I lived in Paris for three years, and I did a lot of street photography -- never had a problem. Do watch out for scam artists who will try to take advantage of your presumed greed: you'll see someone walking toward you suddenly bend to the ground and come up holding a gold ring in their hand. They'll ask you if it is yours, or what they should do with it, the whole idea being that somehow they are "willing" to give you the seemingly expensive gold ring for a relatively small sum of money. Of course, the ring is fake, the scam artist palmed the ring that was never on the ground, etc. I used to just keep walking right past them.
Yep, gat caught with that one. Near the Eiffel Tower. Was a bit nonplussed when we offered a modest reward to be abused that "she couldn't even buy a Coke with that!".
My wife and I will be in Paris for 10 days starting next week. We have never travelled abroad before and I am a little nervous about upsetting the locals with my camera. I've heard scare stories about tourists like myself being hassled by the local cops for taking pictures of street scenes. Is there anything to this?
If there is, what is the best strategy to get my pictures and not get hassled. If there is nothing to the stories, I'd like to hear that too.
No problems. Be sensible, courteous, and friendly, and don't try to emulate Bruce Gilden or whatever his name is. Don't use a tripod. Learn just a few words of French if you can - even enough to say "Pardon me, I only speak a little French - could we speak in English if you please?" Remember you're a visitor, not introducing them to American-style democracy. Walk where you can - don't even think about a car. I noticed your name includes Schwinn. If you're a cyclist there are bicycle hire stains all over (if you're ready to brave the traffic). Use the Metro to cover distances greater than you care to walk. It's a bit daunting the first time but we got a couple of Apps for the iPhone with maps of the Metro and a French-English-French phrase translator and we had a ball. Embrace the food and the culture. The French eat smaller quantities than you may be used to - you don't see many obese French people - but the food is exquisite.
Never been hassled in Paris, been there for every year for the past 15 years.
Paris is a beautiful and very photogenic city. Try to show (and have) respect for the french and their accomplishments and you won't have any problems. If you want to eat a lot for a relatively small price got to one of the moroccans Restaurants near the larger Railwaystations and order some Couscous.
If a man is playing guitar on the park, and has his case open for donations, don't even think about taking his picture with a professional level camera without throwing five or ten dollars in that case. It's poor taste to photograph a beggar you've not helped.