Paris sex tourism

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This essay focuses on the intersections of tourism, war, and erotics in occupied Paris during the Second World War. Too frequently, tourism is considered a only peacetime phenomenon. War, however, can produce its own tourism, as was true of German soldiers in occupied Paris during the Second World War. A specially deated unit of the Wehrmacht arranged tours for thousands of its young soldiers, many of whom had never before left their native towns and villages.

Their time in Paris, a city with an already established imaginary of sensuality, opened ly undreamed of possibilities for sexual adventures both imagined and real. The many relationships between German soldiers and Frenchwomen produced tens of thousands of children born during the Occupation. Other soldiers consorted with streetwalkers or visited brothels, carefully regulated by the German authorities.

Paris sex tourism

Erotic behavior and imaginaries clearly reflected the power imbalances of the time. With the liberation of France, Allied soldiers replaced the Germans but the power imbalances remained and the erotic tourism continued. Many of those accused were paraded with their he shaven or worse in French town and cities, reflecting a sense of emasculation in postwar France.

In these many ways, erotics was linked to tourism and war. This essay surveys some of the many expressions of erotic feeling in occupied Paris. Addressing the complex intersections of tourism, war, and erotics, it seeks to encourage further research in their linkages. If the Germans represented an erotic vision for Brasillach, to many Germans, France, and especially Paris, was equally if not more so an erotic fantasy. The erotic activities and images took many forms, ranging from romantic liaisons between occupation soldiers and Frenchwomen, visits by German soldiers to nightclubs that offered sexualized images if not the actual experience in Montmartre and elsewhere, and prostitution, carefully monitored and regulated by the German authorities.

All will be discussed in this essay with the goal of drawing a preliminary picture of the erotic imaginaries, together with their connections to tourism, as the Occupation soldiers read guidebooks directing them to the various nightclubs, located brothels approved by the military authorities, and wandered the streets of Paris encountering local women, both streetwalkers and others, in a wide variety of places and contexts. The sexualized tourism of the Occupation soldiers reflected asymmetries of power between occupiers and occupied and, at times, within the German military hierarchy itself.

Tourism, erotics, and power were all interlinked. Erotics itself comprises a large realm of cultural activity, combining issues of imagery, gender, sexuality, and prostitution, among others. Those involved seldom keep written records for the later-day historian. Too frequently, tourism is considered in a narrow sense of leisure travel in peacetime Paris sex tourism, indeed, tourism has been defined as leisure travel for recreation The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, In its larger meaning, however, tourism is the expression of curiosity and may be expressed best as curiosity in motion.

Based on the Latin notion of curiositas, tourism was deemed a reason to travel by the midth century. Recent scholars of tourism culture, including Rachid Amirou, Nelson N. Soldiers in foreign lands look around, see, and absorb surrounding sites that may often be alien to them.

Too often, the history of tourism in the 20th century is depicted as stopping in only to again after In recent years, books edited by Chris Ryan in and Richard Butler and Wantanee Suntikul in have begun to address aspects of Paris sex tourism tourism but neither collection addresses World War II France and most of the contributions focus on wartime heritage or memory tourism more than tourism during war itself Ryan, and Butler and Suntikul, Marc Chesnel and Josette Mesplier-Pinet have addressed linkages between war and tourism in France but again the literature focuses more on memory tourism to wartime sites than tourism during a war Chesnel, and Mesplier-Pinet, In Germany, Henning Meyer and Wiebke Kolbe have also written about sites of wartime memory or battlefield tourism in regard to France Meyer and Kolbe Tourism, however, continued and in some ways intensified during Paris sex tourism war, as I have argued elsewhere, embracing among other elements erotics and the imaginaries as can be seen in occupied France Gordon and Young German soldiers touring in organized groups and on their own in occupied France became conditioned to see tourism as a leisure activity, contributing to the expectations and imaginaries that underlay the tourism take off in Germany and elsewhere after the war Spode, Their actions and their imaginaries, revealing distinct imbalances in their power relationships with the local French population, nonetheless reflected perceptions of Paris and France formed by the tourist images of the late 19th and early 20th century that helped form their culture as they grew up.

Some of these prewar imaginaries evoked the erotic. Infor example, Paris was described as the modern Babylon, where vice won out over virtue and infamy and crime bred in a fertile ground Ponson du Terr.

Paris sex tourism

These imaginaries, of course, include the entire range of erotic fantasies and images tied to tourism and were clearly evident among the German occupation personnel who toured France during the Second World War. Although many have studied the linkage of erotics and tourism, the relationships of both to war have received less attention.

In an article on tourism and prostitution in the postwar Third World published inNelson N. Graburn suggested the connection to war and military occupation in stating:. People focus on their conceptions of the beautiful or the interesting, framed, and at times manipulated as Theodor Adorno maintains, in their cultural contexts of time and place.

As Adorno suggested, these must be understood in terms of power relationships Adorno, Such power imbalances may be extreme in times of war, evidenced for example in the organized tours of occupied France provided to the victorious German soldiers by Nazi authorities after their victory of Jean Berthelot, a French official, in late June reported German soldiers in Paris taking photographs of sites recommended by Baedeker Berthelot, Others Paris sex tourism have also described the German soldiers behaving as "tourists" 2 Meinen, To some extent, a similar case might be made regarding the Allied forces and erotic tourism in liberated France after the military campaign of as indicated in some of the literature to be addressed later in this essay.

There are many variations in sexual tourism, including voluntary liaisons as well as prostitution, and in the latter case visitors seeking out local sex workers and sex workers migrating to other areas to ply their trade Franklin, Illustrating the complexities in tracking sexual activity and imaginaries, Karen H. Adler writes that some 5, Frenchwomen may have left their country — the documentation, she notes, is uncertain — to work as prostitutes for higher pay in Germany during the war Adler, As the writers of the MIT team in Paris noted inthe inequalities involved in sex tourism, that Graburn also referenced, mirrored those in wealth and power between rich and poor countries around the world.

Colonization, they argued, had reinforced the Paris sex tourism power imbalances. Such imbalances helped create similar instances of sexual tourism in the wealthier cities of the West as well. The power imbalances mentioned by the MIT team also existed in wartime as the German experience tourism in occupied Paris suggests.

While many in occupied France suffered deprivations, one group stood out as privileged, namely the German occupation personnel for whom France became a prized billet, a place for rest and relaxation, and, for many, where they might exercise the tourism imaginaries that had developed over the preceding generations in Germany as elsewhere. This imbalance was not new.

Paris sex tourism

This imbalance affected gender relations far beyond those of prostitution. The German valuation of the Mark at 20 francs, in contrast to 12 prior to the war, made French goods and French prostitutes relatively inexpensive for Paris sex tourism personnel there, adding to the imbalance in the relationships of power in France Buisson, Generally speaking, Germans admired French culture, yet criticized what they saw as French decadence.

Editions were republished in both German and French during the Occupation, although Sieburg was later described by a French observer as a "petty bourgeois" with only a "conventional" knowledge of France and a latecomer to Nazism Chef der Sicherheitspolizei und des SD, Deutsche Wegleiter Augustp. As Robert Gildea writes, "Many [German soldiers] came to France as sexual and gastronomic tourists as much as soldiers. Historian Henri Amouroux noted that Germans enjoyed Paris during. A German officer wounded and decorated during World War I, he had become famous because of his memoir, In Stahlgewittern [Storm of Steel], first published in He wrote: " Paris offers meetings like that with one barely having to seek them; one realizes that the city was founded on the altar of Venus.

He later recalled that most of the German soldiers were the sons of farmers and had never left their villages prior to the war. They had learned about France in school but had never visited there.

Paris sex tourism

One infantryman, from Hamburg, who entered Paris by bicycle, wrote that he had never seen so beautiful a city. Others climbed the Eiffel Tower and carved the names of their wives into its beams, perhaps another variation of erotics linked to tourism. The Hamburg soldier wrote "we were shown a series of things that we knew only in our wildest imaginations.

The intersection of tourism and erotics in wartime Paris embraced many facets ranging from the images of the city as a sensual capital of physical pleasure that included gastronomy and sex, the many sexual liaisons between Germans and Frenchwomen, invariably unequal in their status, that produced tens Paris sex tourism thousands of offspring with estimates ranging from 50, toduring the war, and the extensive regulation of prostitution by the Germans.

Strict orders within weeks of their arrival in Paris warned all military personnel to be on their best behavior Boegner, Little more than a month after the Wehrmacht entered Paris, its commander issued a stern warning about appropriate behavior. When the German military conducted roundups in the streets in their attempts to control prostitution, the French prostitutes were invariably punished, but their German male clientele never were Meinen,47 and This asymmetrical linkage of power, tourism, and erotics was also evident in the subsequent behavior of the Allied soldiers after the August Liberation.

Deutsche Wegleiter, 1 August p. Deutsche Wegleiter, March Following years of economic depression and mobilization for war, it was hard for the nightclub owners in Paris to turn away the new German visitors who constituted a suddenly prosperous clientele Cointet, As Alan Riding points out, the sight of half-naked women dancing in the reopened nightclubs during the summer of and thereafter for many soldiers "was the best reason for going out at night. Officers used separate brothels in contrast to the lower ranking German soldiers Adler, These brothels attracted a mixed crowd of German officers, French collaborators, clandestine resistance agents, black market operators, and artists of all kinds, including women.

Selected brothels in larger cities and under medical supervision were made available to German military personnel with access to them forbidden to French civilians, other than the prostitutes themselves. Germans were forbidden to frequent brothels apart from than those especially deated for them. The prostitutes were to be checked by local doctors under the supervision of German hygiene officials and s were to be posted outside brothels indicating that they were either restricted to German soldiers or forbidden to them.

Jewish and other "alien race" prostitutes were not allowed to serve German personnel. Prostitutes were to be examined twice weekly by medical personnel Paris sex tourism those deemed healthy were issued ed inspection cards which they were to present to their clients. Control of nightclubs also became politicized during the Occupation.

Not surprisingly, resentments grew among the local population. In one incident, in which German officers were frolicking with the women of a brothel, the officers decided to start up a nearby pickup truck. In the truck, however, was a concealed delayed action bomb. It exploded killing three of the women and two of the officers. German soldiers also frequented gay bars.

Paris sex tourism

Alan Riding writes that "numerous gay bars in occupied Paris were popular with German soldiers," despite official prohibition of homosexuality. Robert Hugues-Lambert, an actor, was arrested in Le Sans-Soucis, a gay bar, and ultimately died in a Paris sex tourism concentration camp Riding, France, to some, had become soft and effeminate in contrast to the masculine and more robust societies represented by Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin.

With the birthrate stalled in the late Third Republic, people from a variety of political backgrounds had criticized what they saw as a loss of virility in France Buisson, The arrival of the German soldiers, who frequently were seen shirtless, and the Nazi cult of the masculine body drew similar comments from a variety of people in France Buisson, Simone Kaminker, later known as Simone oret, made a similar observation in the small Breton town of Saint-Gildas where she and her mother had taken refuge. A week after their arrival, she added: " I no longer can go out on the sidewalk without seeing the Germans pass.

They drive as if at home, as tourists. All the girls run after them " 7 Moret,58, quoted in Buissson, With the departure of the Germans following the Liberation some two weeks later, the sense of emasculation in France played a role in the treatment of women accused of having Paris sex tourism sexual relations with them. Fabrice Virgili has shown that some 20, women, many falsely accused, had their hair shorn or worse by crowds, sometimes protected by the authorities in newly liberated France Virgili, Writing about gender and prostitution during the Occupation, Adler addressed the attacks on women accused of having had sexual relations with Germans in noting that.

The arrival of large s of American soldiers during the second half of produced sexual tensions reminiscent of the recently ended German occupation.

Paris sex tourism

The mayor of Le Havre, for example, complained of "scenes contrary to decency" in the streets of his city and asked the American authorities to establish brothels outside town. There was also a racial dimension as African American soldiers received very different treatment than did whites from the American military authorities. They seem also to have been subjected to more severe complaints by the French as well Schuessler, However, it also expressed a sense of emasculation tied to the loss of power with regard to the Germans. As with the women who had affairs with German soldiers, Brasillach, according to Alice Kaplan, who wrote about his trial and execution, was cast as a "horizontal" collaborator Kaplan,p.

The manifold and sexualized reciprocal imagery and behavior of both Germans and French both in wartime during the s and during the construction Paris sex tourism Europe in the years since may serve as a reminder of the intersections among war, tourism, and erotics in general.

The phenomena of the shorn women as well as the crimes of rape, both during and after the Occupation, transcend but are linked to the erotic tourist imaginaries relating to World War II France, connections that call for further research Branche and Virgili, Lastly, it has been pointed out that some young post-Liberation French soldiers accompanied the invading forces of the Allies, pushing deep into Germany to conquer the Wehrmacht, but were only really interested in German women, another area that calls for more study.

Adler, K. Adorno, T. Bernstein, London and New York, Routledge. Amirou, R. Amouroux, H.

Paris sex tourism

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