Like most popular monuments and tourist attractions the world over, the Eiffel Tower has its fair share of pickpockets surrounding the structure and it is best to be aware of any potential scams before visiting. Having said this, the majority of people who come to the Tower leave with their belongings unscathed and it is no more dangerous than any other crowded tourist destination, but it is sensible to keep a close watch on your bags and purses nonetheless. Things to look out for include:
- Watch out for pickpockets on the stairwells of the Eiffel Tower. These are narrow and can often be packed with people, making it easy for thieves to bang into you, steal your belongings without your noticing and move on into the crowds easily.
- Be careful outside the Métro for Champs de Mars – gangs of pickpockets merge into the crowds, especially by the road crossing, and help themselves to people’s personal items in the throng.
- Don’t accept ‘free’ roses or any other kind of trinket from sellers roaming the ground level of the Tower, as they are likely to demand money once you have accepted whatever they are offering.
- There are scam artists working at the base of the Tower, from beggars with fake injuries to more accomplished pickpockets. Popular scams include the women who give you cards asking for money before distracting you and stealing your possessions, and the ‘gold ring’ scam whereby someone will offer you a gold ring before asking for money – it may sound hard-hearted, but the best thing is to ignore any strangers who approach you with unusual requests or trying to sell you souvenirs!
- Once on the actual Tower platforms, don’t let your guard down – these can get extremely crowded and tourists have reported having their bags and wallets stolen on the viewing platforms, in the buffet areas and in the bathroom queues.