What To Do If You Are a Tourist in Paris Right Now

Students stay safe! We’re thinking and praying for you! **DB

“What To Do If You Are a Tourist in Paris Right Now”

by Yahoo Travel Editions

The world is watching the horrifying developments after a series of attacks Friday night in the French capital of Paris.

Situations like this are terrifying for anyone in the city, but especially so for the tens of thousands of tourists who are there right now. Not knowing the local streets, having anyone to turn to in a crisis or speaking the language adds another layer of fright to an already scary situation.

Here are a few of the things you should do if you are visiting Paris right now.

1. Find shelter. In a wonderful display of humanity, locals are offering up their homes and businesses using the hashtag #porteouverte or “open door” to let people know they have a safe place to stay. Alternatively you can tweet #porteouverte along with your location to try to find a place to stay.

Local hotels are also offering shelter and assistance to get you safely where you need to go. Use Google maps to find the closest one.

2. Get cash. You don’t want to be caught in any kind of crisis without local currency. If you can safely get to an ATM, do so and try to have at least a couple hundred dollars in euros available to you.

3. Account for everyone in your group. Confirm the whereabouts of everyone traveling with you. If any family or group members are missing, first check with the hotel and then inform the local embassy or consulate for your home country. The State Department (U.S.), Foreign Office(U.K.), or other local diplomatic authority will maintain a list of their citizens who have been killed, are missing, are injured, or have been accounted for.

4. Check in back home. Inform family and friends back home of your whereabouts and situation as soon as possible. Amid the confusion and devastation following an attack, it can be hard for people to get word out to loved ones via phone. Consider alternative forms of communication, such as social media accounts or email.

5. Follow @TravelGov on social media. This will give you real-time updates and instructions.

6. Touch base with the local American Embassy. It’s their job to help you, and they can better assist if they know where you are and what your situation is. Plus, “It’s comforting to know that someone knows you’re there,” says Andrea Ross, owner of travel company Journeys Within.

7. Avoid crowds. In the wake of a crisis, don’t use public transportation during rush hour. Instead, travel at off-peak times or use a licensed taxi. And stay away from crowds and congested areas. “People are on edge, so if they think something is happening and panic, there could be a stampede or other dangerous situation,” advises Ross.

8. Be extra alert. “Very often people on holiday let down their guards and are not as aware of what’s going on around,” explains the State Department’s Michelle Bernier Toth, Managing Director for Overseas Citizen Services. “Look for things like unattended packages, weird behavior, and people overdressed for the environment,” says George Taylor, VP of Global Operations at integrated risk management company iJet.

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Paris v. Tokyo

“In Paris the cashiers sit rather than stand. They run your goods over a scanner, tally up the price, and then ask you for exact change. The story they give is that there aren’t enough euros to go around. “The entire EU is short on coins.”

And I say, “Really?” because there are plenty of them in Germany. I’m never asked for exact change in Spain or Holland or Italy, so I think the real problem lies with the Parisian cashiers, who are, in a word, lazy. Here in Tokyo they’re not just hard working but almost violently cheerful. Down at the Peacock, the change flows like tap water. The women behind the registers bow to you, and I don’t mean that they lower their heads a little, the way you might if passing someone on the street. These cashiers press their hands together and bend from the waist. Then they say what sounds to me like “We, the people of this store, worship you as we might a god.”

**David Sedaris

Study Abroad ~ Paris Sights

Exquisite Sights to see in Paris

“Paris is a place in which we can forget ourselves, reinvent, expunge the dead weight of our past.”

**Michael Simkins

Museums & Palaces

The Louvre

Palace of Versailles

Rodin Museum

Palais Royale 

Musee D’Cluny

Musée d’Orsay

Art 

The Eiffel Tower

Albert Kahn Musée & Jardins

Cathedrale Notre Dame de Paris

 

Basilique du Sacre Coeur de Montmartre

Opera National de Paris

Sainte Chapelle

Walking

Le Marais

Ile de la Cite

Place de la Concorde

Canal Saint Martin

Parc de la Villette

Shopping & Fashion

champselise

Triangle d’Or

stgermaindespres_creativecommons_ccl2008.jpg -

Saint-Germain des Prés

Le Bon Marche in Sevres Babylone

Sèvres-Babylone

JB Guanti, 59 Rue de Rennes

Rue de Rennes

Haussmann Saint-Lazare

Haussmann-Saint-Lazare

Le Marais

Adventure

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Roller Skating

Activités nautiques, Bassin de la Villette, Paris © OTCP - Marc Bertrand

BASE NAUTIQUE DE LA VILLETTE

Disneyland Paris - Tic et Tac © DR - OTCP

Disneyland Paris

Evasion Verte 1 - Paris - © OTCP - DR

Evasion Verte

Parc Asterix - Spectacle | 630x405 | © OTCP

Parc Asterix

Poisson clown, Aquarium de la Porte Dorée, Paris © DR

AQUARIUM TROPICAL DE LA PORTE DORÉE

Natural Views

Luxembourg Gardens

Jardin des Tuileries

Bois de Boulogne

Jardin des Plantes

Parc Monceau

 

France – Watch Out for the Infamous Paris String or Friendship Bracelet Scam

“France – Watch Out for the Infamous Paris String or Friendship Bracelet Scam”

Via “Corporate Travel Safety”

A Famous Tourist Scam in Paris, France

You’ll find this scam is one of the top  scams in Paris, France. It’s been around for many years, (because it works) and is known as the “Friendship Bracelet Scam” the “Paris String Scam” or by the name given to those who try to commit the scam on you, “Bracelet Pushers.” The scam is committed by who many describe as “string men” or as local Paris merchants call them “con-merchants.” Non-french speaking tourists are targeted the most. While the Paris Friendship Bracelet Scam is popular in Paris, it can also be found at many tourist locations outside of Paris in France too, and to a lesser extent in other countries such as Italy and Spain.

Paris Friendship or String Scam

Where the String Scam Occurs

One of the most common Paris locations where you’ll find the Friendship Bracelet Scam practiced is throughout the Montmartre area.  Specifically the scammers will target tourists and first time visitors as they approach and walk up the giant staircase that leads from the Metro to the Sacre Coeur area of the Basilica of Sacré-Coeur. This is a popular stomping ground for tourists and is Montmartre’s leading tourist attraction, and probably the most-visited church in Paris. Visitors to Paris should also be aware that this scam is also prevalent at many of the Metro lines and stations that  you travel on to get to this location.

The “string men” seem to usually target female tourists (but not always) as they enter the small fenced square below Sacré-Coeur and proceed toward the stairs that run up the hillside.  You can spot the “string men” as they are usually lined up on the sides of the stairs leading to the Sacre-Coeur. These innocent looking people are annoying “con-merchants” who have the “Paris String Scam” honed down to a science.

How the String Scam Plays Out

The scam begins like this. One of the “‘string men” walks up to you and engages you in innocent conversation and will usually say that they want to show you a magic trick.  Before you know it, a “string man” has grabbed your wrist or one or two fingers and encircled it with a homemade bracelet of colored string.

Typically the string men will say something to you like “it’s for the church” or “a gift.”  Sometimes the string men are more polite (they’ll ask the visitor to hold a string) and before you know it, the string men will somehow manage to grab your wrist or fingers and encircle it with a homemade bracelet of colored string, yarn, or other crafty-looking item.

Next, when the string men finish making your new “local Paris string bracelet souvenir,” they will demand payment of around €20 which is quite obviously not what the bracelet is worth. If you fail to pay them, they will doggedly follow you and be VERY insistent that you provide some amount of payment. These “con-merchants” are so demanding, they succeed in intimidating many tourists into paying them because it’s the only way to get rid of them.

Another variation of this scam occurs when the string men find a couple and offer the woman a  friendship bracelet.  When the woman kindly denies, the scammer tells her there is no charge.  To get the scammer to leave them alone, the woman offers her wrist and the scammer ties the “Friendship Bracelet” on her wrist.  A second scammer then appears and offers another “Friendship Bracelet” to the man. The man thinks to himself, “well if they are free why not?” and then he offers his wrist to the scammer.  Once the Friendship Bracelets are tied onto the wrists . . . .

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Paris and Bangkok offer an entrepreneurial study abroad experience

“Paris and Bangkok offer an entrepreneurial study abroad experience”

by Conor Nordberg via “The Daily Aztec”

San Diego State has long had a penchant for great study abroad programs, having been rated in the top 25 universities nationwide by the Institute of International Education. With this in mind, faculty in the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center and College of Business Administration are preparing to travel to more countries to spread student awareness and understanding. Bernhard Schroeder, director of the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center and overseer of all graduate and undergraduate internship programs, was at the helm of one of the Paris trips during the winter break. He took students to Paris to understand entrepreneurship in a more global setting. “Students may consider this program for the course immersion that it would provide,” Schroeder said. Students not only were able to gain new insight into being an entrepreneur, but also met with local entrepreneurs to understand the ins and outs of business in Paris. This summer, Lois Olson, a lecturer from the college of Business Administration, will be taking entrepreneurship and marketing students to Paris for two weeks. Olson has taught at SDSU since 1988 and has taught internationally in many countries such as Germany, Taiwan, and China. She finds it important to take her students on cultural and company visits, allowing them to learn more about the country and its business sector as a whole. “Most of the students who have gone come away saying that their life has changed,” Olson said. . . . .

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“A French Guy’s Practical Tips for a Quick Trip to Paris”

“A French Guy’s Practical Tips for a Quick Trip to Paris”

by Olivier Knox via “Yahoo!

A French Guy’s Practical Tips for a Quick Trip to Paris

For years, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances have come to Olivier Knox — a Frenchman turned Chief Washington Correspondent for Yahoo News — for advice about Paris. Yahoo Travel may have already briefed you on how to not look like an idiot in Paris, but some lessons are worth learning twice.

Here’s his tricks that even the best-prepared Americans should brush up on:

GENERAL RULES

Restaurant reservations: make them when you can.

Don’t go to Paris in August. Everyone is on vacation, restaurants are closed, the city is steaming, and you will be, too, when you realize all you’re missing out on.

Paris is a big city. Big-city rules apply. Making eye contact with strangers, smiling at them, saying “Hello” is not encouraged in Paris any more than it is encouraged in New York City. If you’re a woman and you smile at a man, he will assume that you are… courting. And that’s the charitable interpretation. BUT, there’s one big caveat…

Say hello to store clerks. When you walk into thatboulangerie to buy the éclairs that you and your kids will devour on one of the green benches in the Jardin du Luxembourg, don’t order immediately. First, greet the person behind the register. “Bonjour Monsieur” or “Bonjour Madame” or even a “Good morning sir/ma’am” establishes that you are a polite American familiar with the local culture and not like that one hyena who refused to put out his cigar in a church until someone asked him in English (Yup. True story).  If there’s a crowd, they may prompt you with an “et pour Monsieur/Madame.” But the French think it’s rude to define personal interaction solely on the basis of a financial “transaction. . . .”

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“How to Rent an Apartment in Paris”

“How to Rent an Apartment in Paris”

by Kate Betts via “Travel + Leisure”

“Last fall I was struggling to finish writing a book about Paris, a memoir recalling five years in the early 1990’s when I lived and worked in the great city on the Seine as a reporter for Women’s Wear Daily, the fashion trade publication. My editor was kind enough to give me an extension when my deadline whizzed by in September. “Go to Paris,” she said. “It will put you in the mood.” Paris is always a good idea, of course. . . . “

Don’t forget that there are other ways to find housing than relying on that which the school supplies such as finding a local apartment; and often schools are overcharged for rooms so it is frequently cheaper to make other arrangements. Just something to keep in mind 🙂