Paris: The City of Love and Catcalls

December 14, 2010
france, men, study abroad
Paris: The City of Love and Catcalls

Paris: The City of Love and Catcalls

While living in Spain, I had the opportunity to go on a girls getaway to Paris. Though it was not the romantic getaway I hope to have someday with a significant other, I was still looking forward to it.

I read several guidebooks and online resources to figure out the best plan of attack for the city. My friend Sara and I decided to do touristy stuff during the day: to visit the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, etc. and then let our friend, Carly show us the best restaurants, little bars and exciting clubs at night. In my research, I noticed several small paragraphs specifically geared to women travelers, but wasn’t truly worried.

Why should I have been? I had just gotten back from Italy, home of the over-aggressive male, completely unscathed. It seemed like the golden rule of traveling in Europe, “don’t be stupid,” would keep me safe and sound.

Paris: The City of Love and Catcalls

After perhaps one of the best culinary experiences of my life at Le Refuge des Fondues, up the hill in Montmartre, Sara, Carly, her friend Alex, and I all headed to Rue Princesse, a cobblestone street in St. Germain packed with bars, pubs and people. In spite of the outrageous drink prices, it was a great scene.

The bars all had their own touch: stone walls, ancient, low ceilings, which gave it the “cellar” look, and most of all, great people. Plus, at the end of the night, when things were getting blurry and we had spent almost all the euros allotted for the evening, cabs were easy to come by.

It seemed like the golden rule of traveling in Europe, “don’t be stupid,” would keep me safe and sound.

Carly, Sara, and I shared a cab home, but our fatal flaw, relatively speaking, was where we took the cab. Allow me to explain. Sara and I were staying in Le Village, a charming backpacker’s hostel at the foot of Montmartre. We could see Sacré Coeur from the terrace outside our room, everything was clean and comfortable, and it was a mere block away from the Anvers metro station.

Coming home that night, we directed the cab to stop at the Anvers station instead of directly at our hostel. The hostel would have been out of the way, and we didn’t mind walking. Big mistake. I found myself wishing I had read those seemingly insignificant paragraphs in my travel resources.

Paris: The City of Love and Catcalls

We heard whistles and catcalls, and a car full of Parisian men even pulled up right in front of us as we tried to cross the street. Blame it on the high heels, blame it on the neighborhood, but never did I think I would feel that threatened in a five-minute time-span.

On our last night, Charlotte brought us to Showcase, a famous nightclub located along the Seine beneath the Point des Champs-Elysées. While the venue was different, the men were extremely similar to those from the night before. I also learned that while the lines were long and the entrance fees expensive, and each demanded our cooperation lest the bouncers drag us away.

We heard whistles and catcalls, and a car full of Parisian men even pulled up right in front of us as we tried to cross the street.

I had almost given up on Paris: accepted it as a cold, unforgiving city full of pigs and discomfort until Sara and I got into the cab to go home. Talking to our cabdriver, we realized that while there is, indeed, the typical scoundrel on almost every corner, there are also kind, caring people like our driver, who are always willing to help.

While shockingly different from the comparatively tranquil city of Valencia, Paris definitely proved an important learning experience: one can never be too careful. Take the cab all the way to the door, albeit more cost effective to do otherwise, and DON’T think a charming smile will wave the line or entrance fee.

 

paris love and catcalls

Paris: The City of Love and Catcalls

Related Reading

A Would-be Local’s Guide to Paris
8 Unusual Things to Do Around Paris
Loving and Living in Paris
A Girl’s Guide to Blending in in Paris

Have you traveled to Paris, France? Email us at editor@pinkpangea.com to share your experience and advice with the Pink Pangea community. We can’t wait to hear from you.

About Jessica Fink

Jessica FinkJessica Fink, a Franklin & Marshall alumna, studied abroad in Valencia, Spain.

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