15 France Tourist Traps And Scams (And How To Avoid Them)

List Rules
Locals and travelers: vote up the worst traps and scams tourists should avoid.

The city of love: it's not always so lovely. There are plenty of France tourist traps and France scams out there, so make sure you know what to look out for. Read these eye-opening stories and learn how to avoid tourist traps in France.


  • 1
    17 VOTES

    Distracting You With Napkins

    From Redditor u/zfztate:

    My friend almost fell for the Paper in Cafe [trick]. He had his phone on the cafe table and some kids distracted him with napkins/paper in his face. He chased the kids down after some locals told him they just stole his phone.

    He told me there was they were maybe 4 or 5 8-10-year-old kids, a boy and some girls. The boy had a pack of cigarettes in his pocket (my friend searched him trying to get his phone back).

    With the help of a local Parisian who scolded the kids (and possibly threatened them) One of the little girls gave his phone back.

    17 votes
  • 2
    14 VOTES

    The Bracelet Trick

    From Redditor u/daumesnil1639:

    My sister was visiting me in Paris, so I decided to show her Sacre Coeur. She was walking in front of me through a crowd of the bracelet-men when one started talking to her. She knows a little French and said no. He kept talking to her very closely when I put myself between them, saying "Elle a dit Non." That's when he got pretty angry and they all started yelling and glaring at us as we made our way up to the church.

    There are two ways of avoiding this: 1) use the stairs next to the monorail, or what I do: 2) have a fixed and angry glare ready for them when you approach, stand up to your full height with your shoulders braced, aggressively say 'non' whilst shouldering your way through them and don't have your hands/arms anywhere that they can grab them.

    14 votes
  • 3
    9 VOTES

    "My Good Luck Is Your Good Luck" (Not)

    From Redditor u/TK44:

    I totally fell for the lady near the tower who 'found' a gold ring and offered it to me. She kept saying "My good luck is your good luck! It does not fit me, you take!... Maybe you share your good luck with me and give me little money for coke!" to which I instantly recognized as a [grift] at that point.

    There are entire troupes of people out there doing this. A few days later I was walking by the Musée d'Orsay and sure enough, there was another one!

    9 votes
  • 4
    8 VOTES

    Hanging Out By Vending Machines

    From Redditor u/Girlwithnousername:

    This is a small but irritating one: [groups] of kids in metro stations waiting for you to use the vending machine suddenly appearing out of nowhere and hitting the 'release change' button, running off with your 2 euros and then standing nearby and laughing at you whilst your face changes from surprise to realization to anger.

    8 votes
  • 5
    6 VOTES

    The Found Ring Grift

    From Redditor u/daliagon:

    The Found Ring thing happened to me!

    Usually, a woman will drop a ring right in front of you and ask if you dropped it. When you say no, she will inspect the ring and falsely prove to you that it’s real gold (it isn’t). She will then offer to sell it to you for a much higher price than it’s worth.

    The woman didn't try to sell it to me directly, she just said it was for good luck and gave it to me. Then she came back and asked for money for a coke. After I said no, she told me to look in my pockets. Still, I said no, and she asked for the ring back. I should've thrown it over the bridge.

    6 votes
  • 6
    14 VOTES

    Tying A String On Your Finger

    From Redditor u/disrupt3r:

    I'm in Paris at the moment and there are a few scams at the main tourist destinations. Such as people tying a string on your finger and not letting you go until you pay or asking you to sign a petition to distract while their partner goes for your bag. Basically, if someone is trying to talk to you and it doesn't feel right, keep walking. Other than that enjoy! It's the most beautiful city.

    14 votes