The scourge of every tourist district of Paris, the gypsy girls who use their “phoney petitions” to harass people for money (and the more daring ones will use the petition as a decoy while pickpocketing their victims).
People are always asking how to spot them, but they’re pretty obvious: young, short, dark-haired girls (sometimes boys), walking around in groups with paper in their hands. These are the same ones who do the “Is this your ring?” trick, as well. Ignore them, don’t let them touch you.
These tourists signed the petition and then spent the next ten minutes trying to get away as the gypsies demanded a “donation”. They could see I was taking their photo, but I don’t think they care.
Any positive gypsy experiences to report?
Having travelled regularly to Paris since 1980 I can spot Gypsies as easily as they can spot tourists. They were doing the "Ring thing" back in 1980, I first saw the petitions in the late 1990s. But the last few years I have been, I have noticed they have been sending one young girl up to a tourist, and she asks them to take a photo of her with her digital camera. She does her little dog and pony show of "Oh, hang on…what do you think is best…better here…or better here…" Whilst Tourist is busy trying to take her picture, the rest of her group are raiding the tourist's bag or picking his/her pocket. Several guide books mention "The Gypsies are a nuisance, but seldom aggressive." That may have been the case 30 years ago, but not now. They are always pushy at best, and, at worst, they are nasty bits of work. I agree with the post above re ignoring them and know where your purse is. If someone comes up and tries handing you anything, that should be Lightbulb Time.
We saw these girls in the Tuileries while I was there with my elderly parents and young daughters. They were aggressive and went right up to my young daughters. Luckily I knew what to look for and could tell right away what they were up to so I grabbed my girls' hands, my purse and said firmly, NO, and walked swiftly away. The New Yorker in me came right out. Not 10 minutes later while we were on the Carousel did we see the Gendarmes chasing them through the park on their bikes. Thanks for sharing this photo, they are around indeed, just ignore them and know where your purse is.
Tons of them up at Sacre Coeur! yes, stay away totally…..