Liar Liar Pants on Fire! The 3 most common tourist schemes in Paris

by Sonja Faul

I enjoyed Paris, don’t misunderstand me. But of all the European cities I’ve been to, Paris is by far the worst when it comes to aggressive tourist schemes, and this is coming from a street-smart South African! The aim of the schemes is to relief you of your hard-earned cash. Be alert and take note of these schemes when you visit The City of Light.


1. Clipboard girls

You will find them everywhere, particularly along the banks of the Seine River and around the Louvre. They can be quite aggressive!

The play: As you fill your details in on the clipboard, they distract your attention while an accomplice pickpockets you.

What you should do: Just ignore them as they approach you. Don’t even listen to them and don’t fill in the forms! If they persist, threaten to call the police.


2. Ticket machine assistance

My husband and I were buying subway tickets from a ticket machine when a little boy approached us offering his assistance.

The play: Another ruse to get your money, either by pick-pocketing or cheating you out of your change at the machine.

What you should do: We did not want, nor did we need his help, but he kept on interfering with our purchase. After being polite at first, my husband eventually lost his cool and screamed at the boy. He finally got the message and backed away. So don’t be afraid to be assertive or rude if the situation calls for it.


3. String scheme

This one was quite scary as it got physical! My husband and I were enjoying the splendour of the Eiffel Tower at night, complete with the spectacular light show. As we walked away from the tower, a tall, huge African man grabbed my husband’s wrist.

The play: Apparently they tie a string around your wrist, tightly, as a way to gain control over you. A gang of men then closes in around you and forces you to withdraw money from the nearest ATM before letting you go.

What you should do: Get out of the situation as soon as possible! My husband had to violently yank his arm away from the man’s grip and we quickly walked away. Don’t be afraid to scream if the situation calls for it.


Keep safe and enjoy Paris!

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