Now, something that is truly synonymous with Paris is begging. Unfortunately, when you go to France’s capital there will be a lot of gypsies begging. Sometimes, they come to you asking for your information. Other times, they will go out their way to help you in the subway for a few euros or to pickpocket you.
A tip for travelers, it’s best to avoid contact with gypsies. It truly pains me to write that; however, they do target tourists for pickpocketing and scams. I was almost pickpocketed, if it wasn’t for a fellow American warning me. One tried to distract me with asking me questions, while another would had walked by to go in my pockets.
Most gypsies live in shanty towns within the city of Paris. A lot of the shanty towns are built on abandoned train lines. As seen in the photo above, it’s hard to believe this is Paris, France. The fashion capital of the world, has it’s ugly side too.
Sadly, majority of these shanty towns are illegal. The Gypsies living in these shanty towns can be evicted at any time. There are have recently been many police raids in these communities. Kicking 100s of families out of their temporary homes.
As nomads, gypsies tend to not want to settle down. That creates problems for the French officials. The French goverment have been pressuring gypsies to settle down. Of course, all that causes are more problems and tension. France’s solution to the gypsy “problem” is to send the gypsies back to Romania and Bulgaria. In my personal opinion, this wasn’t handled correctly. Let people live their lives!
I wrote this post to bring awareness to the struggles of the gypsy community in Paris. Being a frequent traveler, I have been told “I have the heart of a gypsy.” On a regular basis, I’m constantly having the narrative of people wanting me to stop traveling and “settle down.” I can understand what they go through, even if it’s on a smaller scale.
Thank you for reading! Much love and safe travels!!
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That’s one side of Paris I did not know!
I know there is no easy solution to it, but if you exclude expulsion back to their country of origin, what do you think would be the best way to handle the situation?
Unfortunately there is too much deep rooted racism towards Romany for them to integrate peaceably in any country.
It’s amazing that I get to see this side of Paris. The media doesn’t usually cover it but I think the gypsies deserve a place in the society.
Instead of the government chasing them out of temporary homes, rehabilitation of the shelters should be done in a way that it enriches the diversity and landscape of Paris.
Thank you for writing this.
Interesting post. It’s good to focus on aspects of a place other than the standard topics or places…thanks
Great piece – from one gypsy to another. 🙂
Obviously all cities of the world have ‘dodgy’ parts, beggars, scammers and thieves, but I was quite surprised to see the sad state of these ghettos. Surely there must be some way of helping these people. I cannot believe that they want to live this way. If they are travellers then surely they would not be building ghettos. Building ghettos suggests to me they want to settle and perhaps then the French should help them.
So on point with this one.! One gypsy lady tried to stop my friend and I in the middle of a big crowd I told my friend do not stop at all ! I knew it was a set up.