This is not the first, nor the last article written about money scams around Europe and more specifically in Paris! On my last trip to the France`s capital I`ve stayed only four days and yet I`ve encountered credible people trying to sell me air!
Top 3 Common Scams I`ve met and how to avoid them:
1. Louvre Museum
While entering in the yard of the Louvre Museum a average looking man has approached me and my friends and put us to sign some paper. It has happened so fast that before realizing what is for or what does he wants, my friends has already put his name down.
I could see written on the front page: DONATION FOR AFRICA.
The thing is he has not shown any ID card or was part of any NGOs. Next thing I know two police men dressed in civilians had came over and started asking questions. That was the ringing bell that saved us from paying €20.
The sad thing is on that front page I`ve also seen two other people signing and paying €20 each. We would have been next is those police men have not shown up.
Tip: Don`t get intimidated by people trying to rush you. Stop and ask questions, or move on!
2. St. Michael train station to Versailles
We have decided to to visit Versailles and its sumptuous palaces. To get City of Versailles from Paris city center there two options: train or personal car. We have opted for a train. I`ve done my research a night before and I knew the train ticket should be ~€7 return trip.
However when we have arrived at the station there was a nice looking man asking if he can help us. Having little experience with the Parisian metro ticket vending machines we were thrilled to have met him. We told him our destination and next thing he asked for €40 return trip.!
I`m sure he could read the shock on my face! Being on a budget, €40 were not expendable. We thanked and stepped outside of the train stations to rethink the plan. We checked again the travel websites and it was there on black and white: €7!
Armed with an empty pocket and nerves, we went underground again. This time there was no nice looking guy, so we typed into the ticket vending machine ourselves and to our biggest surprised we saw this: from St. Michael station to Versailles station – €7.50!
While we were buying the tickets, the nice looking man showed up again, this time with a group of Italians tourists next to him. He asked again if we need help, we declined and walked away on a fast paced.
My thoughts will be that he pirated that vending machine (there were 3 metro vending machines, and yet when we saw him the second time with that Italian group, he waited for us to finish, instead of going to another machine) and he was luring people to buy tickets to Versailles (maybe other destinations too) with his help.
Tip: This man had what it seems to be an Metro employee badge around his neck, but as a tourist you have little means to check the validity of that ID. Therefore, be sure to check the prices beforehand and don`t let yourself be persuaded by attractive people!
3. Underneath Eiffel Tower and on Charles de Gaulle Boulevard
Known as the crowded places in Paris, it is also the heaven for pick-pocketing. While I have nothing stolen this time, it happened the first time when I was in Paris to a classmate.
In these places you`ll find a lot of street vendors waiting to persuade you to buy little Eiffel towers or other shining/moving toys. The thing is if you are looking for typical souvenirs, they might be exactly what you need. Bargain for few minutes and you`ll find better prices than at any nearby shop – it was true 7years ago when I`ve first visited Paris and it is true now. You can buy 5 small tower for as little as €1, while at any store you`ll see one tower for €5 at least.
Tip: Watch yours and your friends` belongings.
Until next time, Paris might be always a good idea, but if you research it ahead, it`s gonna be the best idea! Jump the lights and dive into culture!
If you are ready to go in your next adventure be sure to check my last blog post about it or check 10 useful things I (re)discovered the third time visiting Turkey.
All photographic credits from this post go to Cristian Ionut Virciu.
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