I may just be one of tens of millions of tourists who’ll visit Paris this year, but maybe if enough of them complain about the gangs of thieves roving the popular spots of this great city, something will finally get done.
I went back to Montmartre by myself the morning of my second day to catch the views now that the sky had cleared to an impossible blue. I also went there to try to film the gang of thieves that had harassed us the day before. My camera doesn’t take the greatest video, but the clip below will give you a good impression about what tourists have to deal with here. Not just at Montmartre, but in front of Notre Dame cathedral and the Tuileries gardens to name just two places my friend has been forced to yell at them this trip just to keep the herd at bay.
Watch how they swarm around these Asian tourists, who are forced to flee in fear:
They carry these clipboards they thrust under your nose to distract you while the rest of them – having failed the courses in the finer arts of pick-pocketing – start patting you down like some TSA officer on too much coffee.
I hung around a bit hoping to get a closer shot of them, but by that time three of Paris’ finest flics ambled past and the gang had disappeared.
As the police trio strolled toward the grand staircase leading up to Sacré-Coeur, I approached one of them and said, “Bonjour Messieurs, I’m sure you’re aware of that gang of young women accosting tourists up here.”
“Yeah, the Romanians,” I said. “They are SO AGGRESSIVE! Yesterday I had to yell at them in English to get their paws off me.”
“That’s what you have to do,” he replied. “You have to get rid of them.”
“That’s what you have to do on the street,” I said, “but don’t you think that’s trying to take care of the problem at the wrong end? It’s like drug trafficking. Can’t something be done to stop them before they even get out here?”
He gave me a Gallic shrug, sighed, turned toward the stairs and said, “Yeah, well, you know….”