Although most expats who live in France have reported that France is quite a difficult country for forming friendships, it is still possible! I have met some of my closest friends while living in France. Here’s a look at how to find friendship in France.
How to Find Friends in France
There are a lot of different ways that you can find friends in France. All of the ways listed below will work, but you have to put yourself out there.
So before you read them, you need to follow this main tip to friendship in France:
Go to EVERY event you’re invited to for the first few months. Don’t wait to create friendships in France. It’s an easy thing to overlook, but it could be the difference between you staying in France or heading on that flight back home.
Here are the top ways to find great friendships in France:
In my opinion, this is the BEST way to make friends in France.
There are a lot of different Facebook groups for people who live in France. You can join a group for your city or region, or you can join a group for people who have similar interests.
To find groups, just go to Facebook and search for “France” or “French” plus whatever keyword you’re looking for. You could search for “France expat” or “France travel” or “Students in _____ (Your city)”.
For example, I live in Nice, France so some of my favorite groups are “English-speakers in Nice – Anglophones à Nice”, “Nice Expat Events”, and “BlaBla Language Exchange – Nice (France)”.
You can also join groups that have the same interests as you do in the city that you live in. If you like to exercise then you can join a workout group, if you like to paint then you can join a group for artists.
Another thing that you can do is create your own group. For example, if you can’t find a friends group in your city then make a group called “Friends in ______ (your city).” Almost everyone in the world has a Facebook account so you are sure to find someone in your city that can be your friend!
One of the best ways to make friends in a new country is to participate in language exchanges. In France, there are a lot of opportunities to do this, both online and offline.
BlaBla language exchange is one of the best language exchanges in France. They have language exchanges in 21 cities in France.
When I first moved to Nice this is the first thing I did to find friends. I really wanted to learn French and the French people at the exchanges really want to learn English so it worked out perfectly.
Another way is to just go on Facebook at type in “Language Exchange ______ (your city).” There are multiple language exchange groups in Paris, Nice, Lyon, Marssie, everywhere!
I have to say that this is my favorite app to find friends in any country, especially France!
Meetup has events and groups that you can join and have activities that happen almost daily depending on your city.
Here is a picture of the “Events” section of the website for Nice. There are literally hundreds of events just for this month so if you can’t find even a single friend at all of these events then you are hopeless.
The “Groups” section is just as helpful. There are so many different groups to join that it is almost overwhelming.
You can also start your own group and events if you can’t find anything that suits your needs. This is a great app so make sure that you join and meet up with 50 million people worldwide!
Bumble BFF is another great way to meet people in France. You simply download the Bumble app and then go to the selection bar in the top left corner of the app. Then select the BFF selection to make friends!
I’ve tried to do this option and it actually works pretty well! It works just like the dating portion of the app. You swipe left or right if you think that they would make a good friend for you.
I got a few people to go out and go to a cafe with me and it was a good time!
Bars and Clubs
Bars, clubs, and discotheques are all great ways to meet new people and have a great time while doing it!
Obviously, in big cities like Paris, you have an unlimited number of bars to choose from. Just find the nearest one to you, go do a walk-by and make sure that there are plenty of people, head in, order a drink, and start talking to people.
If you are trying to find English-speaking people then try going to a pub or try typing “English bar” into Google Maps.
To make fast friends at a bar, try going out on a holiday or during a big game when people are more likely to want to socialize with people they’ve never met before.
Attend House Parties
Once you’ve met a few people, make sure to get their information so you can meet up again! And if you’re invited to any house party, make sure that you go!
They’re pretty popular here in France, even expats hosting their own house parties.
Generally, you come for some snacks and to mingle. Make sure to bring a bottle of wine or some flowers for your host!
This is one of the best ways to meet a bunch of new people all at once. And if you don’t get invited to any, try hosting one!
There are a lot of different dating apps out there to choose from when it comes to finding your true love. However, you can use them to find friends as well. I’ve left this one for last since it’s definitely not the best option.
In France, the most popular dating app is Tinder. So just download the app and then when you are creating your profile just put that you are looking for friends in your bio.
This is not the best way to make friends in France but I’ve generally found that men in Europe are a lot nicer than Americans and usually are capable of just having conversations without expecting anything from it.
How to Become Friends with a French Person
If you are looking for French friends this is where it gets a little tricky. Just like anywhere in the world, trying to find a friend that doesn’t speak your language as a first language can be difficult.
There are a few things you should keep in mind if you want to be friends with a French person. First, remember that they value personal space and may not be as touchy-feely as you are used to.
Second, they tend to be direct and honest in their communication, so don’t take it personally if they give you constructive criticism.
Finally, they love good food and wine, so invite them over for a dinner party or take them out to a nice restaurant!
French Language Barrier
I would highly suggest that you learn some French before looking for a French friend. When I go up to French people and they realize I don’t speak French very well they always ask why I don’t speak French yet.
They always will give you a hard time for not knowing fluent French no matter how short of a time that you’ve been in France.
That is why I would suggest that you go to a few language exchanges first before you start looking for a French friend group.
French Friend Groups
French friend groups are pretty hard to crack. They usually have had the same friends since they were children so you will usually be the odd one out for a while.
Some people have said that it felt like no matter what they said it didn’t really get a response. Remember, that humor, conversation, small talk, everything is different in France than in your country.
One of the best ways to make friends with a French person is to find common interests. Do you like hiking? Skiing? Playing chess? There are likely plenty of French people who share your interests, so get out there and connect with them!
One of the best things about being friends with a French person is that you get to learn more about their culture.
Be sure to ask them lots of questions about their country and culture, and be open to trying new things. You may be surprised at how much you enjoy French food and wine!
Most French people have close-knit friend groups that they stick to for most of their socializing.
If you want to be friends with a French person, it’s important to get to know their friends as well. This may take some time, but it will be worth it in the end!
The French Usually Don’t Do Small Talk
One thing that I love about living in France is that small talk is usually avoided. Don’t be surprised if you go to a party and only a few minutes in, people are having a serious discussion about the French education system or whether phones are making us less creative people.
This is another barrier to entry for those wanting to learn French. You won’t be talking much about your favorite color, but you should be able to discuss deeper topics like religion, politics, education, etc.
How to Find Expats Friends in France
Like I said previously, making friends with expats in France is the easiest way to go. There are so many people from all parts of the world in France.
Expats in France can relate to each other on life in France as an expat, the difficulties of immigrating and learning a new language, French bureaucracy, etc.
If you looking for expats you can just head over to Facebook or one of the apps that I recommended above.
So, Get Out There and Make Some Friends in France!
As long as you sign up for events, make yourself go to as many as possible, and get integrated into a community in France, you’ll be well on your way to having a new friendship in France that you’ll cherish for years to come!
Thursday 11th of August 2022
Another great way of meeting people is through https://www.internations.org/. Paris has a very active chapter with many great events every month. Of course, you'll meet more expats from other countries than French people, but the French are sufficiently represented and it was a good way to meet and make friends.