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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » Busking in Paris...advice? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Allan Given
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Hi everyone!

I'm going to be over in Paris for a week or so this summer and wanted to do some busking while I'm there. I'm wondering if anyone can give me any advice. I'm definitely thinking of hitting Centre Pompidou and Sacre Coeur, but I was curious what experiences any of you have had performing over there. How are the French Police, how do they view busking, any permits needed, etc, etc.

Thanks for any help!

Allan
The Mighty Fool
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The cops in Paris are some of the worst in the world when it comes to foreigners & tourists. One typical game they play is to scanm certain areas for student travellers who're sleeping on the street or near a club, pat them down in hopes of finding a swiss-army knife, and confiscate it as a weapon (which you're not allowed to carry on the streets of gay paree) and they then sell it to a pawn shop somewhere later.

Like in London, busking on the streets of Paris is illegal without a permit of some sort, but UNlike in London, the Gendarmes in Paris DO actively look for it. I know one busker who told me the following: He was performing (juggling) and the cops came walking by a number of times, stopped, watched, then waved & smiled at him, so he figured all was well. After a pretty decent hat had been made... THEN the gendarmes swooped in, gave him a stern talking to, and confiscated the money, along with the hats (De Gaul of those people!) The last time I was there was 1998, and with the current feelings between the US & that bathing-optional country being what they are, I severly doubt it's gotten any better.

I think your best bet is to find out when the next German invasion / conquest of France is scheduled for, then go & try your luck.
Everybody wants to beleive.....we just help them along.
Roland Henning
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Kiel, Germany
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I did my show in front of Notre Dame. Nobody tried to stop me. I was there for at least two hours. Maybe I was just lucky. Even at the Eiffeltower nobody was there to stop me.

I saw some jugglers in front of the Centre George Pompidu (I hope I spellt that correctly)
MattTheKnife
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I had similar experiences to Roland. I didn't have a permit but I may have just gotten lucky (this was back in the Summer of 2000... I have no clue if that matters or not, but I'm just tossing the date in there to show that I don't have a clue as to how it is five years later).

At the time I just sort of set up shop with what may have been a blatant disregard of the law but no one seemed to be made unpleasant by it so I just went about with my trade craft.

If you do it though then be sure to let us know how it all pans out for ya.

Cheers,
-Matt (TK)
Werner G. Seitz
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The few times I've been to Paris as a tourist, I always was lucky to enjoy the street-performance of a few artists, and I never saw any of them getting into trouble with the police..
OTOH, I didn't spot any policeofficer at the places they where working..
Learn a few things well.....this life is not long enough to do everything.....

( Words of wisdom from Albert Goshman ...it paid off for him - it might
as well for YOU!!!- My own magic is styled after that motto... Smile )
DAK
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Centre Pompidou is smilar to Covent Garden in the UK ie street perfromers are part and parcel of that place, however I'm not sure if like Covent Garden you need a license to perform there.

When I was in Paris last year I saw a group of Morris Dancers get moved on by Police outside Notre Dame! They didn't seem to be alowing any performing there.

If you decide t give it a try let us know how it goes!!! Smile

Kindest Regards

DAK
Kondini
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If you go to the French Markets and see the gaffer, explain what you do and you will be made most welcome.
I have worked the markets in both Paris and Italy,can only sing their praises and when the same markets do the UK run mainly in the winter, it offers even more work.
If you travel to the outer regions in France and want to set up, then this is also easy to operate. See the local Mayor,I have yet to receive a negative and once more on market days hats or buckets are pretty full.
The spin off to this is the private bookings that can be picked up along the way.On one occassion I worked a Café with close-up (I am no close-up magician)Doing dice stacking and card work only, at that time it worked out at 8 franks to the pound and I was clearing around £30 an hour,,not huge money but I was on holiday as well so all was a bonus and such fun.

I stayed away from the main Tourist spots in Paris after seeing a busker being man handled by the gun toteing police, they showed no quarter and were oblivious to the crowds who had gathered to watch their display.
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