New to Town {Paris}

Paris unlike other cities can be a bit more closed than other places when you first arrive. Lately I’ve met a lot of new-to-Paris people and friends of friends who just moved to town. It got me thinking a lot about being new to a place and trying to find your bearings while meeting people. I thought it’d be fun to put together a mini guide of my favorite resources when you’re new to town. While it’s aimed at newbies to Paris, a lot of these ideas can apply to anywhere (marked with *), and are a good excuse for anyone to get out and try something new.

  1. Eventbrite* – Technically a ticketing system, searching Paris, France by date can be a great way to discover things you’d never know were happening otherwise. (Thanks to the site I went to a great free conference at Science Po last week).
  2. Meet-up* – This is all about finding others with your same passion. A filmmaker friend met her long-term boyfriend this way.
  3. Twitter* + Facebook* – Follow / Like locals and chances are you’ll pick up an awesome event or two going on while you’re at it. There’s something for everyone – even a group for freelancers.
  4. Newsletters* – Sign up for newsletters for local bloggers. Often times they make references to events and happenings
  5. Vayable* – Be a tourist in your own city and sign up for an experience with a local to learn about something new. There’s a wide range of offerings, so expand your mind.
  6. Gidsy* – Scope out a new activity. If you sign up for a group one chances are you’ll meet others in the process.
  7. Creative Mornings – This monthly breakfast series of inspiring talks takes place around the world. (Paris talk this Friday!). Sign up for the newsletter for your local chapter for updates, and follow them on their social media channels as well. RSVP required as the spaces tend to fill up fast. Don’t worry, if you miss one, they’re all posted online.
  8. COlunching* – The idea is you sign up on the platform for an upcoming lunch and network with a new group of people while trying out a local restaurant.
  9. Dating* – Hey, just throwing it out there. Many of these sites are international now. OKCupid is free, Match.com has a fee. (Too small a presence in Paris, but I like the concept behind How About We for proposing an activity to get out and do together rather than chatting online)
  10. Activities* – While the French are possibly the least athletic group I’ve ever met, running clubs, swim or basketball teams, or yoga at least increase your chances of having to meet new people. On the other hand, Paris is also a great place to take cooking courses.
  11. Franglish – This is like speed-dating for foreign languages, but the main intention is language exchange with French and English over a drink.
  12. The American Library – There are regularly great speakers and free events here, but also a supportive community of expats. (Membership required for library).
  13. The American Church – Every fall they offer “Bloom Where You’re Planted” aimed at helping you get your bearings around life in France. Year-round they also offer a job/apartment board on site. 
  14. Message Paris – This is a parenting group for English-speaking parents in Paris. Great info for kids.  
  15. Cours Municpaux – The local Mairie de Paris system offers wonderfully affordable “continuing education” courses. Some can be quite intense, meeting 3x a week. I took an advanced French class which was possibly the most internationally diverse classroom I’ve ever been in (very cool), but there are also computer, art and design courses too. Just note the French style of teaching may not be what you’re used to as an American. Also, be aware that it is a bureaucratic process involving paperwork + a passport sized photo. Classes fill up fast so sign up early.
  16. Bonjour Bonjour app – I haven’t tried this yet, but it’s an app encouraging spontaneous social adventures.

Ok, your turn! What other ideas do you have for getting out and about in Paris, or anywhere?

Photo from Instagram. Follow me there!

7 comments

  • I came here for 3 months, decided to do meetic/meetup/etc just to meet interesting people, and I ended up meeting my now boyfriend of 2 years via meetic and my best French friend via meetup. So I highly recommend taking the plunge! (and okcupid is more Anglo than meetic but smaller. I met some great guys there too)

    Great suggestion about eventbrite. I never would have thought of that!

  • Danielle, there will be more Creative Mornings! :) Glad you approve of the list.

    Lynn, so great to hear. I can’t tell you how many friends I’ve made through twitter. The catch is you’re just having conversations and are not actively thinking/stressing about “I need to make friends” — it just happens.

    Anne

  • Hi Anne, although I don’t live in Paris (I live in Evreux, Normandy) I really enjoy following you and other fellow expats blogs. It helps me navigate Paris when I go in from time to time. Unfortunately, being a smaller town, not all of the options available in Paris are always available here. I’ve found AVF (Accueil des Villes Francaise) to be helpful for meeting people and learning about the town. My chapter has even begun offering French classes for foreigners. The local mediatheque also has local cinema nights, etc. that are another great option. Thanks for all the great info!

    Juana

  • What a great resource. I hope to get to Paris in the spring. Though I will just be visiting. But here in the states I moved from New York to Seattle which is also known for being closed, they refer to it as “The Seattle Freeze” I had no problems making friends there but most of them were not natives sad to say and I did end up moving back to New York..hhmmn.

    Ali of:

    http://www.aliandang.com

  • What a great resource. I hope to get to Paris in the spring. Though I will just be visiting. But here in the states I moved from New York to Seattle which is also known for being closed, they refer to it as “The Seattle Freeze” I had no problems making friends there but most of them were not natives sad to say and I did end up moving back to New York..hhmmn.

    Ali of:

    http://www.aliandang.com

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