France – Picnicking on the Champs de Mars – Below the Eiffel Tower

BY Beth Williams

It is obvious why so many locals and tourist alike prefer to picnic on the  Champs de Mars, especially when the weather is nice.  However, many tourists have been reporting issues with panhandlers selling items in excessive amounts.  The rising problem  seems to focus itself on the selling of begging, as well as selling alcohol and trinkets.  Several reports have also involved pickpocketing, as well as the theft of property from picnickers.  Prior travelers reported that there used to be one or two of these types of people that would accost you over the course of you evening on the Champ de Mars, however, now it seems that these types of annoyances are out in droves.

These individuals come in all ages, from kids 8 to 10, all the way to middle aged men and women. The kids have obviously been trained and they are supervised adults nearby that you may notice roaming around with absolutely no indication that they have a purpose there. The kids work in small groups to panhandle/pickpocket the people sprawled across the green. And they are very insistent. Their best technique is to distract you with one or two insistent members of their group, and another one will slip his or her little hand into a bag, purse or pocket and grab whatever is available.

In addition to the groups of children, there are men who sell Eiffel tower trinkets and junk, however, they seem to be less aggressive than the children.  What is annoying is that these adults will come over to you and shine their colored lights on you so you will notice them.

You will also find men walking around with buckets and backpacks selling beer and wine illegally to picnickers. Again, there used to be one or two, maybe four an evening, now you will find  dozens and they will solicited you every five minutes.


  • Do not carry much cash on you
  • Do not bring expensive cameras or electronics, and if you do bring a smartphone/cellphone, keep it zipped or snapped in a  secure place.
  • Ladies, keep your bag on your shoulder, or in your lap and wrap a handle around your arm or wrist. The thieves will come  close to you.
  • Picnic in small groups, you will be less of a target.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.

By following the tips above, you should be able to have a wonderful time enjoying your picnic under the Dame de Paris!