just say "NO"!!!
Off the topic of my normal stuff, odd discovery is that just like the "Hunchback of Notre Dame" Paris today is overrun with Gypsy's. Am tossing out this tidbit as a commentor-blog pal noted he will be in Paris in a few more weeks. Here you go Wil...even what they look like.
When I first visit a new city I like to pick up a local tour to get a lay of the land and a feel for how things work. Interesting enough but the guide made it clear to heed the signs in Paris regarding "pickpockets at work".
He let us know that Paris is overrun with "Gypsy's" (his term not mine) from Romania that wear long skirts, travel in packs and approach tourists, especially us American varieties and present us with a card asking if we "speak English". Its a twist on the "I'm a deaf mute variety.
His instructions were to tell them "NO" loudly and clearly and to walk away.
Essentially if you take the bait they watch where you keep your money when you pull out your wallet to give them the odd Euro. Since the travel in packs the others watch where you kept your cash and when you start to move they swoop in and take it from the last hiding place you kept your dinero.
Sure enough when we got the Eiffel Tower (sounds like 'tour effay el' in french for a quick phonetics lesson) they were there in hoards. They were in a group of about 4 going from corner to corner presenting their card, getting some donations from suckers outside our group.
Not sure how it started, but we got the bright idea to sound off "No" in a 3 stooges harmony. We all laughed and it frustrated the hell out of the Gypsy's and their pals in the background.
So much for your education on street smarts in Paris, I have lots of work to do, LOTs and I need to get busy.