53rd Stopped Pick-Pocket: One Night on the Champs-Élysées

Editor's Note: This testimonial is a special one. We received an email a few weeks ago from Eugene, a traveler who said, "I've been meaning to write this story down for years, but I've been very busy!!" The story that follows is an in-depth recording of Eugene's experience of being wrapped up in a local Parisian football rally. Luckily for him, he was wearing our pants. Luckily for us, he an amateur photographer and captured some amazing shots from the scene that we now get to share with you all. This is also our 11th stop in Paris! Here's what he said:

Dear Clothing Arts, 

On May 13, 2013, I walked over to the Champs-Élysées to take some pictures and hopefully practice my French. I was living in Paris at the time and my French teacher told me that the sun would set through the middle of the Arc de Triomphe that night. She knew I was an amateur photographer and gave me some homework. She told me to go and photograph the sunset on the Champs-Élysées and, at the same time, try practicing my French.

I positioned myself in a good spot in the middle of the Champs-Élysées just behind a traffic light pole. Within a few minutes, other photographers gathered around me to photograph this twice-a-year phenomenon. But something was not quite right. Cars began to wildly honk their horns and soon a roar of people could be heard. There were groups of marchers shouting and waving flags. Some began to light flares and the sound of police sirens and shattering glass could be heard. Trying to practice my French, I understood that an official celebration for the local soccer team, Paris Saint-Germain, has just been broken up by police at the Trocadero plaza after having devolved into violent hooliganism. Paris Saint-Germain had just won its first French league title in 19 years. Their team included soccer superstars David Beckham and Zlatan Ibrahimović. I later learned that over 800 officers were called out and 30 people were injured along with 21 arrested.

Forced out of Trocadero, part of this raucous crowd turned up on the Champs-Élysées. Many were upset at not having had the chance to see and applaud their team when the celebration was abruptly canceled due to security concerns. I was soon in the middle of this crowd without really comprehending what was going on. Some were clearly ecstatic and celebratory, while others were clearly angry and upset. Police were unable to control the team’s fans. Cars and motorcycles were soon going in both directions on both sides of the street while groups of marchers disrupted traffic. A police van drove by with a hand extended from an open window dispensing pepper spray. The crowd surged toward my position. I made sure my camera’s wrist strap was snug in case someone tried to grab it from me. The crowd pressed all around us. It was impossible to move. I felt someone trying to grab my wallet, but I knew they would fail, my wallet was safely zipped and buttoned inside my Pick-Pocket Proof Pants. The photographer next to me had his watch stolen right off his wrist as he protected his expensive camera. In the end, I got some good photos and, thanks to my Pick-Pocket Proof Pants, would-be thieves were thwarted.

-Eugene from Virginia, USA