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Sweet romance or steamy vacation fling? How to meet a Parisian (when you’re a tourist)

I’ve spammed this post with a bunch of photos I’ve taken in Paris (of touristic sights)  just to set the mood right and make you want to pack your suitcase and go. Just in case meeting a sexy Frenchie who’ll knock your socks off wasn’t motivation enough.

When most people think of Paris, they think about romance and romantic cliches.

I am sure you’ve seen billions of inspirational Paris-photos online. Photos of beautiful girls in beautiful dresses, enjoying fluffy croissants and pain au chocolat on the balcony of a pricey Airbnb or 5 star hotel,  while watching the sunrise in the morning (I’m looking at you, Instagram-influencers). Obviously they all have a great view of the Eiffel Tower.

Because, it ain’t worth it if it’s not a multi-climax photo with everything there is to love about Paris, in one single shot. Go big or go home, right?

I’m sure you’ve pinned and liked it all and imagined yourself being that girl. All while being swept off your feet by a hunky Parisian, well dressed, well groomed and with the sexiest accent imaginable. He looks like he just walked straight out of a perfume-ad and he smells like a mix of cologne (maybe Yves Saint Laurent or Dior) and cigarettes.

He’ll take you to all his favorite bars and restaurants in the city, introduce you to the best wines you’ll ever drink, and desserts so delicious you’ll never want to eat anything else again in your life.  He’ll tell you you’re trop belle and proudly introduce you to his friends. Champagne high and with a great sugar rush from all the pastel macaroons you’ve eaten,  you feel like you’re on cloud nine and you wish you could just stay in this bubble forever. Just you and this mystery man in Paris.

That’s the cliche that a lot of hopeless romantics believe in, and that’s why a lot of women end up coming to Paris in the first place. To find that little piece of magic. The holiday romance – or vacation fling. Whatever you wanna call it.

This image of Paris is the city as it’s portrayed by Hollywood and novelists.

ferris wheel

The real Paris is different. Very different. Yes, the macaroons, the champagne, the wine, the 5 star hotels, the Eiffel Tower, it’s all there. It’s all real. And French. But all that glitz and glam is not part of a Frenchman’s every day life. Unless you’re aiming for the aristocrats, of course. But that’s a whole different planet than the one the average Jane such as myself (and probably you) live on.

I live in a Paris where a Friday night out means putting on your best jeans and checking the weather forecast to see if you’ll need to bring your umbrella or not. Where you can’t make up your mind whether to go to a Japanese, Korean, French or Italian restaurant. Where snacking on sliced cured sausage while drinking pint after pint of Belgian beer is considered a cultural thing (apéro) to do before dinner. Where your favorite neighborhoods are those where most buildings are covered in street art and beer bars and burger joints are located side by side.

That’s my Paris. And that, my friend, is probably also the Paris of your future vacation fling. I guess this means the way to approach and be approached by the average Parisian man might not be quite as glamorous as you expected. But that doesn’t mean he won’t add a little magic to your vacation.

opera garnier

Trust me, I’m speaking from my own personal experience. The guy will give you fireworks and the whole shebang (metaphorically speaking, of course) and might steal your heart and make you feel bad about continuing your Euro-trip instead of staying with him a little longer.

Like I said, I have experienced this firsthand. I’ve also observed friends who came to Paris looking for long term love or a short term romance. And, yes, I also happen to know a lot of French men who’d love to meet a mysterious lady who’s passing through Paris before heading off to their next adventure. Some of those guys might even ask to join you on your adventures!

Right. The travelers and the Parisians want to meet each other. So what seems to be the problem?

Well.

Yes, there are plenty of locals interested in meeting a charming foreigner and showing her all their favorite spots in Paris.Yes, there are lots of female travelers interested in meeting a handsome Parisian. But the problem might just be that you’re looking in the wrong place and approaching the wrong type of guys.

You don’t wanna end up with the local version of your hometown asshole?

sacre coeur

To make it easier for you to navigate, I’ve listed a bunch of DO’s and DON’Ts, tips and advice. Happy hunting!

How to find him

DATING APPS 

  • Don’t use Tinder, if you’re looking for something more than just a steamy night in bed with a Parisian. Tinder has a reputation in France for being a sex-app, not a dating app – and even if you might meet someone nice and genuine on there, there’s a big chance you’ll just be wasting your time.
  • DO try the french app Meetic instead (if you manage to navigate through it in French). If your French language skills are solid enough (and you’re in town long enough to schedule in an evening dedicated to something non-touristic), you might wanna look into signing up for a cooking class or any of the other events arranged by Meetic. That way, you’ll be able to meet someone in a more neutral environment – and even if you don’t, you’ve learned a new skill or a new recipe.
  • MAYBE try the app MeetMe. This app is either a dream or a disaster, depending on who you meet. I was lucky and met the love of my life on this strange app, but you kind of have to sort through a sea of creepers before you find someone decent to talk to.

INTERNATIONAL MEET-UPS and LANGUAGE EXCHANGE EVENTS

  • Don’t use the language exchange groups on Facebook for romantic purposes. A lot of the users are already in relationships and are only looking for someone who can actually help them improve their English language skills. There ARE a lot of single guys on there too, and from what I’ve been told (by friends who met up with some of them) while some might be genuinely nice, others were rather creepy. If you decide to meet someone off those groups, make sure you meet them in a safe, public place. Maybe in a park, such as Jardin du Luxembourg, or in a coffee shop?
  • DO attend language exchange events where you get to meet lots of different people – locals as well as other foreigners. With Franglish the language exchange is done speed dating style, with 14 minute one-to-one conversations with all the attendees (of whatever age and gender). Who knows, you might end up having a 14 minute conversation with Mr. Right (now).
  • DO attend international meet-ups! With MeetUp and InterNations you can sign up for guided tours, cinema/theater/museum events, brunches, lunches, dinners, hikes, drinks – anything, really. In a natural environment like this it’s easy to meet someone, although there’s a bigger chance of meeting someone not French than someone who IS French (with the exception of the bar/club events).

MEET SOMEONE THROUGH MUTUAL FRIENDS

This is by far the best way to meet someone, but it’s also the trickiest way. Do you already have a friend who lives in Paris? Or even a friend of a friend? Or a friend of a friend of a friend?

Once you’ve made your way into a circle of friends it will be easier for you to meet someone, have a nice conversation with that person – and hopefully arrange to meet again the next day.

  • DO chit-chat about your life, your culture, food, drinks, the weather, your job – and feel free to complain about things. In France, complaining is not a turn-off. Quite the contrary. It’s cultural to complain about your work, the weather and everything else you feel deserves an eye roll, a sigh and the negative ooh la la.
  • Don’t ask him about his religious beliefs or political views. A lot of French people are atheist and not at all interested in talking about religion. And politics? Just leave it. Unless you  feel like ranting – or you know a really good joke about one of the current or former politicians!

notre dame

How to get him interested

Keep it simple: In Paris, less is definitely more. Don’t go too heavy on the makeup, don’t show off any more skin than what you’re comfortable with – and just be yourself. A beautiful smile goes a lot further than having your boobs out on display. Any day.

Keep it funny: In France there’s a saying that goes; “Une femme qui rit a moitié dans ton lit” (a woman who laughs is halfway in your bed), which means, humor is the key to a woman’s heart (or bed). This does not only apply to women, though. French men love a woman who can make them laugh. A confident, happy woman with a great sense of humor. Now, that’s a keeper!

Keep it mysterious: As charming as he may be, don’t take him back to your hostel dorm to “seal the deal” right after you just met. And even though the bedroom in his tiny Parisian apartment sounds a lot more comfortable than your hostel bunk bed, don’t rush things. Just don’t. Leave him wanting more. Leave him thinking about you all night, waiting, wanting, wishing, hoping. He may be frustrated, but he’ll appreciate it so much more once it happens. And so will you.

eiffel tower angle

Remember the French etiquette

DO greet him (and his friends) with kisses on the cheeks (well, more like air-kisses, really) and say bonjour or salut.

Don’t shake his hand. It’s weird. Unless he just interviewed you for a job, that is.

Parlez-vous Francais?

You’re a tourist. Nobody expects you to speak French. But then again, speaking another language opens up a whole new world and allows you to be introduced to people you wouldn’t otherwise be able to communicate with.

An example; if someone asks you “As-tu un copain?” (do you have a boyfriend), you might wanna say “non, je suis célibataire” (no, I’m single).

Download Babbel and get on to it.

Motivate yourself and think about that perfume ad model and how great it would be to eat croissants on the balcony of a 5 star hotel while enjoying the view of the Eiffel Tower, with him.

paris eiffel tower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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