We visited Sacre Coeur on a beautiful Sunday in Paris. It was full of tourists and people lazing on the slopes in the warm sun.
Unfortunately the entrances are blocked by gangs of young African men who accost tourists by tieing a string bracelet around their wrists and braiding these whilst distracting the victims and in some cases pulling them away from the main path. Once the string is tied they can demand up to 50 euros under threat of trouble and they prey on the most unsuspecting.
We watched this activity from a nearby cafe - the owners of which kindly warned us before we left. The police on bicycles swept in and detained one of the gang while the others simply moved to another area - making fools of the police, who soon disappeared.
The church itself is wonderful and well worth a visit, but to blatantly allow thieves and scammers to ply their trade on so called 'holy ground' is a shame and a disgrace.
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