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.


·         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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