Congratulations on your decision to relocate to France! You’re about to embark on an incredible journey. However, as you begin packing your belongings, you may wonder how to make friends in a new country.

Don’t be alarmed; it’s not as difficult as it appears. You will soon be meeting new people and making friends all over France with a little effort and a positive attitude.

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Here are the best ways for a foreigner to make friends in France.

Social Media Is Your Best Friend 

Social media is an incredible tool for making friends abroad, and it is likely the primary resource I use to make most of my friends here now.

Some of my favorite ways to make friends on social media include:

Facebook Groups

There are hundreds of Facebook groups where you can meet people in France, such as Expats in France, Americans in Paris, Au-pairs in Paris, English speakers on the Riviera, International students in Paris, and so on. This is a great method to meet new people!

Everyone in these groups is a foreigner or international student who probably doesn’t know many people. People in such groups are eager to make new friends and have fun together.

When I first arrived in France, I joined a number of Facebook groups and attended a variety of events, such as wine tastings, hikes, picnics, language exchanges, and more. I made some great friends through these events, so definitely try it out!

Instagram Hashtags

If you don’t use Facebook or prefer Instagram, you can use hashtags to find people in your neighborhood. For example, if you search the hashtag “#expatfrance” or #expatparis”, you’ll find a slew of people in Paris looking to make new friends.

Bumble BFF

Bumble isn’t just for dating; it’s also a great way to meet new faces and make friends in a new city. Most of you are familiar with Bumble as a dating app, but there is also a “BFF” feature on Bumble that allows you to meet other people looking for friends.

This is how I met my now-close friend Chloe, with whom I spent the majority of my time in Nice. She introduced me to her friend circle, who introduced me to their friends, and so forth.

It’s extremely simple to use and a fantastic way to meet new people, especially if you are moving to a new city where you do not know anyone.

YouTube

Many YouTubers and content creators live in France (particularly in Paris) and document their lives online. This is an excellent chance to learn about French culture and what it’s like to live in France.

Furthermore, many of these content creators make videos about meeting new faces and making friends in France so that you can get advice directly from them. Some of the best channels are Damon Dominique, Purple Palace, Tiffanie Davis, and of course – Where Tinna Travels!

If you see a content creator on there who also lives in France and thinks they’d be fun to hang out with, send them a message and strike up a conversation. They’d be happy to give you some tips on how to live in the city, and they might even be willing to meet up and hang out with you.

I’ve met a few people in France who saw my videos and messaged me on Instagram or Twitter. It is a really cool way to connect with people who share your interests in terms of content and personality.

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Make The First Move

This next tip may put some people off. When it comes to becoming friends as a foreigner in France, you must sometimes take the initiative. And by making the first move, I mean approaching someone and asking them to be friends.

It can be terrifying, but it’s definitely worth a shot.

I know many people who are too afraid to do this, so as a result, they remain lonely and do not make new friends. Be not one of those people! If you see someone you think might be a friend, approach them and introduce yourself. Begin a conversation, ask them questions about themselves, and express your desire to learn more about them.

It’s normal to be rejected; it happens to everyone. However, if you never try, you will never know what might have happened.

Talking To People You Know Or Have Met Before But Do Not Know Well

This one is a little less difficult, but it can still be nerve-racking.

If you have someone in mind who you’ve met before or who you know but don’t know well, invite them to hang out. Then you can see what happens.

You can invite them out for coffee, lunch, dinner, drinks, or even a stroll through the park. If you’re an au pair or nanny in France, invite them to a park playdate with your kids and their kids!

The key here is to keep it light and not appear to be trying to ask them out on a date (even though you are).

It’s fine if they say no! You can try again later or move on to another person.

If they say yes, you’re that much closer to making a new friend!

For People You Know Nothing About Or Complete Strangers:

This is most likely the most difficult, but it can also be the most rewarding.

I’m not going to lie: making friends with strangers can be difficult. However, if you want to make friends in France, you must sometimes put yourself out there and talk to strangers.

Here are a few ideas:

  • When you make eye contact with someone, smile at them.
  • Start a conversation with someone waiting in line at the supermarket, coffee shop, or post office.
  • Attend a meetup or join a club or sports team related to your interests.
  • Attend cultural events or festivals and engage in conversation with those in attendance.
  • Volunteer for a cause that is important to you and meets people who share your interests.
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This method can be tricky, and it’s not always easy to talk to strangers here, but I believe it will be much easier if it is another foreigner or English speaker.

For example, if you hear another person speaking English near you, this could be an opportunity to ask where they are from and strike up a conversation.

If you see someone wearing a cute outfit or wearing pretty jewelry, compliment them and use this to start a conversation! My friend Nina did this with a girl she met in Paris last year, and they ended up becoming friends and hanging out during her year here.

You’d be surprised how grateful people are for a simple compliment, and people enjoy talking about themselves.

So, just a little hype, and why wouldn’t they want to be your friend?

Try To Learn The Language

This is my next piece of advice for making friends in France, especially if you want to meet genuine French people rather than just other expats.

I know, I know, French is difficult. However, making an effort to learn the language and get to know people on a more personal level will undoubtedly pay off in the end.

Plus, it’s always nice to be able to communicate in the native language of the country in which you live!

Some pointers for learning French quickly:

Find Language Partners

Look for people in your city who are learning French and looking for language partners to study with on Facebook groups. There are usually a lot of people looking for partners, and it can be a great way to meet new people while also learning the language.

Use An App Like Duolingo Or Rosetta Stone

Both of these apps are extremely effective at teaching you a new language and are also a lot of fun to use.

Enroll In A Language Class

Consider taking a formal course at a language school in your area or online. There are many language schools in Paris and many other major cities throughout France, so you should have no trouble finding one. If you prefer an online French course, there are numerous options available.

Do A Language Exchange

You can sometimes find French people looking to do a language exchange with someone. A language exchange allows you to practice your French while they practice their English (or whatever other language you speak).

Language exchanges are one of my favorite ways to learn because they are free and allow you to meet a local!

Learn The Cultural Rules/Etiquette

One of the most significant barriers to making friends in a new country is a lack of understanding of cultural norms and etiquette.

For example, in France, it is considered impolite to inquire about someone’s age or salary, so if you don’t know these details, you may offend someone.

Learn the DOs and DONTs, as well as what is taboo or not acceptable to discuss in France. You won’t make any social faux pas this way, and you’ll be able to blend in much better.

The French are generally more closed off and less open and friendly than other groups, but this does not preclude making friends with them.

Just remember to proceed with caution, make an effort to learn the language and culture, and be patient.

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Get Involved In Local Activities Or Groups

Participating in local activities or groups is one of the best ways to meet new people in France. This way, you’ll meet people who are interested in the same things you are, making it much easier to connect with them.

Whatever your interests are, there are usually a lot of options for activities and groups. Among the suggestions are the following:

  • Sports teams or clubs
  • Art classes
  • Wine-tasting groups
  • Cooking classes
  • Hiking groups
  • Language exchange groups
  • Expats groups

Typically, you can find information about these activities and groups online, through Facebook groups, or by asking around locally.

Check Town Halls For Local Activities

Now that we’ve gotten the virtual methods of making French friends out of the way let’s get back to basics. Town halls in France frequently host local activities such as fetes and sporting events. Visiting your local town hall is worthwhile to learn about upcoming events. There’s a chance you’ll meet your new French BFF!

Join “fête des voisins”

La Fête des Voisins, also known as The Neighbors’ Party/The Neighbors’ Day, was founded in 1990 by a group of friends to combat isolation in France’s big cities. Various neighborhoods and Town Halls each year attend this event.

Aside from providing a venue for getting to know and become friends with your neighbors, this movement has also undertaken various lofty goals, such as sponsoring neighbors who are experiencing difficulties and providing services for job search/disabled people/daycare.

Attend University Events

If you are in France to study at a university, attending university events can be a great way to meet new people. Sign up for events and make an effort to attend them. You are well aware that meeting friends requires considerable effort.

Join Local Clubs Suited To Your Interests

Whether you’re interested in

  • Journalling
  • reading books
  • urban gardening
  • Jujitsu
  • stamp collecting
  • Basketball
  • Badminton
  • Yoga
  • Pole dancing
  • or whatever activity you enjoy, there’s bound to be a local club nearby.

So investigate and find out where and when you can sign up. Similar interests are a tried and true way to meet new people and maintain friendships, so yay!

Check Out Language Exchange Events

Language exchange is another great way to meet French people in France; you can practice your French while they practice their English with you! Language exchange events frequently result in exchanging phone numbers so you can hang out outside the event. That could lead to friendship.

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Take Classes  

Perhaps you’ve always wanted to learn a certain skill. Cooking? Pilates? Writing poetry? Attend a class. It’s also a great way to meet new people in the area.

Sign Up For Lectures And Conferences

There are lectures, conferences, and tours every week, particularly in large cities such as Paris. Please take advantage of the opportunity to join them and meet new people! These events could take place in museums or other local locations. Check out Le Figaroscope to stay up to date on upcoming events.

Hit Up Your Local Bar

Clubs, in general, could be better places to meet new people. How can you talk over the music, after all? Besides, your standards after a few too many drinks might not be up to par. On the other hand, bars may be better suited for meeting new people.

Bars frequently have a set of loyal patrons who return regularly to hang out or de-stress with a glass or two of wine. Choose themed ones that are relevant to your interests to increase your chances of making new friends. Jazz bars, 90s bars, book-themed bars, sports bars, and so on are examples.

Your coworkers

If you work in France, you already have a built-in group of people you see daily-your coworkers. Coworkers can become good friends, but with French people, it may take time and a keen understanding of their culture.

Embrace Your Differences

Finally, one of the best ways to make friends in France as a foreigner is to embrace your differences.

It’s easy to feel like you’re on the outside looking in when you’re living in a foreign country. However, instead of viewing your differences negatively, consider them positively. People will be curious about you and your background, no matter how much you feel like an outsider.

Teach people about your culture and what it’s like to be from where you come from. It is a great way to meet and spend time with new people, and you might make lifelong friends as a result.

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t make a lot of friends right away; it’s natural to be shy and apprehensive when meeting new people, especially those from a different culture. Be yourself, move slowly, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

Making friends as a foreigner in France can be difficult, but it is possible. These are just a few ideas that have worked for me, and I’m confident they will also work for you. The most important thing is to be yourself and to get out of your comfort zone a little bit, to be uncomfortable, and to put yourself out there in order to get what you want.

You really have to work hard to make friends as an adult in a new place, but I promise those efforts will pay off, and you’ll be glad in the end.

Be patient, remain optimistic, and don’t be afraid to take the first step.

You might make some lifelong friends.

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Expect Some Ups And Downs

Even if you do everything correctly – learning the language, participating in local activities, baking cookies left and right – there will be awkward moments. You may have an initial connection with someone, but it does not progress. You shrug it off when it happens in your home country. But it’s more difficult as an expat – did I do something wrong? Is my language inadequate? It’s so much easier with my friends from back home!

Don’t Worry About The Little Things

And you will make numerous embarrassing errors in your new language.

I recall having dinner guests and proudly announcing that we were serving “marijuana cheese.”

This surprised the kids and made their parents unhappy. Next time, I’ll double-check my dictionary!

Don’t let these potholes get you down. Instead, learn to laugh at them.

Expect some difficulties, but keep your sense of humor.

After all, you’re living in a fantastic new country that most people can only dream about.

When All Else Fails, Get A Dog

A dog is an excellent icebreaker. I’m joking (kind of.) But it’s true that having a friendly dog, as we do, allows us to meet a surprising number of people.

Nurturing Your Friendships

Don’t rest on your laurels now that you’ve taken the first step toward meeting new people and making friends. Keeping friendships is far more difficult than meeting new people. Everyone is busy and preoccupied with life in general, so maintaining friendships with French people requires effort.

Here are some suggestions.

  • Keep cultural differences in mind and be respectful. You should avoid making a non-negotiable error with your French friends. Learn about French taboos to avoid cultural faux pas.
  • When in France, learn what to do and what not to do. This article should also be useful for non-natives and tourists.
  • Be courteous. France is a very polite society. Learn how to be polite in all of your interactions in France, from using tu and Vous correctly to knowing the appropriate words to say at appropriate times, as well as how to faire la bise.
  • Make an effort to invite guests. If you’re invited to a friend’s house, make sure to invite your French friend as well! It’s only polite to reciprocate. Having them over to bond and get hyped over good food is also a great way to foster friendships.
  • Maintain contact. Send a message sometimes to see what they’re up to—but don’t be too clingy! The French are reserved, so act accordingly or risk alienating your newfound friends.
  • Improve your conversational skills. French people are frequently opinionated and excellent conversationalists. So it’s time to up your conversation skills! Read the news, brush up on culture, and be well-versed in the topics you intend to discuss. Because the French love to argue, you should be able to defend your position!

Taboos In Small Talk And Conversations

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It Is Preferable To Communicate With A French Person In Their Language If Possible 

It makes no difference if you speak French poorly or if your pronunciation is incorrect. The goal is to give it your all. Instead of prattling off in English, this will make you appear more respectful.

(This is something I don’t mind. Other reasons why French people prefer to speak in French rather than English include difficulty pronouncing English words, which can lead to frustration with speaking in English. It’s partially because we adore our language. Yes, but not to the extent that we require everyone to communicate with us in French.)

To Greet Someone, Use “Bonjour!” In Relation To Number One

If you can’t think of anything to say in French, you can say, “Je ne parle pas francais. If you prefer, I can speak English.” “I do not speak French,” this means. Please speak in English.” When visiting France, the best thing to do is to learn some basic French phrases.

Mind Your Tu And Vous! 

There is only one type of ‘you’ word in English, regardless of who you are speaking to. You might insult someone if you don’t choose the right “you” in French. Tu indicates familiarity or closeness with the person you’re speaking with. Vous, on the other hand, maintains a respectful distance and formality. Make sure to select the appropriate you for each situation.

The French Do Not Well Receive Conversation Starters That Are Popular In Other Cultures

These include monetary or personal inquiries such as “what do you do for a living?”, “do you have children?” and “are you married?”. Stick to less risky topics like French culture, art, food, music, philosophy, architecture, and popular events. Just make sure you understand what you’re saying.

Never Show Off Your Wealth During A Conversation

This is considered shameless and impolite. Your words will not be regarded as a sign of social standing.

Properly Address People

To address someone, use the words Madame (for females), Mademoiselle (for young females), and Monsieur (for males).

The French are generally formal, which is why they are often perceived as aloof or cold. You can be friendly and warm without overdoing it.

If You’re In France On Business, Avoid Droning On About Business Meetings Over Lunch

The French believe that life is more than just working nonstop. Sit back, relax, and talk about something other than business. There’ll be plenty of time for that when you’re not surrounded by delicious food.

Begin With A Quick “Bonjour,” Then Add Madame, Mademoiselle, Or Monsieur

Always say “merci” and “s’il Vous plait” (please). Good manners are always appreciated.

It Is Considered Impolite To Inquire About Political Preferences

Wait for the person to initiate that type of conversation; don’t jump in.

Praises 

Praises and compliments about everything French (rather than criticisms) are generally positive.

No Lengthy Talks 

Stay focused on your thoughts on French leaders and history.

Conclusion

After reading this article, I hope you’ll be better prepared to make new French friends or keep the ones you already have! It’s well worth it! I couldn’t live in France without my French friends. We have a lot of fun together! They teach me about their country while also giving me a new perspective on – and appreciation for – mine. Opening yourself to a new and foreign culture tests you, sometimes painfully, but it is all part of the learning process. My life is richer because I now live, truly, in two countries.