A Tour of Paris Down the Seine (and the “gold ring” scam)

Ciao Readers!

Well, I think I have shared with you most of the highlights from our recent trip to Paris and Amsterdam.  Today I tie-up the few loose ends by taking you on a boat bus tour down the Seine, so we can wave to the famous monuments from our (too cold) seats on the Batobus.

Before we embark on our boat tour though, we have to reach the Orsay museum, where we will be picking up the boat at one of its many stops.  In order to reach the Orsay, we took a tram and then had to cross a famous park (the Tuileries) (lovely in nice weather). Lest you think I see Paris with only rose-colored glasses, in the time it took us to cross the park (pictured below), we were hit up by the “gold ring” scam 3 times!  It was so ridiculous that it happened three times in as many minutes that all I could do was laugh hysterically (no offense to our intended scammers…well, maybe a bit).  For those of you not familiar with this scam (which has been going on since at least 2008 when we first visited), it goes like this: you see someone appear to pick up something off the ground and then “realize” that lo and behold they have just found a valuable gold ring!  They then offer you the ring (sometimes just as a “friendly gesture,” sometimes clearly in exchange for money), and after you take hold of it, you are hounded down for compensation until you fork some over.  As I have recently told a friend whose daughter is traveling to Europe – don’t accept anything from strangers here (there is no such thing as a free gift here – be it Paris or Florence).  This stands in stark contrast to what both we and my friend have experienced in Japan – many wonderful gifts given freely (and if you tried to offer compensation it would be seen as a terrible insult).  In any case, the moral here is 1) don’t fall for scams anywhere in Europe and 2) I lost my rose-colored glasses [literally and figuratively] a while back…

Okay, now that we’ve passed the gauntlet of ring temptation (nowhere near Tolkien-esque), we’re ready for that boat ride I promised!

Much like the boat service in Amsterdam, the Batobus runs past most of the major tourist sites in Paris, and you can hop-on hop-off as much as you like for the duration of your pass (you can actually buy an entire year pass for only 60 euros).  In addition to a means of transportation, you get to see all of the major sites through the glass enclosure that is your boat.  The day we took this boat ride it was a low of 23 degrees and a high of 27; we were hoping for a nice warm boat like we had in Amsterdam, but this one was barely heated if at all.  As you can see, it was so cold outside that there were icicles hanging off the boat!   Since we were freezing and my toe had had enough, we didn’t get off at many stops.  We did disembark to see Notre Dame, but after seeing the line outside (surprising for a freezing February day), we just admired the outside (we’ve been inside on a previous trip).  I suppose this gray day matched our mood as it was the last day of a wonderful (and delicious) vacation…

That, dear Readers, ends our “diversions to other places”…  for now!  Thanks, as always, for coming along!

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