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A day trip to France, solo, worried about being harassed?

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393 posts
57 reviews
A day trip to France, solo, worried about being harassed?


I am planning to (if I build the confidence in myself) go to France for a single day, so 6-7 hours (after taking into account the ferry crossing). I know it's nothing compared to the Asia/ Australasia trips I read about on this forum! But, it's my first one, I have always travelled with friends or family. I would just go around Nord (France department), so Calais, maybe catch the train out of town for a short while... Anyway, I have had a few drunks and not nice people approach me and my friends/ family, while going around in France, both in Nord and other areas, but this is what scares me, as I am alone and have nobody to call on for this sort of situation, so I can't ring or shout for a friend who's nearby. It's also the train journey, I have travelled on the train a number of times solo in the UK, in France, the trains can end up being old and run-down without CCTV and so on, so that also concerns me a little. Therefore, this is putting me off from booking my little trip, but I feel I NEED the experience. Suggestions? Thanks.

Edited: 19 September 2012, 01:19
San Diego
Destination Expert
for San Diego
Level Contributor
68,206 posts
72 reviews
1. Re: A day trip to France, solo, worried about being harassed?

I suppose if you hang out in bars you will meet drunk people!

My suggestion would be to spend time doing some interesting activities and not just drinking and you won't have any problems!!

NO one has ever bothered me in France.

Level Contributor
31,850 posts
69 reviews
2. Re: A day trip to France, solo, worried about being harassed?

Hmmn, I have been trying to help with, and following your thread on the France/Calais forum.

I think you are getting unduly worried about things that you don't need to worry about, frankly.

I am a lone female traveller in France on many occasions. True I have always had my own 'wheels' with me and not had to deal with trains much, or buses much (though I will park up and then use the local public transport or walk-it in the city....)

I cannot think of a time that I have had problems with drunks or threats, just walk off and leave them and don't 'engage' with such people is the best advice I can give.

You already know there is a bus from the Calais port into town, but you seem determined to walk it, even though that is a walk past the immirgrant camps you are so worried about.....

Calais to St Omer is a train trip of less than 1 hour, what difference does it make what kind of train it is?? Calais to Lille (which we then found out you wanted) is perhaps a bit longer of a train trip, but agin what difference does it make what kind of train it is?? Frankly if you are only planning on spending 6-7 hours in France, I doubt you will get that far.

Have you considered taking Eurostar from Ashford or Ebbsfleet to Lille?? That would negate a lot of your worries regarding, ferries, walking, trains etc, as the Eurostar trains are direct, one train from home to Lille and back, and no worries!!

Don't know what else to say really, good luck, EW

Nowy Sacz, Poland
Level Contributor
4,025 posts
42 reviews
3. Re: A day trip to France, solo, worried about being harassed?

I second the Lille recommendation - it's got a really nice city centre. Calais is not up to much - I like Boulogne much more, but if you want to get out of the ports anyway, I'd go for Lille.

England, United...
Destination Expert
for Somerset, Solo Travel, Exmoor National Park
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34,971 posts
111 reviews
4. Re: A day trip to France, solo, worried about being harassed?

I have had one experience like that while away. It is a bit unnerving when you are relaxed, happily on vacation and not expecting it. Have you thought of taking a personal alarm with you. I doubt you would need it but it might make you feel better just having it.

The sound should give them something else to think about & it does attract attention. Some are combined torches so 2 for 1.

London, United...
Destination Expert
for Solo Travel
Level Contributor
11,064 posts
28 reviews
5. Re: A day trip to France, solo, worried about being harassed?

The OP is male and therefore probably more a risk from drunks wanting to fight the "roastbif".

I agree that Calais is probably not the best place to go to test your solo wings. Paris or Lille would be more fun and the trains more crowded with a wide range of people. Travelling in the day or evening would be safer as well.

Late night brings out the drunks in England and probably in France as well.

You are right that you need to do this to gain the confidence you need for further travel, but use some common sense in what you chose to do.

Edited: 20 September 2012, 00:20
Destination Expert
for Kent, Solo Travel
Level Contributor
14,815 posts
141 reviews
6. Re: A day trip to France, solo, worried about being harassed?

Josh, as you live in Kent, I'd suggest a day trip on the Eurostar to Paris, rather than a day trip to Calais.

There are limited direct Eurostar train from Ashford International to Paris, and with a good guide book, you could have a taster day in Paris, and get the train home for the evening. The trains are very comfortable and fast.If you don't feel comfortable eating in a restuarant in France, you can have a good meal on the Eurostar.

If you live near Ebbsfleet you can pick up a high speed train to Ashford.

But if you are set on a day trip to Calais by ferry, then please be aware that

Calais is a smallish town, but has some wonderful sea food restaurants and buses direct to Cite Europe for shopping.

I would definately not recommend taking the ferry and then walking into Calais town. Not only is it a very long walk from the ferry port, but there is nothing really to see, except the industrial hinterland of a major freight port. The buses that link the ferry ports to the town centre are fast and frequent.

Sadly there are drunks everywhere. But if you are travelling to and from France in just a few hours, and you are not travelling back late at night, there is little chance that you will encounter the late night crowd who may be causing you concern.

You may feel more confident travelling in France if you can learn some basic "holiday" French from tapes/books or evening courses at a local adult education centre.

7. Re: A day trip to France, solo, worried about being harassed?

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