Punched in the head...
This story comes via Brian, a Canadian English assistant living in Douai (not too far from Lille).
"I went to what we Manitobans would call a 'law faculty social'. A party to raise money for those not in the loop.
Before going I met up with five other assistants: a Spanish guy, a Canadian girl, an Austrian girl, and two German girls (their sex is actually important to the story, so don't think that I'm just flaunting my good luck). We were walking, talking, getting to know each other a little bit, and I was feeling pretty good.
Suddenly I was hit by something in the back of the head. I turned around to see that it was a fist... and it hit me again in the face twice more.
I jumped back a few meters so that I could asses the situation more carefully. Sure enough I we were being attacked, for no real reason.
Approximately seven drunk French guys decided that it would be fun and fair to try to pick a fight with me, a fairly large Spanish man, and four skinny female language assistants.
People have told me that when you're in this situation you typically have a fight or flight reaction. I didn't have either. I just stood there as three of the seven drunks called me names and told me that they would win said fight if it were to take place. I believed them, so I left without saying anything. I guess I lost that one. I'm not usually one to turn down a new experience, but I was getting a no feeling from this one.
Anyway, I left the scene with my five new friends with a bloody mouth and a bit of a headache. The Spanish guy was also hit once, and kicked in the rear I think. The four female friends were only emotionally shaken up.
All in all not a big deal, but it could have been a lot worse."