Sam and Brenna are both proponents of trying out the Parisian love scene. Just like entering any new culture, be prepared to abandon any and all experience you’ve had in the past. France is different. Make out with a dude on a dance floor? You might be in a committed relationship. Have a coffee with a Frenchie? You’ll be meeting her family for lunch the next day.
After three year’s in Europe, she was appalled to hear her New York friend refer to the relationship status with a guy she regularly (6/7 nights) spent the night with as “we’re talking.” Really? Talking? The notion of dating has never seemed to exist in her experience in Paris. Either you were with the person and no one else, or you weren’t at all. All or nothing. Like anything else French, you do something, you do it all the way, or at least you talk about doing it all the way. Of course, the French have a reputation for sleeping outside of committed relationships (not that they do it more than other cultures, just that it tends to be more talked about) and of course this is anecdotal, but just be prepared to forget all rules and start from scratch. Brenna’s now married to a French/Swedish man.
One thing that separates Paris from Anglo metropolises like London or NYC is the lack of the “dating scene”. As Brenna said above, the French are much more “all or nothing” than Americans when it comes to romance. Young people arriving in France will also note that just about everyone they meet is “maqué” or taken. In many ways, Paris is a city for couples, where the natives meet early, marry young and begin reproducing quickly afterwards (all in line with the country’s pro-natalist policies).
Although currently single, when Sam was in a serious relationship, she found herself in the Paris couple bubble, socializing with other young couples at dinner parties and bars all while single friends in Manhattan were doing online dating and meeting people at clubs and bars. This picture of Parisian romance may seem idyllic and old fashioned and it is nice if you’re in a relationship. However, being single in the city isn’t always easy. Meeting someone who is young, attractive and available is hard once the context of school and student life are removed. What’s more, you do stand out more if you’re going solo as so many people are in relationships.
Of course, sites like Meetic, Match.com, Adopt un Mec and Craigslist abound for online dating, but don’t rule out the possibility of a coup de foudre (love at first sight) in the street, on the metro, or at the odd friend’s party.
Or, you could always take Catherine Cloe Cahoon’s advice…