One of the worst things about being a tourist is the fact that people will take advantage of you. Scamming tourists in Paris is some (terrible) people’s way of life.
From girls pretending to be deaf mutes and trying to get you to sign something, to someone placing and then picking up a “gold” ring for you only to ask for a reward after, there are numerous variants of these scams. The worse one is over transport tickets.
As I have made very clear is that transport in Paris is well…a nightmare. And malicious people only make that experience even more disagreeable.
I huge warning NEVER, EVER buy a ticket from anyone in the metro that is not behind a ticket counter!
The only exception to this is that in the summer there may be RATP agents wearing green vests that can on occasion sell tickets.
The annoying thing about ticket machines in Paris is the fact that the majority only take coins and if they do take cards your American credit card WONT work because you do not have a “pulse” chip. So if all you have is cash then you’ve gotta stand in massive ticket lines. And this is where thieves situate themselves to take advantage.
What is happening in Paris a lot is the fact that people are watching to find tourists that are having trouble with the machines. They then offer to sell you tickets that they have already bought. For one thing a pack of ten tickets is only supposed to cost you 12 euros, and they will sell you it for 20 but the tickets that they have given you are either used or they are 1/2 fare tickets for children and when you run into a check point in the metro (which are very frequent and random) they will give you a VERY hefty fine.
My friend was standing in one of these extraordinary long ticket lines one day and on finally being one turn away from the window she heard this scenario played out: A very innocent, non-assuming family of japanese had some trouble buying tickets because they didn’t have coins. A well dressed man came up to them and asked them if they needed tickets. The man even had a name badge that indicated him as a ticket seller for the metro system. They had bought 50 euros of tickets to Versailles from this person, which was in fact the price of the ticket pack. However, when they went to the gate the tickets did not work. The poor tourists had been had by a very believable but very fake agent of the RATP.
The moral of the story is: Just stand in the lines to get to the ticket counter. Yes they are long but they can move very quickly. Patience is key in this city, be clam, don’t rush and no one can take advantage of you.
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