A Newly Single Girl in Paris reads a book in a park in summer.
Oz John Tekson

Breaking up with someone you love is often a terrible experience. Breaking up with someone you love in what is supposed to be the City of Love can be a heart-wrenching emotional roller coaster.

A Paris apartment building with windows that have white shutters and there's a cherry blossom tree nearby (left). Two newly single girls in Paris, sitting on the banks of the River Seine (right).
Kat… & catherineshyu

Unfortunately, at the end of February, I found myself in this exact situation: ending a long-term relationship with a Parisian in Paris. At least by this point, Valentine’s Day had passed and I was no longer bombarded with images of happy couples in love, discounts on holiday-themed lingerie, and sickeningly sweet His & Her gift ideas on every street corner.

Nevertheless, the first few weeks were incredibly difficult. Not only did I have to deal with the usual post-break-up challenges common to any city — cancelling all the plans and trips we’d made for the following months, packing up his things in my apartment – but I also had to walk down the same Parisian streets that we had strolled through hand in hand, eat the foods he had introduced me to, and hear the romantic lilt of his language everywhere.

A Newly Single Girl in Paris looking at the camera and eating a spoonful of whipped cream.Making Magique

The worst part? Being French, he had one of those first names that 1/5 of the French male population seems to share. Included amongst the many other Arnauds in my life were (in no particular order): four people at work, two personal friends of mine, the guy at the Bastille Sunday market where I buy my vegetables, and the man at my favourite boulangerie!

A Newly Single Girl in Paris enjoying a cup of coffee at the Louvre Museum.MarioMancuso

But what’s a newly single girl in Paris to do? Clearly you can’t hide from your baguette man forever! Or refuse to eat caramel au beurre salé simply because he introduced it to you.  And so after the first couple of weeks of skimming depression, I decided to pick myself up and find new pieces of light in my little world of Paris.

A Newly Single Girl in Paris wearing a bikini top and sunglasses, tanning on a terrace.
Chris JL

Discovering new parts of Paris
First thing on my list was discovering new parts of the city. I had lived here for three years, but a lot of my memories had been made with Arnaud, so it was time to start carving out new territory just for myself. I noted down all the recently opened hip restaurants, cafés and bars that I had been meaning to hit up and enlisted my friends to check them out with me. I tallied up cool new exhibitions and made plans to go with a couple of art fiends. Sometimes I even went for walks by myself in neighborhoods I’d never explored before. Suddenly, my previously lonely days were filled with coffee dates at Coutume Café, drinks at Le Mary Celeste, and weekend strolls around the 11e.

A Newly Single Girl in Paris riding her bike through the streets.

Meeting new people
One of the difficult things with break-ups is that you often also have to break up with that significant other’s social circle. There would be no more ski holidays or concert dates with other couples he knew. But it also meant that I suddenly had all this free time (and social energy) to find other human beings who might inspire me.

Being a Single Girl in Paris is easy when you have so many sights to explore, like this girl on the Place de la Concorde metro steps at night.
Making Magique

I made an effort to reach out to new people, said yes to whatever invitations came my way, and re-launched my Diner des 3 Découvertes supper club. I signed up for bikram yoga and discovered a terrific health-conscious community, and started going salsa dancing to get back in touch with my Spanish side. Opening myself up to new people brought me wonderful new experiences during the past two months – including Carin Olsson’s Éclair Smackdown for HiP Paris and planning an impromptu girls’ trip to Corsica!

A Paris apartment building with white shutters.

Meeting new men
I suppose the last step in any post-break-up process is being ready to put yourself out there again. Contrary to what many people believe, meeting new men can be as daunting a task in Paris as it is in anywhere else in the world. Upon my friends’ urging, I timidly and painfully subscribed to match.com – then immediately unsubscribed once I saw the results. I reluctantly agreed to a few dinners where couples were eager to introduce me to their single male friends. I even went to a cocktail bar to practice a few fun flirtation strategies with the girls, then chickened out and went home to read a book at 4am.

Being Single Girl in Paris isn't hard when there are so many things to see and do, like this girl at Abbesses station (left), and these people dancing on the banks of the River Seine (right).
ga3lle & Karigee

You see, I’m still at that stage where I’m painfully too shy to meet new men. Much to my amazement, I have found something that works for me.  Three words: conversation exchange programs. After hearing a good friend speak about it, I decided to sign up to continue to improve my French in return for helping someone with their English. The next morning, I woke up to at least a dozen emails by Julien, Nicolas, Vincent and the like, asking to meet over coffee or lunch or drinks to practice French and English together (surprisingly, no Arnauds have come through my mailbox yet!). It’s not a date; it’s not a set-up. It’s just a friendly rendez-vous with someone who might or might not be interesting, where learning the language is the primary objective and where an unexpected spark might just be a nice cherry on top.

Being Single Girl in Paris means you have more time to take care of yourself and get your nails done, like this girl sitting on the banks of a canal with red nail polish.

And so, nearly two months later, this newly single girl in Paris is finding herself. She’s checking out new restaurants with friends, organizing dinners with strangers, dancing / reading / doing yoga more often, and from time to time meeting a new guy over a cup of coffee and some Franglais. I have learned that overall, the post-break-up healing process in Paris is not so different than in any other city around the world. It’s just that cultural barriers and that sense of “separateness” that every expat experiences mean that it requires a bit more effort and creative thinking to get through it all.

Being Single Girl in Paris is hardest in the winter, like for this blonde girl who's taking a walk in an empty park.
Making Magique

Above all, I have learned that Paris is not just a city for lovers. It’s also a city for strong-willed, independent, creative people seeking compassion and inspiration – and you don’t need to be in a couple to be part of that.

Being Single Girl in Paris means you have more time to read, like this girl resting her feet on the railing of her apartment's balcony with her book.
Carin Olsson

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Written by Milsters Mac for the HiP Paris Blog. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, London, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.


Milsters Mac

Milsters Mac is a third culture kid and serial expat: Canadian by nationality and Spanish / Filipina / Chinese by background, she has lived in 13 countries on 4 continents — partly due to her parents’ professions, partly due to her inner global nomad. In 2010, she left London to pursue her lifelong dream of living in the City of Lights, where she could fully indulge her love for French literature, cheese and wine, macarons, museums, and the art of taking your time. She has recently settled into a new apartment in the Haut-Marais, but personal and professional projects mean that she splits her time during the year between Paris, Buenos Aires, and Vancouver.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing your experience.

    I had my heart broken in Paris by a Frenchman a few years ago and swore to him I would never step foot on French soil again. I have reconsidered my decision and am returning in July for 10 days…. solo..

  2. Can you please tell me what the language exchange program is? (their url?) I’m traveling to Paris in two weeks 😉

  3. Thanks for your post. Ironically enough, I am travelling to Paris this weekend fresh after a breakup, to the most romantic city in the world. But your post has been inspiring, and I really look forward to discovering myself once again. Thank you!

  4. Well it is a shame… that your love story did not end so well with that guy … anyway as you stated in your post .. life goes on and “love is endless” there are many people wanting to share their love with you … and of course I guess you want to share yours and be loved … I’m a Colombian guy and lived there … of course now I live in my beautiful country … if you ever come to Colombia you would be more than welcome … here we are very friendly …

  5. Thanks for the article Mil, what a great little piece! 🙂
    I too have met many wonderful people through a language exchange. In fact, will be visiting a certain someone is Paris on my upcoming trip.

  6. Hi,

    Very nice to read your post. I am too feeling little lonely here but started now to Find and explore Paris myself.

    You inspired a lot to enjoy here even if you are alone.

    Let me know If you want to add something extra in your life in Paris with having a coffee with me.

  7. Spent a month in Paris last summer…would have loved to have met you! Really enjoy your p.o.v. and rradng about your experiences!

  8. Thank You so much for sharing such a powerful experience with us. It takes humbleness to accept how we feel at times. Remember that there are other ones in Paris exactly that are going through this also and reading this post is like fresh water in a hot day.


  9. I wish I could share this piece with every woman in the world, single or married, because it’s more about finding yourself again, and reconnecting with who you really are and what makes you happy. I have daughters that could learn a bit from you.

  10. So, so true.

    With or without a man, I agree, Paris presents the perfect balance of challenge and beauty to nudge us women in the direction of truly discovering ourselves in a greater depth than ever before.

    Thank you for this beautiful post Milsters.

  11. This is stunning and fantastic and amazing. I just loved it. Thank you so much for sharing with all of us!

  12. I adored this post. Good for you for finding the strength and confidence to push forward and make the world your own. Breakups are never easy and these types are easily applicable to anyone who is hurting, anywhere in the world. We can’t run away from places that once meant something different to us than they do now. But we can create new and important meaning.

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