Paris gets tough on beggars in popular tourist areas

Paris is one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in the world, throughout all seasons and nonetheless at Christmas.


Luxury designer stores make up much of Paris’ famous Champs Elysées, along with lavish restaurants and theatres.


However, stop for more than a minute to admire a glamorous window display and you cannot fail to notice a homeless person, asking for money or simply displaying a sign saying ‘hungry’. This stark visual contrast highlights the very real issue of the disparity between the rich and poor.


Campaigners have demanded action to change France’s dire housing situation but Sarkozy chooses to ignore the problem and declare war on the beggars.


A number of decrees have been issued banning beggars from pestering shoppers and tourists in many popular spots around Christmas. Critics have said that this is Sarkozy’s way of getting rid of Roma and Gypsies but Sarkozy argues that this is just his way of dealing with begging ‘delinquents’ linked to criminal gangs.


Beggars can now face arrest and ironically, fines if they are found to be loitering or begging along the Champs Elysées or around the famous Galeries Lafayette and Printemps department stores, as well as the Louvre and the Tuileries Gardens.


Article by Lauren Probert