Paris 1973

Mistaken for Prostitutes in Paris

When I visited Paris with my high school French class we were mistaken for prostitutes and booked in a brothel by the travel agent. Do you see a common theme?

My roommates in Paris were my friend, Deb, and her mother, June, who chaperoned. June was — still is — very beautiful. She was fun but refined, and she dressed with elegance.

One evening, June wore a chic yellow jacket trimmed in white. She paired the jacket with white slacks and white boots. The three of us took a walk and explored the city. We found a quaint cafe and dropped in for dinner.

As we dined, sleazily dressed women in heavy makeup glared at us. We glanced at them, and we spoke in hushed voices because we felt threatened. I thought they were jealous because June looked stunning.

When we returned from dinner, we told our French teacher about the “ladies” with their angry stares. We learned that we had chosen a restaurant in a part of town known for prostitution. Leave it to us to venture into the wrong neighborhood.

Also, boots were a sign of prostitution in Paris. I suspect that the women in the restaurant thought that we were invading their territory and wanted us out.

During my high school French trip, not only were we mistaken for prostitutes, but the travel agent had booked us into a brothel.

Was someone trying to tell us something?


19 thoughts on “Mistaken for Prostitutes in Paris

  1. I only had to read the title to ask the question, “Just what kind of high school trip was this?” LOL!!!

  2. My travels always end up interesting like that. I do recall trying to find a hotel in Mexico for myself and a male and female friend and them telling us they had room but not for us. They hadtwo beds per room and I did not see the issue so I said fine one of us s will just get our own room and they said no again. Slowly I began to clue in that such things as love hotels existed and in places a few hours from home….and we had found such a place!

    So sadly the lesson is your brothel experience isn’t abnormal!

  3. Hahahaha – oops. We wandered through the red-light district in Paris at night, and let me tell you, it was pretty scary. I almost had to bust out my pepper spray on some persistent dudes.

    1. I believe that many of them wear boots especially thigh-high boots, but I don’t believe that if a woman wears boots today it is a sign of prostitution. Boots are fashionable.

  4. That sounds scary. I’m glad you and your friends are safe. I guess, we can find humor from our mistaken identities. Now I know which place to avoid when I visit Paris this July. Good thing I don’t wear make up. ha, ha, ha.

  5. Haha that is a great story. My parents would have freaked out if they found out I was staying in a brothel. It’s reasons like this why I am really thankful for the “culture orientation” class I had before studying abroad, because you never know what might be considered rude, or get you mistaken for a prostitute in another country!

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