“Uh oh,” fell out my lips.
My adventures in Paris hadn’t gone to plan – and now we found ourselves opposite several stern-looking riot police, who were glaring directly at us. Like a row of armour-plated goths on a hot August day.
I turned behind us, and this collective amount of French badassery were actually glaring at a protest! An ensemble of delirious looking French people, complete with a conga line, were making a very loud ruckus.
Apparently the French government were paying these workers the same money, but making them do a lot more work for it. The French weren’t to keen on these employment changes – some protests were getting violent about the prospect about having to work more than a 35 hour work week
I scoffed. Having worked 37.5 hours a week for the past year, I felt like a superhero.
The protest seemed fun, with with so many colourful characters dancing around and making a cacophony of noise. However, my friend was striding off to go to the vegan cafe, not at all interested in the bubbling action that was going on.
After dinner, we into a mini Carre-Forre (Paris’s version of Tesco Metro, without the forthright Self-Service voice, tirade of gormless workers in blue shirts and horse meat (this is France though.)) I popped into McDonalds and my friend, a vegan, glared at me with menace. Things weren’t going well between us.
We thought maybe we could have some fun courtesy of the more wild avenues of Paris. We were staying a mere 5 minutes away from the Moulin Rouge, which encompassed their very own Red Light District.
We had a curious nose around some shops, advertised as being ‘naughty’. When I think of the word ‘naughty,’ I think of taking 3 Jaffa Cakes when offered, instead of the moral amount of 1.
Frenchy ‘naughty’ was something else. Imagine Ann Summers without the cute teasey marketing and sometimes awkward customer service. The things I saw on sale in thi shop will be forever ingrained in my memory. Grannies in latex. Dildos the size of bowling pins. Spiked chastity devices,
I also discovered what a bukkake is. It turns out it’s not a foreign cuisine.
There were several doors which led to enclosed dark, tiny rooms with TV units, headphones and seats. Whatever videos were played in these mysterious booths, it couldn’t be any worse than enduring The One Show.
My friend was trying on 9 inch killer heels in the window, their colour an offensively bright pink, a staggering €90. She was to busy galloping around the shop to notice a sinister looking sales assistant.
His eyes lit up like a cop spotting a donut. He remarked how beautiful she looked. He gawped lovingly, looking like he was about to drool a little. He helped her wiggle a foot into a ghastly tartan coloured high heel.
I had a peruse at the till. There was a free ball gag available with every €50 spent. I backed away and almost tripped over a lengthy gimp suit.
I heard a jangle of a belt. The sales assistant appeared and was fastening up his trousers!
“Toilet,” he explained.
I wanted out. This was getting to creepy. And I’ve been to Boscombe.
Upon my joyous exit, we turned a corner to find ourselves down a catacomb of strip joints. We spotted the aptly named Le String Club. Despite us both appreciating the female form, I still do not know why this was a good decision.
As we walked through the doors, a woman, attempting to look seductive, said to us,
“You come in for ze dance? Just €10 each?
Which drink do you want – whisky or beer?”
We didn’t really fancy a drink. I’m an eat-out and drink tap water guy – how I survive our tough economic climate. We were ushered inside a room behind a dusty maroon curtain. Inhabited by about 20 chairs, we were the only ones there.
We were again asked ,’Whisky or Beer?’ We figured that the beverage offered came with her incoming dance, so we said Whisky. She returned, and plonked the two of the most watered down whiskies onto the table. I feel there was less alcohol in it than a can of shandy.
The dancer then slowly began to remove her clothes, to reveal a tangerine coloured bikini that didn’t leave much to the imagination. She prowled across the room like an excitable kitten. She then began to wither her body in an attempt to entice and enchant us, but it looked like she was awkwardly making out with the wall. I couldn’t get over the sheer amount of orange she was almost wearing.
The music suddenly stopped and then she sleeked away back to the entrance. Was I meant to clap? Or hit a golden buzzer?
We looked at each other, unsure what was going on. We drank the watered whiskies. Mr Jack Daniels would be disgusted.
Abruptly, an obese stripper appeared from the front and started to dance. I wasn’t sure what to look at, but I began to question my heterosexuality. I’d never seen so much silicone in my life. She spoke to us, her eyes hungry for Euro’s.
“€350 to come downstairs. You girlfriend and boyfriend?
You look maybe you can touch? We have bottle of champagne to share.
You come downstairs yeah and you get ze private dance?”
We declined, yet she continued to ask. The novelty of seeing a Strip Club had long since simmered. As we were about to leave, a burly man – that resembled an angry animal -appeared in the doorway. “You buy drinks now.”
I said, “We’re okay, we’ve had one already.”
Perplexed where he had come from, I we had not seen him before in the World’s tiniest Strip Club. He then opened a menu and shone a torch on the drinks page. “You got whisky.”
Glancing innocently at the menu illuminated by torchlight, it said €50. Each!
“100 Euro!” The bouncer demanded. He blocked the entrance door.
I had no money on me. We both were completely confused. It turned out that the non-whiskies weren’t part of the entry fee.
“€100 for the two whisky,” he said, with the regimented look of a badly paid Algebra teacher who hates his class. He flicking the torch over the menu again, like he’d uncovered buried treasure.
“Uhh…. Do you take card?”
“No, cash,” he said, menacingly.
My friend had the Euros’s in her purse to pay for both of our escapes. They let us leave with our bones intact. She asked me to buy her the awful pink shoes for my share of the rescue money.
I was really annoyed. My friend simply retorted that they have to make a living somehow! My pride had received a walloping over losing money on the most expensive drink ever. I felt like I needed more of it drown my sorrows, perhaps I should’ve gone back in and spent my life savings on a full round of water whisky.
I found reviews on Trip Advisor which said that customers had been threatened with weapons and violence. Dancers would grab champagne from the bar, and start drinking whilst working. Later on the customer finds out he/she is to be charged for this, and a €400+ bill is produced. They’d end up being frogmarched to the cash point to pay up and be possibly hit with a baseball bat.
Turns out the whole area is a bit of a tourist trap, and links to the Mafia and police corruption were rife. So we were remarkably lucky compared to other tourists who made it home penniless and passportless. They are a few horror stories in the one star section here.
I managed to claw an hours sleep after this ordeal, which was all I was allowed due to an early morning flight. We stumbled into the opening hours of pre-sunrise France. It was quite nice to see the various different shops preparing for a busy day, with the smell of patisseries wafting into the crisp 5am air.
At the airport, the French didn’t like the fact I had a tiny tube of Toothpaste and some Lynx Delta spray in my bag. It was quite awkward to have my bag ransacked and probed, luckily I didn’t purchase the ball gag from the shop we went to yesterday.
I kissed my friend goodbye. I never saw her again. I ended up with the pink stiletto platform heels. They weren’t my size, so I sold them on eBay for £3.50.
I rejoiced at the National Express coach journey home. I had only received about 10 hours sleep over the previous 3 nights. I fell into a much-needed slumber and dreamt about all my bloody awful adventures in Paris. Vote below 🙂
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