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.
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