Knowing how to make friends in France always comes in handy.
As a French coach, I know making friends in a language that’s not your mother tongue can feel scary, so I’m here to help you.
In this article, you’ll learn how to meet people in France and, more importantly, how to get them to like you so you can become friends.
Let’s get started!
How to meet people in France?
Whether you’re an introvert or an extravert, there are plenty of ways to meet your future French friends.
Take advantage of the Internet
Today, meeting new people is a lot easier than before… All thanks to the power of the Internet!
I bet you already spend a lot of your time on the Web, so why not put it to good use to help you meet new people?
Join a Facebook group
Facebook may not be as popular as it used to be, but it’s still a great way to meet people.
You can find hundreds of groups on Facebook focused on meeting people in France or on a specific passion shared by all the members of the group, like wine tasting.
By joining one of those groups and being active, you’ll get to:
- Talk to a lot of different people
- Take part in the group’s live events and in-person meetups
Facebook groups are one of the best ways to meet people, especially if you’re an introvert like me!
Browse meeting websites and apps
There are plenty of websites and apps dedicated to helping you meet new people in France.
One of my favorites is meetup.com. Type in what you want to do and your city to get a list of all the events happening near you.
Pro tip: Just type in your city and hit the search icon. This shows you all the events in your city and all you have to do is browse through them to find ones you want to attend.
What I love about meetup.com is that you get all kinds of event like:
- Doing a specific activity (yoga, sport, concert, dancing, etc.)
- Attending a lecture or conference
- Going to a party
So you’re sure to find something you like!
Join a local club
Sharing common interests with people is a great way to bond with them.
Whatever you like to do, chances are there’s probably a local club nearby.
You play volleyball? Join a volleyball club.
You do yoga? Join a yoga club.
You love gardening? Join a gardening club.
All you have to do is open your Internet browser, type in the name of your activity and your city, then hit search. And voilà! Scroll through the results to find something you like.
Learn a new skill
Is there a specific skill you want to learn? Maybe it’s cooking? Singing? Painting?
Then enroll in a class! You’ll get to meet people with your interests.
Why not invite them for a drink after class and get to know them better? You’ll already have a topic to start with (your class), so it will make the conversation easier.
Go to an event
There are all sorts of events you can attend. Choose those you like best.
- University events
If you’re studying in a university in France, make sure to sign up to your university’s events. You can go there alone to meet new people or with some of your classmates to get to know them better.
- Language events
Take advantage of your native language! Lots of French people love to learn languages and would like to practice their speaking skills.
So sign up for a language exchange meetup! You’ll practice your French (if you want to) and they will practice your language. It’s a win-win.
You get to meet new people that are interested in your culture and that would like to learn more about it. It makes the conversation easier. In exchange, you also get to discover French culture in depth.
Language meetups are one of my favorite ways to make friends in a new city!
- Cultural events
France is big on culture, history, gastronomy and so many things!
Look up the events near you and go have a nice time. There will be plenty of people willing to share what they think with you and you could end up meeting very interesting people.
- Music events
If you want to meet people who like music, go to a festival. There are a lot of festivals in France, especially in the summer. You can find fun people and strike up a conversation with them.
If you live near a bar or a café, try going there regularly.
After a few days, you’ll become a regular and you’ll get the chance to chat with the other people who also hang out there several days a week.
If you have a dog, you can also take him/her out for a walk in your neighborhood.
You’ll likely meet other dog owners and your furry friends will make first contact even easier!
If there’s a dog park near you, that’s even better!
You’ll get to be surrounded by a lot of people you can chat up quite easily. After all, dog owners LOVE to talk about their pet!
Don’t forget about your coworkers
Are you working in France?
If so, try to get to know your coworkers and make friends with them. After all, you already see them everyday!
If your coworkers are shy to open up, don’t worry though!
Some French people don’t like to mix their professional and their personal lives, but that’s not necessarily a general rule, especially among the younger people!
Invite your coworkers to a drink after work for example, and with a little patience, most of them will open up and start to consider you more a friend than just a colleague.
How to get French people to like you and become friends with them?
Knowing how to meet people is an important first step, but if you want people to like you so you can become friends, follow these important tips.
Speak French (obviously!)
If you really want to make friends in France, you need to speak French!
Your French doesn’t need to be perfect, you don’t need to have a native level, but you need to make an effort to speak the language, otherwise you won’t get very far…
If you don’t speak French already, enroll in a French school near you or choose an online French course. There are plenty of options available.
French people will appreciate you for trying to speak their language and they will be much more inclined to help you and talk to you!
If you want to improve even more quickly, check out the best ways to learn French according to your learning style.
Make the first move
I know this sounds nerve-wracking, but if you wait for French people to make the first move when it comes to friendship, you might wait a long time.
It’s not their fault. Frenchies are usually reserved people, they are not exuberant and mind their own business.
That doesn’t mean they don’t want to get to know you and make friends though. But beware that you most likely will have to get out of your comfort zone and take the first step.
If you see someone you’d like to get to know better, go up to them, introduce yourself and make sure to ask them questions about themselves.
If you hit it off with someone, invite them for a drink or anything else you want.
Trust me, most French people will appreciate you making the first move!
Don’t forget your manners
French politeness is not a myth!
Always make sure to say Bonjour, Au revoir and ask people how they are doing.
Be polite and address people properly:
- vous is generally used when you don’t know someone well or at all
- tu is generally used when you’ve already talked to that person a few times and you got their permission
When you want to switch from vous to tu, just ask On peut se tutoyer ? (Can we use “tu” with each other?).
You’ll usually get a Oui, a very important step toward friendship.
Learn the French social rules
French people are big on social rules.
It might feel intimidating to you in the beginning, but the Internet is full of articles on what to do or not in France, so do a quick search and you won’t be caught unaware.
For example, avoid asking someone their age (if they look older than you) or their salary. It’s often considered impolite to ask those things and people might get offended, even if you mean well.
French people are also more on the quiet side, so avoid being too expressive when you first meet them, so you don’t scare them away. Once you become friendly, you can be more yourself and show your true colors.
By knowing the social rules and what is appropriate or not, you will fit in more easily with the natives and you’ll become more confident when you speak with them.
Keep in touch
Finally, check in with your new friends regularly or every now and then.
Send them a message to see what they are up to or invite them to do something with you if they are available.
The more you see them, the closer you’ll get and your new friendship will grow stronger.
The bottom line
Now you know exactly how to make friends in France.
Just remember to be patient with yourself because making friends is a delicate process.
You won’t want to get to know every person you speak to. Similarly, not every French person you talk to will want to get to know you.
But the more people you meet and talk to, the more chances you have to find people with whom you get on well.
If you don’t know how to strike up your first conversations with native speakers, check out my ebook Hacking French Conversation. In this step-by-step guide, you’ll learn how to get to know people and make friends in French in depth.