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
- 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.