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Being a victim of Bracelet Scam in Paris

Singapore, Singapore
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9 posts
21 reviews
21 helpful votes
Being a victim of Bracelet Scam in Paris
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I just came back from Paris for a two weeks vacation in Italy, Switzerland and Paris. I wanted to share some of my experience encountered during the trip in Paris.

I was warmed by a lot of people that Italy is not safe as there are plenty of pick pockets around. However, the feedback i received for Paris and Switzerland are quite okay. Hence, my friend and myself are extremely alert in Italy and we were safe throughout Italy and Switzerland.

Our last stop for the trip is at Paris where we spent three days there. The first day when we reached, we went straight to Disney and La Vallee outlet mall. We went back to hotel appx 8 by metro and everything was fine.

We went to Basilique du Sacre-coeur in the second day morning. When we reached there, we saw a group of south african look people standing in the stair case but we felt normal as there are plenty of them selling souvenir in Italy. However, when we walked up the steps, the group of people started approaching and surrounding us. We (group of three) ignored them but they managed to block two of us as the stair case is not big enough for us to squeeze through. They were very friendly and put a loop of strings on my figures and start tying it across my wrist band. While they were doing this, they explained this is a blessing in their culture and chit chatting with us. They told us they are from South Africa and told me that they are happy to see us in Paris. At that point, i did understand that i definitely have to fork out some euro for this "blessing" things. Indeed, once he tied the bracelet on my hand, he asked me to pay for this. I forked out some coins and the man was not happy with it. He requested me to pay in paper money. I started arguing with him that i am not going to pay for this. The guy turn fierce and intimate me to take out my wallet.

I was unprepared and intimated by the group of them who is much taller and bigger size than us. I took out Euro 10 and pass to him, the guy asked me to pay Euro 20 for both my friend (another girl) and me. But i do not have extra Euro 10 hence he asked me to give him Eur 50 and he will returned me with the change. At the end, he passed me a Euro 10 and let the two of us go. This work out Euro 20 for one of the stupid bracelet each.

We approached a policemen at Eifeel towel and make a record. The policeman told us just ignore anyone if we ever encountered the same situation again or make a call to Police immediately.

After this, we were approached by a few more people who did the same thing like showing us a bracelet, asking whether we speak english, or even street kids or woman passing us a papers to donate money in other places. We just ignored and walked ahead. Some of them get really insisted and we just said a firm 'no' to them and they stopped.

Here what i would like to say. Do not get intimidated if they approach you and give a firm no to them if they insisted. I noticed that they tend to target on people who are on a smaller group, or young, or small size and tourist. Hope my experience can give you some heads up if this happen to you.

Nevertheless, Paris still a wonderful place for me and i will definitely visit the city again!

Montreux...
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1,484 posts
10 reviews
23 helpful votes
1. Re: Being a victim of Bracelet Scam in Paris
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Jubi-ltc,

I'm sorry to hear that you were a victim of the bracelet scam but glad to hear that you won't let it stop you from returning to Paris. This scam was just discussed at length in this thread:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187147-i14-k4479323-Scary_Situation_Montemarte_Watch_Out-Paris_Ile_de_France.html

What did you think about La Vallee Village? I've been thinking about going there and wondering if it is worth it.

warrensburg,MO
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7,685 posts
2. Re: Being a victim of Bracelet Scam in Paris
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I'm finding that the bracelet guys at Sacre Couer are becoming increasingly more agressive with visitors.

Dayton, Ohio
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598 posts
5 reviews
3. Re: Being a victim of Bracelet Scam in Paris
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It is a shame the Paris Police who obviously know of these scams are giving a blind eye to this..:(

Edited: 10 years ago
Branson, Missouri
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201 posts
2 reviews
8 helpful votes
4. Re: Being a victim of Bracelet Scam in Paris
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Whats sad andd hopefully Paris figures this out but I have taken Sacre Couer off my plans since I had a tight schedule and had to drop something. the reason I picked that to drop is all these stories about the bracelets. My husband is an Iraq war vet and has a touch of PTSD and would not handle people surrounding him and getting push lik this and I fear he would take a swing at someone and I don't want to spend my vacation trying to get him out of a French jail :X I just don't understand why authorities let this keep happening?

Singapore, Singapore
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9 posts
21 reviews
21 helpful votes
5. Re: Being a victim of Bracelet Scam in Paris
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Sojoh, It takes approximately 30 minutes train from Gare De Lyon. You may want to vet through their website to see the brand sell there.. then you decide whether you want to go or not.

The price is definitely cheaper than retail price. The items are past season items but that's doesn't matter to me. Hence, i think it is worth visit.

Falls Church...
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566 posts
51 reviews
65 helpful votes
6. Re: Being a victim of Bracelet Scam in Paris
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MommieMara - in all seriousness, all tourist areas such as the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Sacre Coeur, etc. have varying forms of scams that could feel intimidating to someone with PTSD. You quite likely always look to avoid situations that could affect your husband, and I suggest you do so at any of these very crowded areas. Hopefully he feels comforted by military/police presence with machines guns which can be typical near the Eiffel Tower, occasionally the Trocadera, and Seine boat docks nearby. I am not trying to scare you at all, but if you are not familiar with the city, these are things you might want to know in advance for the sake of your husband.

And, the authorities are well aware, and try to move these people along (all scammers), but it's petty thievery and only so much can be done. Their biggest concerns are for the big stuff, such as unrest or terrorism.

Croatia
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490 posts
23 reviews
40 helpful votes
7. Re: Being a victim of Bracelet Scam in Paris
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I must say, this trip report gave me quite a scare!

I'm rather small and quite naive-looking, and will be travelling with a young teenager... I don't want to walk up those stairs! Can someone please tell me, if we take the cable car to Montmartre, do we avoid those stairs or not?

And does it also depend on the time of day - would early afternoon be more acceptable than a later time?

Edited: 10 years ago
Garden Grove...
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3,343 posts
8. Re: Being a victim of Bracelet Scam in Paris
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IF you really want to go up there and avoid the braceltte guys take the back way up. There is also a little bus that goes up there as well as a little train. The funicular is not the only way to get up there. We have walked up the back way. It is a little tiring but the scenery is very nice.I don't have a map handy so I cannot give you street names. I'm sure that if you look at a map you can figure a way to avoid the square by the funicular where those guys hang out.

Tampa, Florida
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38,293 posts
11 reviews
66 helpful votes
9. Re: Being a victim of Bracelet Scam in Paris
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Paris Police ARE aware of it -- and have had a very visible presence the last several times I've been in the area.

Montreal
Destination Expert
for Paris, Montreal
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20,589 posts
173 reviews
231 helpful votes
10. Re: Being a victim of Bracelet Scam in Paris
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It's easy to reach Sacré Coeur by Montmartrobus, a regular city bus that passes through Montmartre area and costs one ticket or is covered by all/any transit passes. Can catch it from several metro stations: Pigalle, Abbesses, Lamarck-Caulaincourt or Jules Joffrin.

http://www.ratp.fr/informer/pdf/orienter/f_plan.php?fm=gif&loc=bus_paris/&nompdf=08

The bracelet brigade, that's often at the entrance to funicular, wasn't there when we went up and then descended fairly late on a Saturday night recently, but I have passed by them before (it'll be a cold day in hell when I start altering my plans due to those yo-yos) and did not look their way and had no issues.

There was a thread not long ago where a woman told of how she blew her "rape whistle" on them, I suppose one could also start screaming for help if they don't let you pass... anything's better than paying the buggers.. just my opinion.

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