Friday, February 12, 2010

One Euro, One Euro

The fellows who sell Eiffel Tower trinkets are almost iconic as the tower itself. They are everywhere at the base of the tower, down the Champs de Mars, along the Pont d'Iena, and up the hill to the Palais de Chaillot. And they will not stop haranguing you with their cries of "one euro, one euro" even if you avert your eyes and keep walking. It's not clear to me whether they are illegal immigrants or illegal vendors or both but when the police come, they run and run fast.

Over a year ago, I tried to snap a photo of one vendor and he yelled at me something fierce, demanding that I delete the picture of him. I was too freaked out to quibble. But the other day, I was able to catch this photo from my seat on the bus where no one was paying attention to what I was doing. I'd rather have this for a souvenir than one of those ticky tacky towers anyway. And never fear, I don't think the authorities are monitoring my blog for evidence of miscreants.

I also once tried to engage one of these vendors as to how many keychains he sold on a good day. But either his French or mine was creating a problem and I never could make myself understood. One thing's for sure: that's one tough way to make a living.


The Good Life in Virginia said...

thinking maybe illegal aliens ???

Suburban Princess said...

They are in every country - I think I saw those same guys in Morocco and Mexico!

PigletinFrance said...

I couldn't get over how many of them there were when I visited!

I went to Cambodia two years ago and a lot of children are used to sell the trinkets there. They could ask us to buy in several languages, including French, English and German. It was dreadful to see how they are exploited.

I think a lot of these guys are "pimped"?

Anonymous said...

I bought some little Eiffel Tower keychains for a French teacher friend of mine to give to her students as prizes. I purchased about 30 of them from a man set up near the Moulin Rouge (I'd been scouting for the best price!) I worked up the courage to explain to him in French why I was buying so many. He gave me a blank stare and took my money. Either he didn't care (likely), didn't understand my French(more likely!), or perhaps didn't speak much French himself!

Starman said...

I actually got a good bargain from one of these guys. I
He was pestering me to buy his scarves, so I bargained him down to five euro. They were selling everywhere in the city for ten or more.

Cameron (Defining Your Home) said...

When we got off the Batobus to the Eiffel Tower in May last year, I just couldn't handle being around so many hawkers. We left the chaos and walked through to Rue Cler and kept walking until we got to the Rodin Museum!

We had been up the tower before on previous trips, so we just skipped it because of these guys. They are running people off by being there.


Virginia said...

THose guys make me insane. I put on my best French game face, hold up my hand and say "NON!". I too learned that they hate their photos taken so now if they continue I hold up my camera and they split after they've thrown a few curse words my way. I"m not sure French is their first language if you know what I mean.

And I think they must make a good living or there wouldn't be one zillion of them around la Tour day and night!

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