Dating in Paris: The Do’s and Don’ts
Ah, Paris. The first thing that comes to mind is the city of romance, love, and public displays of affection. You’re now probably picturing a beautiful French couple twirling around in an intimate moonlit dance on the cobblestone banks of the Seine. Off in the distance, a smiling old man plays “La Vie en Rose” on the accordion.
Or maybe you’re imagining yourself riding through the charming countryside on the back of a motorcycle with a handsome French gentleman you met at the museum. You were both admiring the same piece of art when you locked eyes. The French gentleman then asked you what you thought about the piece, but over a cup of hot coffee overlooking a colorful Parisian garden.
If all of that sounds overly cliche and unrealistic, it’s because it is. I simply made those scenarios up in my head in under 30 seconds. The movies and TV has romanticized the city even more, but in reality dating in Paris is just as complex as dating anywhere else in the world.
As an FYI, most of the research and facts about dating in Paris are geared towards expat women dating French men, and less on expat men dating French women . I’ll be including some helpful information for both.
I also tried to keep this list as least biased as possible with an outside perspective. I even asked around, gaining insight from my Parisian friends of both genders who have been in the game and know the common practices.
Luckily, if you follow these commonly known dating in Paris tips, you might just have some luck– or at least a second date!
For Dating a French Woman
- French girls are confident and like to talk about culture and world views. Don’t be surprised if you’re talking politics or get into other deep topics on your first date.
- Dress to impress. In other places, you may be able to show up looking casual, but French ladies like a guy who knows how to dress. Paris is the most fashionable city in the world. No pressure.
- Be prepared to chase a little (or a lot). This isn’t the case for everyone, but many French girls may act uninterested and it doesn’t mean that they are. Part of the dating culture in France is a bit old fashioned, and girls tend to play hard to get to peak the interest of their potential suitor.
- French women may like to be chased a little or play hard to get, but it doesn’t mean they like players. A common trend to keep in mind is that if you kiss a French girl on the first date, she’s going to assume it’s serious! (Not the case for everyone, I should point out.)
For Dating a French Guy
- Don’t go crazy on the texting. Like I mentioned above, in many cases, French dudes like to chase. It’s actually not just a French trait, but an evolutionary trait of men in general. As a general rule of thumb, if you’re starting off a fling with a Frenchie, the less texting you do the better. Keep an air of mystery about you over the phone, and play it cool. Don’t be cold though either! You can definitely tell a guy you want to see him again after an awesome date.
- Dates are usually more than just “Netflix and Chill”. Most of the time, a guy will propose you to “prendre un verre, meaning grab a drink, and you’ll meet at a bar or café. If it’s going well, you may even end the date with a nice stroll through the streets, talking and getting to know one another. Dates are usually of substance, and on your second date don’t be surprised if you end up at a museum or a concert. Enjoy the spontaneity of French lifestyle in dating here. Often times, guys like when the girl picks the date spot. It shows confidence and that you know what you want.
- As with men, women usually also dress to impress on the date. Wear whatever makes you comfortable and confident, but definitely avoid showing up in workout clothes. The French take fashion pretty seriously, and Paris has the best shopping in the world. There is really no reason this advice should be hard to stick to. Try a modest and cute dress from Zara with white sneakers. It’s the perfect mix of casual and class.
- This may sound old fashioned but it is a tip I’ve heard from interviewing my Parisian friends. Both guys and girls. As I mentioned in tip #1, don’t chase the guy. Ever. The French go after what they want, and if they are not trying to see you, take that as a sign and let it go. I find it unfortunate that these gender roles are still so prominent in the dating culture, and it is often expected for the woman to sit idly by and wait for the man to do the pursuing. But that’s the name of the Parisian game, and you’re most likely going to have to play hard to get.
The French are easing into the trend of casual dating. Because French people tend to move quickly, it’s often hard to know what kind of relationship the other party is looking for without talking about it clearly and right away.
Be clear in your communication from the beginning. Parisians know what they want and they aren’t afraid to voice it either. If someone cancels on you or finds excuses not to see you, move on- chances are this guy or girl is dating around (or maybe don’t move on, if you’re into that!).
Don’t be surprised if you spend a romantic evening or two with someone and find out you were date #5 of that week. This isn’t to say that everyone is a player; however if you think a cute foreign accent and compliments correlate directly to serious romance you may be disappointed!
On a more optimistic note, if you do happen to find someone and you both share a mutual feeling, Paris can be one of the best places to explore romance. The accordion music, twinkling lights, ancient buildings, and endless activities make this city a magical place for dating. But just remember, as with anywhere else, the Paris love won’t fall in your lap the way it happens in the movies.
Paris is a huge city and meeting people isn’t always easy. Try the dating apps such as Tinder, Bumble, etc. but keep in mind this may through you in the casual dating pool of people. Try after-work parties, meet-ups, or ask a friend to set you up!
The most important tip? Don’t give up hope if it’s not working out. Paris is a city full of of beautiful people (inside and out) and your love life will eventually have its time to shine in the City of Light.