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Appalling street harassment in Paris

(18 Posts)
jezestbelle Sun 16-Aug-15 10:43:00

Ok already tried to post so abridged version. A friend and I are on a weekend away in Paris and while almost age immune being nearly 50 ourselves have witnessed some appalling treatment of women. Men openly photographing young.girl on the metro, a young Polish woman in tears in a cafe when we asked what was wrong said 2 men had been following her for 20mins shouting what they were going to do to her. American student ca 23 at hotel says she no longer goes out alone at all as she had so many bad experiences. We "only" had a waiter ignore us then be all surly, something I didn't understand but not v pleasant sounding shouted from a restaurant by a tout and some inappropriate staring at my beshorted friend's legs on the metro. But I have been shocked at whay I've heard and my fragile friend recovering from a divorce has been affected. I want to take her somewhere else to make up for it. Stunning and no doubt by now smugnI told you so 21yo Dd warned us off P, reckons Dublin is the only place she got zero hassle and she was there 6 months on placement. I would go but am thinking weather there in Oct unlikely to be great. Any other ideas of female friendly cities or indeed ones to avoid?

jezestbelle Sun 16-Aug-15 13:50:39

Anyone there?

Awholelottanosy Sun 16-Aug-15 13:55:43

Every single time I've been to Paris, I've been sexually harassed by men on the street, it's been the worst place I've ever been to for that. I don't know what it is about the culture there but it's appalling. Berlin is a great city, been there 3 times and never had any harassment there.

LynetteScavo Sun 16-Aug-15 13:57:35

TBH, I think you got particularly unlucky, but having lived in Paris and London, I would say Paris is much worse for such harassment - in fact I've never experienced any harassment in London at all.

I'm not sure about other cities, though. Hopefully someone else can help. For some reason I imagine Iceland or Sweeden should be pretty safe bets.

Alicekeach Sun 16-Aug-15 14:00:17

I've been to Paris about 10 times from age 23 upwards and have never had this problem. Which area are you in?

jezestbelle Sun 16-Aug-15 14:04:13

Staying on quai voltaire centre

uggmum Sun 16-Aug-15 14:04:59

I've just come back from Paris. I didn't see any harassment of women. I went to all the tourist spots and the metro
We also received excellent service in shops and restaurants. Mind you, I will always ask for a table and order in French. This usually goes down well as the French like it if you make an effort.
The only people that did approach me were bogus charity collectors and street sellers. They can be a nuisance and are very pushy. But you need to be really firm with them and tell them to go away (in French).
Apart from that you need to keep your wits about you. It's like any city really.
However, Paris is extremely well policed and very clean.

Childintime Sun 16-Aug-15 14:06:29

It doesn't seem to have changed in 30 years , I went as a 16 year old and was harassed like mad on the street - literally men were like flies round s**t , I had to keep moving constantly otherwise men would talk to you , follow you ask to go with them , and I was a very young looking teen. London has noticeably changed since then , I remember being the same age in London and getting my bum felt in a shop but that was an isolated incident and having lived in London for 25 years never had problems on the street, neither my 23 year old daughter . I remember Amsterdam and Belgium are lovely places to visit without constant fear of hassle -, even in the late 90's when I last visited either. Good luck and hope you both recover from this horrible experience x

Childintime Sun 16-Aug-15 14:08:13

*23 year old daughter? - 13 I mean!

LynetteScavo Sun 16-Aug-15 14:29:53

Childintime - I was just trying to do the maths on that one! grin

PrimalLass Sun 16-Aug-15 14:35:21

My friend lived there 20 years ago and tells awful stories of this.

Alicekeach Sun 16-Aug-15 14:46:26

Like Uggmum, I speak French (rusty A level, not fluent). Maybe that's why I've never had problems. Rome, on the other hand, was a complete nightmare for harassment...

KnitFastDieWarm Sun 16-Aug-15 14:50:59

I've travelled extensively all over the world and I've never felt physically unsafe in any city other than Paris. In a three day visit I had to physically intervene in a mugging at a cash machine, was spat on, and was followed on the metro. Told the police and they shrugged and walked off. It's a shame because it's a beautiful city, but I don't ever want to go back.

chrome100 Fri 11-Sep-15 15:21:42

I lived in Paris in my early twenties (ten years ago now) and had so much hassle from men. If I even dared stop and sit down on a bench they'd all sidle up out of the woodwork. Awful.

fruitlovingmonkey Fri 11-Sep-15 15:43:51

This used to be a big problem in Milan but it doesn't seem to be bad anymore. To be totally safe from harassment, I would recommend Denmark, Norway or Sweden (Finland might also be a good option, but I've never been).

PosterEh Fri 11-Sep-15 15:47:24

This has been my experience of Paris too.

Would second Dublin and Berlin.

PeterParkerSays Fri 11-Sep-15 15:57:57

I'd agree about the speaking french thing. I've seen how two tables of British women (2 per table) were treated differently because one table could speak good french and the other not at all - the non-French speaking table got verbally bludgeoned into odering a meal they didn't really want and which was expensive.

The harassment thing can be tiring - I've been in southern France with a friend when she stopped to put extra sun cream on her shoulders and decoletage, the number of men in their 60s who appeared out of the woodwork to make slimy comments was unbelievable.

Patapouf Mon 26-Oct-15 22:19:39

Having lived in both Paris and London I can safely say that there are shitty men in both cities. I actually feel safer in Paris and I don't think it has anything to do with speaking French. Men who are being verbally abusive/ following you won't stop just because you tell them to fuck off in a language they understand.

There are parts of Paris I'd rather not go to alone in the same way there are places in London that are dodgy. Perhaps there's something about British culture that makes men less brazen.

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