Before I moved to Paris last year, I spent some time researching its dating scene. Coming from New Zealand, and having only ever dated Kiwi men, I had a hunch that things in the City of Love would be different.
To get up to speed, I watched a few videos by popular Paris-based expat YouTubers Not Even French and Damon Dominque. Together, the two covered all things French- and men-related that any foreigner should know. They also confirmed that my inkling was correct.
The French date quite differently compared to most English-speaking cultures. For example, it’s normal to have exclusive status after only a few dates, even if it has not been explicitly discussed, and the French definitely aren’t shy when it comes to early displays of PDA.
Fast-forward two months, I’d landed in Paris ready to delve into my new life and put this new knowledge to the test. I had a good six-week run and was quickly swept into a whirlwind of romance. Some of my dates included being driven around the Arc de Triomphe on the back of a motorbike, nighttime walks along the Seine, and being kissed in front of the main fountain in the Jardin de Tuileries.
It was all insanely romantic until my euphoria was crushed by the return of COVID and yet another lockdown. Having not found the perfect match, and thankfully not accidentally locked myself into anything serious, I decided to turn to dating apps. I’d only used them in New Zealand one time without much luck. But being stuck inside my little apartment with no way of meeting people naturally left me with little choice.
So the swiping began.
Left, left, left. Ohh he’s cute, maybe? Oh wait he has nothing but a chicken nugget and eggplant emoji in his bio. Left.
Left, left. Ooh he’s into writing like me, but no, too many vain selfies, nope! Left, left.
Most people who use dating apps know the drill. You upload attractive photos of yourself accompanied with an alluring bio to then spend hours swiping until you find someone that tickles your fancy, and hopefully swiped right on you too.
In Paris, there are several dating apps people use to meet potential lovers. I started with Bumble. Bumble follows the basic online dating profile principle, yet once a match is made, it’s up to the lady to make the first move. Which in my case, didn’t work too well as I personally prefer the men to take the lead.
I tried Hinge next, which a Parisian friend suggested. Ironically designed with the goal of be deleted, Hinge is orientated towards forming relationships rather than hook-ups. Although commonly used, it’s not so popular with the French themselves and in my experience was full of English expats. Again, this didn’t work in my favor as I was on the lookout for a hot French man.
So at last, I downloaded the mother of all dating apps, Tinder. And boy did I spend hours swiping and practicing my terrible français avec les français. The only problem was with the lockdown still in full swing, I couldn’t really go out on dates. So, I quit and spent the remainder of the quarantine reading copious amounts of books and binging on Netflix.
That was until things started to open back up again in December and I thought I’d give Tinder another crack. To my luck, I matched with the Frenchman of my dreams who asked me out for a date in Montmartre. I agreed to meet him a few days before Christmas and put on the cutest outfit I could find for five-degree weather. We passed the evening drinking mulled wine on the steps of Sacré Coeur and hit it off right away.
The next few months were unconventional, as we went in and out of COVID restrictions. It wasn’t until May when we had our first proper drink on a terrace, and then to the cinema in June. Then, finally in mid-June, the day of my birthday, restaurants opened their doors and we had our first inside sit-down meal. It was also the night we made it “official,” as in typical French fashion, the subject hadn’t been mentioned for the six months we had been dating.
Just like me, plenty of my expat friends in Paris have met their boyfriends on dating apps—something that has become incredibly normalized over the last year due of COVID. The French have clearly not been shy to jump on board as the City of Love begins to move online.
Did you use dating apps throughout the pandemic? Let us know in the comments!
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Written by Verity McRae for HiP Paris. Looking to travel? Check out Haven In for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long-term or buy in France or Italy? Ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates or click here. Looking to bring France home to you or to learn online or in person (when possible)? Check out new marketplace shop and experiences.