I just spent a month in Paris and have the DL on how to meet other expats living in the city.
When I arrived to Paris I didn’t know anyone and didn’t really have any kind of plan. I didn’t know how I was going to meet people, or practice my French, or even what I was going to do with my time. So, as soon as I arrived, I went online and googled a few keywords such as “French conversation groups in Paris” and “meeting expats in Paris”. Here’s what happened….
When I looked online for opportunities to practice French or meet other expats in Paris, the first 3 or 4 results were meetup.com groups. So I logged into my account and found tons of events that were exactly what I was looking for.
In terms of finding ways to practice your French, check out my post “Free or cheap ways to practice your French in Paris“. In addition to the language practice aspect, I also found many of these events to be very good ways to meet other expats living in Paris.
For socializing or networking with other expats, as well as French interested in connecting with the international scene, there are happy hours, after work drinks, dinners, networking socials (I went to the Paris Digital Nomads bar event), trainings (I went to the free workshop on building an online community for your website or blog hosted by Expats Paris), tours, picnics (every Sunday there is a huge international picnic with hundreds of people), walks around different neighborhoods, parties, wine tastings, concerts, bar nights, etc.
In addition to language practice events and social events, I also noticed quite a few fitness or sport-related groups. Personally, I’m a salsa dancer, so I signed up for the Salsa Group of Paris, and although I didn’t end up meeting up with anyone from the group, joining was a good way to find out about where to dance salsa in Paris (I recommend Tuesday nights on the Atlantique Concorde boat). I also met foreigners that attended the “affordable yoga classes” and met people that way, and I noticed various running and fitness training groups for those that want to meet like-minded people at these types of events.
I went to a couple of tripmeeters.com events: first, a book launch for the recent travel memoirs of a French girl, and then the following week, a happy hour language exchange event. Both of these events were free of charge, and in my opinion a great way to make new friends and practice French.
At the book launch I ended up connecting with 3 expats (from France, Iran and India) who would become quite good friends by the end of the month. They were expats that, like me, had been living abroad long-term in multiple countries and spoke multiple languages. I also met quite a few French interested in travel, languages and meeting foreigners (or even just practicing their English). At this event I also met a Frenchman that spoke Spanish (as do I) who invited me to a weekly bar night for Spanish-speakers listed on couchsurfing.com.
After hearing that there was a group I wanted to connect with listed on couchsurfing.com but not on meetup.com, I decided to check out events on this website as well. I found the spanish-speaking group Rafael had told me about (El Aperitivo de Belleville), and ended up going to this get-together every week while I was in Paris, and making some good Latin American friends there. Although I am American, after 7 years in Argentina I feel quite latina so I wanted to make sure I could connect with the latin community in Paris.
Couchsurfing had tons of other events for meeting people and practicing languages, such as the Saturday afternoon East Side Cafe language exchange and the monthly Couchsurfing party, which would certainly be good way to meet other expats and world travelers.
I was already so busy with events that I didn’t even get a chance to try this website, but everyone I met mentioned it as having even more people and events than meetup.com. So, if you’re moving to Paris and looking to make new friends, this is probably a great resource.
In general, I found Paris to be a very social city, filled with exceedingly interesting, diverse and intelligent expats from all over the world, and fortunately, I found it very easy to meet them through these groups and events.