Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Gypsies Tramps and Thieves and a Couple of Drunks in Bairritz

A little more of 'hidden' Paris. Well perhaps not so hidden but one thing that we don't see much of here are hawkers, beggers, aggressive street vendors. In Paris they're everywhere from addicts on trains with their rote speil begging to feed their kids or their addiction to ferals with packs of dogs protecting their few belongings while they beg.  Of course there's the street life from prostitutes and peep shows to drug dealers and gypsies, all out for something. It's a colourful world on the streets for 'one Euro, one, Euro, one Euro" or simply kneeling on the sidewalk hoping someone will fill your cup.





Artists in Montmarte accost the tourists for portraits outside Sacre Coer, they're all good, very good but can be a little intimidating if you're not interested. This one however just tended his easel in the hope of a sale.


Hawkers are everywhere plying their mini Eiffel Towers, silk scarves, bottles of water, they're persistent and their product cheap but illegal. This is one of tens constantly haranguing the queues at the Eiffel Tower. Two days later they were seen off during a bomb scare. I'm sure they're back!




A slightly more wholesome crew playing Ah Ha's "Take On Me" in St Germaine. The crowd were there for the kid but I'm not sure he was actually playing. Still, cute overload and they sounded great.




The drug dealer and his posse on the corner of Rue St Denis, I watched many a trade here and he became the subject of a recent piece of fiction.



Addicts. This one sitting at the Arc de Triomphe still with his cone and lighter in hand having a conversation with an army of invisibles while others seem to find him invisible.





Gypsies at the Eiffel Tower, approach and ask if you speak English. If you do, they unravel their piece of white paper explaining why they need your money.  Say you don't and they race off with a devout purpose to fleece someone who does, usually Americans.




The Champs Elysees is indeed a busy street, far to busy to notice this woman who remained bent and wooden for the 2 hours we were there and probably many more after we'd long since left. It's heartbreaking and I have no idea why they beg.




Another street 'artist' cutting sillhouettes near the Place du Concorde




He might be down and out but he clearly feeds these guys regularly, they saw him coming a mile away.








On the street where we lived. New Sex Centre because old sex is so last Tuesday.


Looks like a bum but no. That's just Werner my Biarritz drinking buddy,  drunk falling off a wall.  Clare had to hold my hand home . . what a night.  Er, no the dog was sober.

Sorry for the infrequency of visiting, my internet has decided to be unavailable until at least 9:30 at night. New provider coming on board this weekend so hopefully things will be a little more stable (famous last words!)

27 comments:

hokgardner said...

Interesting look at Paris.

River said...

Lovely photos Baino. I'm really enjoying visiting Paris through you.

Roy said...

Well, there's a side of Paris that doesn't get documented much! Leave it to you to show us the seedier view of the City of Lights. Heh, heh!

Brian Miller said...

ha. so he fell down first right? i honestly think this side of life is vry interesting...that which many dont want to see...

laughingwolf said...

seamy sights, indeed...

wv: obsesser

Boom Boom Larew said...

Thanks for the look into the real Paris. Looks like you had fun on your pub crawl!

kj said...

YOU and your camera are INCREDIBLE!!!!

these shots are totally damn awesome. i was hooked after the introduction and the photos did not disappoint. what a bird's eye view, hells.

you can post these pictures until the cows come home and i'll be salivating over each one.

i don't know why i want to tell you to delete the shot of the drug dealer after this post has run its course, but i do. just cuz i love you.

Janice said...

A different take on Paris, that's for sure. I especially liked the touching shot of the pigeon feeder.

Tom said...

oh my...not sure i want to visit paris after all that. Well, looks like you made a cute little friend...did you want to take him home?

Mmm said...

that praying, bent over stiff woman is so curious to me. Tragic,yes, all these beggars--so many from the affects of addiction. Very sad. I have heard about some of the feecing that goes on there. one has to relaly keep one's guard up.

Isn;t it amazing too the number of artists tehre, so many so talented adn yet barely surviving?

So, Baino, is that you again on the bottom here? and will we be reading some of that fiction about the drug dealer? couldn't tell if you wrote it or some article there?

hope rest of trip goes well. thank you too for your kind words the other post back on my blog. you are very caring indeed and i was truly touched.

Perpetual Chocoholic said...

A sad side of Paris. The puppy's cute though!

At least Werner Dumpty didn't break....did he;-)

blackwatertown said...

Brilliant photos. I love Paris.

Kath Lockett said...

Wow.... you've shown me a side of Paris that I *know* exists (as it does here in Melbourne with a lot of the drug and begging stuff happening in my own suburb) but it's still gut wrenchingly sad.

Despite this, and I hope I don't sound like an evil old bag here, you have to press on and amongst your photos of desperation are beauty and humour. I *love* the way you 'see' things Baino and we readers are lucky you share them with us.

Isabella Golightly said...

In Milano, the gypsy girls wanted 1E for showing us which button displayed the English instructions on the metro ticket machine. They certainly understood "bugger off", because they did. Nice pics.

otin said...

I love how you showed the real city and not just the glitz!

Kate Hanley said...

I was 15 when I first visited Paris with a school group and a friend got her wallet stolen by a group of kids. A woman shunned them off and then left quickly. Turns out, the kids and woman were working together. The kids handed the wallet to the woman (who had left) and when we questioned the kids, they had nothing. Ah Paris! There are some good parts though!

Bimbimbie said...

Those illegal hawkers were a real problem in December - we were amazed that the legal traders put up with them. The old ladies begged like that in the snow, we had an old guy come up behind us pointing to his mouth and stomach. For some reason it was easier to wave the young ones off but a few coins often got tossed in the direction of the oldies.

Loved the bird feeder*!*

Megan said...

The streets (and walls) sure are a lot cleaner than they are in downtown L.A., but many of the sights are the same.

The little horn player is quite a cutie but now I'm going to have that song in my head the rest of the night!

Boo hiss at your internet woes! Hope it gets straightened soon!

nick said...

We don't have any street vendors in Belfast either, apart from the odd Eastern European selling copies of Big Issues (the magazine sold by the homeless). A lot of the drug dealing seems to be done off-street. Even most of the street stalls have been banished.

It's always shocking even if understandable that people in a bad way are simply ignored by most passers-by.

Miles McClagan said...

Man, the beggars in Paris...

I had heaps on the train - mostly middle class kids with nice shoes. Hard to ignore them, chancers...

We don't have any visible beggars in Scotland. Not that I saw...

Candie Bracci said...

Nice post Helen!:)

Ropi said...

Are you smoking? As we say in Hungary: ejnye bejnye!

e said...

Interesting eye...sorry your internet has gone wonky again...

Nancy said...

My friend who visited Paris years ago with his wife swears this is true.

On their last night in Paris , they only had a few francs left so decided to spend the evening in their hotel instead of going out.

The wife decided to window shop a little in the hotel area and left her husband in the room. About a half hour later my he got a call from the police that his wife had been picked up in a "Sweep" of prostitutes and was in the local lock up.

He went there immediately and they explained to him that prostitution was legal but you had to have a license or pay a fine. He asked," How much is the fine?" "500 francs",they answered. He didn't have that much so he asked "How much is a license?" "A license is 300 francs."

Long story short, my churchlady friend is a pillar of society here and a licensed prostitute in Paris.

jeannette said...

Oh, and the gypsies by the Eiffel tower were pretty annoying. We were 2 hours waiting for hubby and son to do the stairs tour.
They even wanted my cookies that I was eating. Mu toddler instincts surfaced once again and I told her "No, they're mine." and kept the cookies hidden from then on!

Ces said...

Ah a trip of a lifetime for you. Every picture captures your happy adventure!

jay said...

Ah, I do love this type of travel blog - the seamy side of life!

I can't believe the gendarmerie allow the addicts and beggars and aggressive street vendors to operate freely! Don't they even try to stop them?

We saw plenty of illegal street vendors and beggars in Italy, too, but the difference there is that in Italy it's not just them that get fined if you buy. YOU get fined as well! At least, I think France is different?