The ever so elusive French women. Do you even stand a chance? With this guide – definitely yes!
- What French girls are actually like – looks, attitudes, and that “it” factor
- Singles nightlife in the 5 major French cities
- How to chat up French women online
- Becoming the next Serge Gainsbourg*, a.k.a. the ultimate fetish for French girls
* if you don’t know who that is, Google it. You won’t get far in French dating without some Gainsbourg vibes!
French Women: A Comprehensive Overview
The “French woman” is almost an archetype in the US. Basic college girls throughout the country have posters of Paris, sport bright red lipstick, and read “How To Be Parisian Wherever You Are” like it’s the Bible.
But is the real French girl in a permanent state of sexy nonchalance?
Only kind of.
Red Lipstick, Shabby Chic, and Skinny Legends
Looks-wise, I think you’ll be very happy with French women. While they’re not all fashion model skinny or sport the perfect messy/sexy hair every day, some things are in the culture.
For example, dressing style is a lot more important in France than in the US. French girls wouldn’t be caught dead in booty shorts, sweatpants, or (God forbid!) pyjamas out of the house. They’re not fashion victims, either. You’ll rarely see French women in super trendy pieces. Timeless chic is the name of the game.
In France, putting yourself together is a matter of respect. French women grow up seeing their mothers, older sisters, and basically all females in their lives, dressing nicely and putting effort into their look. Of course, the whole thing with French style is you shouldn’t overdo it.
She wants to look hot… But not like she’s trying to look hot.
Makeup, hair, and accessories tend to be minimal but stylish. French women prioritise health – a glow to their skin, soft and luscious hair, a toned up figure. You’d rarely see them in full-glam makeup… And yet, bold lipstick is just as popular as pop culture would have you believe. If she plans on kissing you, though, you won’t see her in cherry red chapstick.
French Women Don’t Get Fat?
This is absolutely a myth. There are chubby French girls, though not as many land whales. This is because French people actually eat homemade food and they can restrain themselves.
Most French girls have never been on a diet because they have good eating habits to begin with. Fast food is limited to once per week, and they rarely have dessert. Portion control is also important – you’ll notice that right away if you go to French McDonald’s. No more bucket-sized drinks for you!
Plus, most of the pre-packaged food in France doesn’t contain as much salt, sugar, or fats as in the US. Just try French Oreos!
They Don’t Shave?
Also a myth. This dates back to World War II. A lot of things have changed since then. If anything, LA feminists are more likely to not shave their armpits than French girls.
French Women In Relationships
Dating culture in France is very different to the US and even other parts of Europe. For starters:
There is no dating.
You’re either a couple, or you’re not. From the first date/first kiss, you are together and exclusively so. Even talking extensively and flirting with multiple people is seen as bad form.
But I thought all French women cheated?
The French aren’t saints but they cheat just the same amount as other nations. Boys and girls, too. So don’t worry, most French women are repulsed by cheating, you won’t lose them to the next Gainsbourg look-alike that comes their way. You did Google who that was, right?
Weirdly enough, the stereotype of French girls cheating comes from the exclusive dating culture. It doesn’t sound logical, but it is. The best explanation comes from my friend Anne, a real-life Parisian and a 100% a French girl:
‘So if I was seeing somebody… And suddenly, I meet this amazing person and I want to get to know them, and we start talking. Do you think I should keep seeing my boyfriend? Clearly not, but men can’t accept they’re dumped. They always think something else was going on with the other guy.’
Basically, French women aren’t afraid of getting into a relationship… But they also have no scruples about leaving it!
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. How soon…?
There is no exact science to it.
France is much more sexually liberated than basically any other place on Earth. They’re not promiscuous, they just don’t attach the same shame/expectations/stereotypes to having or not having sex. As a result, sex on the first date is perfectly possible and it doesn’t mean the relationship can’t progress into something serious and long-term.
What they say about the French is true, though. They’re pretty damn good in bed. This means you better up your game, too. Oral is a two-way street, for example. Anyway, Cosmo tips aside, just ask your partner. French women being open = a better experience in the bedroom (and beyond)!
How To Impress A French Woman
French people have different standards of sexiness. The je ne sais quoi is a big thing for them. When it comes to the men they like, it’s rarely the perfect, polished, handsome man.
Two of the biggest male sex symbols in France are Serge Gainsbourg and Vincent Cassel. Neither of them is traditionally good-looking! Heck, Serge Gainsbourg was frequently described as gargoyle-like and disgusting.
So to get a French girl, I should be ugly?
No, obviously not. If you look at both Serge and Vincent, they have an unshakeable self-confidence. They’re not cocky, nor are they actively trying to impress. Instead, they represent the ultimate tall, dark stranger. The air of mystery, the subtle arrogance, the decadence of their behaviour, this is what draws people in.
You can’t fake sexy nonchalance but you can try. Here are a few things:
- Embrace your 5 o’clock shadow… Or just stop shaving for a few days. French women are all about that stubble – it gives you the look of a man who can’t be bothered about the way he’s perceived.
- Practice quiet confidence. It’s easy to go on and on about your achievements. Being overly enthusiastic, however, can completely ruin your chances with a French girl. Instead, only mention your success in a casual, humble way, almost as an afterthought. I guarantee this will impress her way more.
- Smell good (but not too good). Don’t shower in cologne. Just a few droplets of a high-quality one will do the trick.
- Hot and cold game – yes, it’s a bit childish, but it can really work wonders at the beginning. Don’t be too casual or too romantic from the get-go. Switch it up. Keep her guessing. Is this “how to be a jerk” type of advice? Probably, but if you only use it in moderation it’s effective and almost ethical.
To sum these up in a single sentence, here is what Vincent Cassel said about young Gérard Depardieu (and why the dude was a sex symbol):
“He made very bold choices, he was unpredictable, he was attractive but ugly at the same time, there was this strange face from one angle to another. He’s not cute, but he’s a somebody – so I guess, you know, that’s what attracts people.”
Channel that and French women will fall at your feet.
Meeting Your French Girl(s)
Now that you’re an expert on French girls and their ‘type’, where can you meet some cuties? I am glad you asked!
- In bars and clubs – yup, this is still very much in fashion in France, even with the rise of Tinder.
- Online – let’s face it, it’s easier, you get more options, and you don’t need French.
- Approaching by day – not impossible but it depends on the location. Cafés and university campuses should be your main location, not shopping malls.
There is no need for pickup lines (or any lines at all) when you’re chatting her up. A simple ‘hey!’ can often be enough. Or, in the words of that same Anne (the French girl I enlisted as consultant on this article):
“If there is an energy, you feel it!”
French seduction is about non-verbal cues. Sit by that pretty girl in the bar, smile, say hi. That’s about enough.
For this guide, I looked into the five major cities of France and their singles-friendly bars and clubs. Before you ask, no, not all nightlife is good for approaching your next chérie – you want a place where people actually mingle and, French people being much more private than Americans, this is not every bar.
Paris: Pick-up Bars & Clubs
If you want to meet younger girls (in their 20s, most of them students):
- Le Point Ephemère on the Canal Saint-Martin for drinks, local bands, and a mingle-friendly atmosphere
- Aux Folies which started out as a bar du quartier, a neighbourhood bar, but now attracts equal parts locals and friendly hipsters
- Le Rendez-vous des Amis – a dive bar right under Place de Tetre and Montmartre, with none of the touristy atmosphere but the perfect place to meet your French bohemian muse.
For sophisticated and a slightly older crowd:
- Le Petit Bain – a bar and concert venue expanding onto the quai and boat. Chat up ladies at the upstairs terrace or invite that beautiful girl to dance downstairs!
- Little Red Door in the Marais is a speakeasy with excellent cocktails and a lively atmosphere.
- Faust under Pont Alexandre III is the epitome of a chic club (even if it is literally under a bridge), equally good for drinks after work and dancing the night away!
Lyon: No Longer France’s “Second City”
Fair warning: people from Lyon dislike Parisians. In fact, most of France has a special disdain for people in the capital. They don’t outwardly hate them but… Let’s just say Parisian rudeness is not just a myth!
Meet much warmer (but just as pretty) French women in these Lyon nightlife locations:
- The Boat – enjoy some of the city’s best cocktails in a beautiful location (outdoor seating and all)
- Azar Club – known for their beer selection, Azar definitely attracts a younger and local-only crowd.
- Hot Club Lyon – this one has legendary status among the clubs in France. It’s also a prime hookup location, as the nights here can get pretty wild!
Lyon has plenty of students and they tend to be easier to approach. Still, trying your luck with multiple girls on the same night is a big no-no. Lyon women like to play hard-to-get so don’t give up on the first try. Direct your attention to just one girl and you’re pretty much guaranteed to succeed.
Toulouse: Love In The Pink City
Before you ask, yes, they definitely call it that. Toulouse was also ranked the best city to live and study at, so you know there will be a lot of college cuties. On top of it, it’s a favourite among international students so you’ll have your pick among Erasmus chicks as well!
Check out these singles nightlife favourites:
- Chez Tonton serves pastis for only 2.50€ and beer for 4€, is it really a surprise all the students flock here? On the downside, it can get pretty crowded, so come early(ish). For a French night out, this is still 10 PM on a weekend or 9 PM on a weeknight, especially in summer.
- Le Saint des Seins is a lively rock’n’roll bar with regular performances by local bands. It’s also one of the friendliest venues in Toulouse – it’s easy to fit in, even if you come completely solo.
- L’Envol Côté Plage might be far away from the city centre, but nothing compares to a cocktail with your feet in the sand (and eyes to the starlit sky). Plus, there is a regular bus service from the city centre!
Marseille: The Southern Belle
While it may be a touristy city, Marseille offers a lot in terms of local nightlife… And opportunities to pick up local women! Try your luck in one of the following locations:
- R2 Le Rooftop is perfect for electronic-music aficionados and it attracts some of the hottest girls in the city (the slightly snotty, high-maintenance type, though)
- Longchamp Palace, the exact opposite of R2, is an artsy bar, complete with chalkboards, soft lights, and a patio. Come here and meet Marseille’s new starving artists (and their muses).
- Le Cab (the friendly nickname for Le Cabaret Aléatoire) is Marseille’s claim to club fame – an industrial wasteland turned cultural space, turned hot disco. They’ve been a staple on the city’s nightlife scene for their acoustics (the high ceilings help), friendly mix of music, and revellers of all ages!
Lille: The Gem Up North
Lille is easily overlooked by visitors but you’re missing out! Here are the best places to meet beauties in France’s ch’ti capital:
- Les 3 Brasseurs is a microbrewery which hits the sweet spot between friendly pub and hipster central. Attracting students and older locals alike, Les 3 Brasseurs is the best place to start your night in Lille.
- Le Splendid, a cinema from the 1950s, turned concert venue is a delightful Lille surprise. The intimate venue is the perfect backdrop for an old-fashioned romance! And if live music is not your things, you can always hang out at the bar in the foyer and chat up a cutie there.
- Le Tripostal started as a temporary cultural centre but stuck around, a favourite among Lille’s young club-goers. By day, it’s still a space for exhibitions and performances, though, so it can double as a date location.
Meet French Women Online
First things first, let’s cover apps:
Tinder In France
It’s not a hookup app, though it can be. French Tinder can be a perfectly viable way of meeting your future husband or wife. Since the French don’t really make a distinction between dating and being in a relationship, a lot of couples actually start there.
That said, Tinder is much better for the 20-30 age group. Women in their 30s tend to focus on social dating, their career/cat, or more ‘serious’ dating platforms.
French Cupid is one of the Cupid Media niche dating sites.
They’re all made for international dating and (as of recently) they have a common database. This means whether a French girl registers on International Cupid, Afro Introductions, or even Indian Cupid her profile will appear in your search on International.
Personally, I am a fan of French Cupid. It’s a more ‘sophisticated’ dating platform… I mean, at least you have an actual profile, you’re not just posting a few selfies and swiping away. The girls you meet there are more relationship-minded and they’re open to dating a foreigner.
You can use it to meet people long-distance, too. One of my favourite ways to use online dating is to line up dates before I actually get to a place. In France, this is especially useful, because meeting locals is sometimes tricky (even in the aforementioned singles bars).
Talking to French Girls Online
It’s a bit different from other countries. For instance, you need to actually fill out your profile. “Higher-investment” websites like International Cupid require people to put in effort. If you only fill out the basics, it looks lazy and unattractive.
On the topic of International Cupid (and other premium dating sites), to communicate with another member at least one of you has to be a paid member. In France, refreshingly enough, more girls are ok with paying for a premium membership.
That said, I still think it’s best to get the membership (it’s inexpensive and all-inclusive). This way you get to talk to all the women on the site.
Should you message her first?
Usually, yes. French women like to play hard to get. The last thing they would do is approach you themselves. They’re pretty good at the ‘hot and cold’ game, too. There is no shame in double texting them once or twice. Triple texting? Overtexting? No way!
French-ify your profile!
Remember how French girls are all about nonchalant sexiness. It’s time to put that into practice. This is not the place for the headshot from Linkedin or a FaceTuned pic from Instagram. Simple, high-quality photos are the name of the game, and not too many of them, either.
One really great profile picture and then one or two photos that show off different aspects of your life. Include a picture of your hobbies, a trip you really enjoyed, or you and your pet as a conversation starter.
On Cupid Media sites you will need to fill out your profile. Don’t put ‘non-smoker’ as a requirement for the girls you meet. Unfortunately, most French women smoke occasionally.
Finally, as in all other places, avoid boasting about your career and achievements. As impressive as they may be, low-key is the name of the game when you’re trying to win over a French girl!
Ask for her number ASAP
French women are independent and, frankly, sometimes bitchy. They forget about the guys they message on dating apps. To avoid becoming just another forgotten match, take the conversation out of the site/app as soon as possible. Ask for her number and talk on Whatsapp instead.
No Extreme Romance
You have to be a bit faux-romantic to date French girls. There is no need for full dinner dates or bringing her flowers. Keep the first dates low-key but exciting. An art gallery, live music, or even just a picnic (but pick up good wine) are much better!
Dating French Women: Yay Or Nay?
100% yay for me. That said, the better you know the culture (and expect the differences), the better your experience will be. To that end, if you have any personal experiences dating French women that you’d like to share, please do it in the comments below. We’re all dying to know!