Parisian Living

The Millennial Guide to Dating in Paris

by Emma Konst

Dating anywhere at any point of your life can be a struggle. We all have our rolodex of stories from the very good to the very, very ugly. But trying to meet someone in a new city, or new country for that matter, presents a unique set of challenges. There’s the language barrier and cultural differences to consider, and logistical questions like, “Where do I go to meet people and how do I let them know I’m available?” 

Dating in Paris can be tricky, despite the plentiful options of romantic sunset views like the one this couple is sharing.
Top Image: Valentin B Kremer/ Above: Dennis Flinsenberg

In this article, we’ll dive into the Paris dating scene and larger French dating culture, from France’s popular dating apps and a layout of where the cool kids hang out, to the cultural norms you’ll need to familiarize yourself with. Dating can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. 

You’ve Gotta Have App(itude)

Let’s just get this one out of the way right off the bat: If you’re a millennial like me, you’ve probably had some experience with dating apps already. In France, the most popular apps for dating are Tinder, Bumble, and Happn. 

A couple look at the Eiffel Tower (left). An apartment building in Paris (right).
Ac Almelor / Hernan Lucio

I don’t find a huge difference in terms of dating app culture in Paris, North America or the UK. One thing you should note is that some French people may be intimidated by dating an English speaker. While many people in France do speak English, many don’t feel confident enough in their language skills to chat up someone they might be interested in. 

A couple strolling the streets of Paris at sunset (left). The Paris rooftops with the Eiffel Tower in the background (right).
Elodie Ozanne / Adrien Prv

If language is an issue, a good way to sift out people who speak like you is by adding your spoken languages into your bio. It’s a common convention in a city as big as Paris, so don’t be shy about letting others know your language limits.

Real Life Love

If finding people using a GPS system isn’t your thing, you can cast yourself out into the world and try your hand at meeting people in real life. 

A white Parisian apartment building (left). An Asian couple having a drink at a café in Paris in summer (right).
Dylan Mullins / Matt W Newman

Finding a cute cafe or restaurant with English-speaking staff is a great way to put yourself in the same room with young English-speaking singles. Try a coworking café like Craft or Cuillier where expats love to work and hang out.

Paris has lots of date spots, including picturesque merry-go-rounds like the one this smiling couple if riding (left), as well as restaurants and bars (right).
Sept Commercial / Wiktor Karkocha

If all else fails, you can always revert to the old standard of meeting people in a bar. Not very romantic, but a time-tested method. Spots like La Bellevoise, La Lingerie Bar at Les Grand Voisins, and Le Comptoir Général are all popular among Paris’ hip crowd. 

It’s a Work Thang

One controversial way to meet you’re next potential love is to take a cursory glance around the room next time you’re in the office. I know, dating your coworkers can be a messy move, but here in France, it’s a lot less taboo than it is in the Anglo world. Rules about dating coworkers are few and far between. And it’s not uncommon to discover that two or three of your coworkers have a history and maintained a professional relationship during and after their flings. If you feel like you’re mature enough to handle it, go for it. Just make sure you’re both discrete and no one will bat an eye.

A couple having a coffee at the counter of a café.
Priscilla Du

Meet You There

Meetup.com is another great way to find people with similar interests who might also be interested in something more. There are thousands of groups to choose from that have great attendance rates. One of the most popular groups for English speakers is Lost in Frenchlation, a club for Anglophone movie lovers. There are also running groups, yoga clubs, book clubs, photographer meetups… pretty much anything you’re interested in, there’s a group.

The view of Paris from the Sacré Coeur, with the Eiffel Tower in the background (left). A couple at a concert (right).
Alice Donovan / Hannah Busing

Public Displays of Rejection

Is PDA cool in France? Yes and no. French people are quiet, they do not speak loudly in public, they are suspiciously good as concealing how drunk they are. They do not do things like start bar fights or vomit on the sidewalk. They head to the back alley where no one can see them, then gracefully stride back inside like it never happened because they are very, very classy.

The view of Paris' beautiful architecture from the Centre Pompidou.
Nil Castellvi

In a total departure from such social protocol, it is acceptable to make out with your main squeeze while out in public. As long as you’re literally out. When outside, it seems to be completely okay to shove your tongue down someone’s throat in broad daylight. Conversely, I have never once seen a couple necking in the back of a restaurant or bar on a Friday night. For whatever reason, the rule seems to be that if you take it outside, you’re good to go.

A couple holding hands and smiling at one another while lying on the grass.
Rawpixel

Talk Political to Me

Like most countries, in France, politics vary greatly between the city and the countryside. Outside urban centers like Paris, Toulouse, and Lyon, the French population often veers towards the conservative. Of course you’ll find a margin of outliers anywhere, but it’s good rule of thumb to keep in mind if politics are important to you. 

A couple having a date in the rain, sitting on the banks of the River Seine.
Fred Pixlab

This being said, you shouldn’t be afraid to talk politics on a date. Luckily, French people don’t mind engaging in a good political debate.

Culture Clash

Whenever, wherever, and with whomever you decide to begin dating, there are a few general rules of thumb you should know before getting exclusive with a Frenchie. 

Don’t date total strangers. If a random person chases you down on the street to tell you they like your coat, run away. This is not normal or romantic behavior, but the preferred tactic of men just trying to get you know where.

A couple dancing at an event.
Raj Eiamworakul

There is a big difference between a date in the afternoon and at night. Afternoon dates are like pre-dates. Not very romantic, a casual way to figure out if your compatible. Chances are it won’t end in a make out session by the Seine. Evening dates however, or afternoon dates that turn into evening dates, hold greater potential. Don’t be afraid to make it clear that you’re not taking him or her home with you if you don’t want to. Or do, we’re not judging.

And on that note, don’t be afraid to have sex on the first date. Most people won’t judge you or write you off as just a hookup. It’s cool, go for it if you want to.

A couple holding hands on a date in Paris.
Rawpixel

If you’re walking around in public holding hands, you’re together. There’s no pretense or need for the dreaded “What are we?” talk. If you’ve been hanging out consistently for a couple weeks, it’s likely that your French partner thinks you’re already exclusive. Be upfront right away if that’s not the case!

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Written by Emma Konst for HiP Paris. Looking to travel? Check out Haven In for a fabulous vacation, or long term, rental in Paris, Italy, France or elsewhere in Europe.


Written By

Emma Konst

Emma Konst is a writer and editorial assistant currently based in Paris. In her free time she takes pictures of her friends and contemplates how quickly she would die from bacteria exposure if she ever fell into Canal St Martin. Her writing has been published in SadMag, INSIDR Paris, and here on HipBlog. You can follow her on instagram @othergirlemma. View Emma Konst's Website

2 comments on “The Millennial Guide to Dating in Paris

Te Pink sugar daddy

Impressive article very fun, yet I miss some types of dating that are emerging in this decade as sugar daddys and sugar babes. Also the gay dating that every time takes more followers. Even so it is a very good and elaborate article.

Rooksana Hossenally

Hi there! Thanks for reading HiP and for sharing your comment! 🙂

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