women in france


WOMEN IN FRANCE: staying safe

Women often attract unwanted attention, but need not walk around in fear; people are rarely assaulted on the street. The plain fact of the matter is that if a French man finds a woman attractive, he looks at her overtly. Rarely is this preparatory to anything more significant than a man admiring a beautiful woman; it's what French men do, even the very old ones who often can't remember why. But it can be disconcerting; you just need to be aware that it's likely to happen. Many French women appreciate the attention, so long as that is all it is.


YOU CAN HELP YOURSELF BY BEING AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGs AND OF PLACES THAT COULD BE DANGEROuS

  • Avoid empty streets, isolated beaches, gloomy corners of train stations. Do not go out alone if you don't need to, especially at night in large cities.
  • Using metros late at night is generally not a problem, as stations are rarely deserted, but if you must use them at night, be vigilant, and stay in well lit areas.
  • In some places women may have to deal with low degrees of sexual harassment: ‘playful’ comments and innuendo. But it can become overbearing and aggressive, and many women understandably find this threatening or offensive. Remain polite and keep your distance, avoid saying anything; hearing a foreign accent may provoke further unwanted attention.
  • Be alert to discomforting vibes in some hotels. Change hotels if you feel uncomfortable.
  • On overnight trains, you may prefer to ask (when reserving) if there’s a women’s compartment available. If your compartment companions are overly attentive, don’t hesitate to ask the conductor for a change of compartment. Second-class sleeping cars offer greater security than a couchette.

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