Fiona McMurrey
Courtesy of France Channel.

Moving to a new city, especially one as vibrant and culturally rich as Paris, can be both exciting and challenging - especially if French is your second or third language. Building a social circle, particularly with fellow expatriates, is very useful and comforting to help you adjust to the massive transition. Here are a few strategies for expanding your social circle in a city that can be at times as lonely as it is lovely.

1) Attend Expat Events and Meetups:

Paris hosts numerous events specifically designed for expatriates many of which are accessible through Facebook groups and other sites pertaining to social organization. Attend expat meetups, language exchange gatherings, or cultural events where you can connect with like-minded individuals navigating similar experiences.

2) Language Classes and Workshops:

Enroll in language classes or workshops to not only improve your French skills but also meet fellow expats sharing your language-learning journey. These classes provide a structured environment for building connections while honing different skills - my personal favorite is my Anglophone swim group who have helped me adjust to the etiquette, or lack thereof, at French public pools.

3) Utilize Expat Online Platforms:

Bumble friends, Facebook groups, and events posted by Anglophone accounts on Instagram can also create spaces where you can engage and expand your community with fellow expats.

4) Attend Expat-Friendly Cafés and Hangouts:

Discover expat-friendly cafés, bars, and hangouts in neighborhoods like Le Marais or Belleville. These areas, albeit sometimes touristy, often attract a diverse crowd, making it easier to strike up conversations with fellow expatriates in a more relaxed setting.

5) Volunteer for Community Projects:

Get involved in volunteer projects or community initiatives. This not only allows you to contribute to your new community but also introduces you to people from all over the world while also bringing you closer to your new community.

6) Attend Cultural and Artistic Events:

Paris is renowned for its proliferation and sanctification of artists throughout history. Attend exhibitions, performances, or art openings to immerse yourself in the city's creativity - more likely than not you will hear murmurings of English! Palais de Tokyo for example hosts large events that attract people from all over the city and the world.

7) Be Open and Approachable:

Finally, be open-minded and approachable (to whatever degree you are comfortable with, some of us introverts definitely still need to work on this…). Learn the French art of complaining and you’ll be able to have a conversation anywhere, particularly on RER platforms and in any line.

Building a social network in Paris as an expatriate takes effort, but the rewards are immeasurable - it truly takes a village. By actively participating in expat-centric events, clubs, and social gatherings, you'll not only make friends but also enrich your experience of living in the City of Lights. Embrace the opportunities, be open to new connections, and savor the unique experience of making friends in this captivating city.