5) The Restaurant Scam - Be careful in the very touristy areas in Paris, especially if you can’t read or speak French. When you go to a restaurant, if you want to avoid being scammed then don’t ask for the English menu, use the French one. Some restaurants will put higher prices on their English menus than they do on the French one, relying on you being a stupid tourist and not really knowing how much food should cost in Paris. I last went to Paris about three years ago, and found that you can easily eat out for between 15 and 25 euros a head, obviously you can pay more in very upmarket places, but as a rule of thumb a steak and chips isn’t going to drain your holiday money.
4) Taxi Scam - This is the only scam I’ve come close to falling for. On my first every trip to Paris about 5 years ago, me and by Girlfriend arrived at the Gare du Nord station having travelled by Eurostar from London. As soon as we got outside the station, we were faced with about three taxis directly in front of us, parked next to the pavement immediately outside of the station. All with signs on their roofs that said libra, which french for free - as in available. A man approached us and asked us where we were going. I told him, he pulled out a sheet of paper and pointed at a price (it was about 80 euros, I believe). Being new to Paris, I had no idea if this was a normal price, but I did think it was expensive. I ushered my girlfriend towards it, and she looked a little unsure. I said it was fine and I gave the bloke my bag to put in the taxi. I would have gone through with it, having not ever heard of this scam, however as he was loading the bag, then the driver kept asking me where I wanted to go and how to get there. Odd for a taxi driver - they usually know how to get places as it’s their job, especially when it’s a famous chain hotel. I then peaked into the taxi and noticed absolutely no identification for the driver or any of the usual taxi radio equipment you would expect. Glancing over to the right-hand side of the station you could see all the train travellers in a queue for the real taxi rank. Our taxi was a scam. They charge you too much and they’re not licensed. The best case is they’ll rip you off, the worse case is they’ll drive you somewhere remote and steal all your money.
3) Gold Ring or Free Gift Scam - Walking along a river side to catch a tour boat, my girlfriend and I came across a scruffy looking woman. As we passed her, she exclaimed (in English), “Oh my God, excuse me, you have dropped your ring!”. We glance around and she’s picking a ring up from the dirt. We just carried on walking, but the way this scam works is that she “gives” you the ring, but it doesn’t have to a ring, it could just be a free gift or a fortune reading or something, but then she tells you how poor and hungry her children are and asks for a little bit of money. Of course, the ring she gives you is a piece of crap and whatever you offer her isn’t enough. She’ll keep going until she gets what she thinks is reasonable, especially since the ring is worth so much!
2) Tat Scam - Not so much a scam but it’s really annoying. Go anywhere touristy, like the Louvre and you’ll see lots of people holding great big racks of souvenir stuff, like mini Eiffel towers. Truth be told, this stuff is probably no worse than things you’d buy in the shops, but you could end up paying too much and finding it difficult to be left alone. Usually, a man will approach you and ask you in English if you want to buy a gift. If you say yes, you will find it very difficult to get away from them - they will keep trying to sell you crap even if you do by the gift, and might end up following you around. And if you’re unfamiliar with how much rubbish like this should cost, you’ll end up being ripped off too.
1) Metro Scam - While most of Paris is beautiful, historical and a delight to explore, there are some less appealing areas. My girlfriend and I took the metro to an outdoor fleamarket on a rougher side of town. The area was just more run down, which wouldn’t have been a problem if we’d found any bargains at the flea market. But to be honest, this trip was just spoilt by what happened in the metro. As we arrived, a Chinese girl moved her way towards and through the metro barriers, waving her iPad in the air. At that moment, one of many pick pocketers who stand at the side of the station waiting for silly tourists like that, runs towards her and snatches the iPad from her hand. Thankfully, she screamed and held on, making the pickpocket run away. The Metro guards watch on as if everything is normal. As in every city, don’t wave expensive items around. Keep them out of side, ideally zipped up.
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