7 Ways for a Gal to Make French Pals

This is a guest post by Kelly Hansen.

If you are planning on moving to France, immediately finding lots of French friends and speaking French as soon as you arrive...think again. It is actually rather difficult to become integrated into a group of French people. The French, often times, know their group of friends since a very young age and it can be difficult to breach the gates of this close-knit-community. There is an art to making friends with French people. Here are 7 helpful tips to help you enter the French world:

1. Speak French.

Everyone will want to practice English with you. Stay strong and continue to speak in French! Also, be patient with yourself. It will take a couple of months to fully adjust to speaking the new language.

2. Try a city other than Paris.

Paris is so international that is hard to find a true Parisian. Paris is a rather transient city and people come and go, making it difficult to make friends for a long period of time. Try cities like Bordeaux, Nantes, Lille, Strasbourg, Marseille, Poitiers and Lyon.

(Walking down the street with friends in Bordeaux.)

3. Room with a French person

Try to find a lively French coloc (roommate). Try searching on Appartager.com, or find a temporary place to stay with a local before you find an apartment with Tripping.com. 4. Go to a school for French students. Being one of the only foreigners in the group will make making French friends from your class easier. (My International Business Management class) 5. Avoid the English speaking community. This is a tough one because it is much easier to communicate with students and expats who share your same language. If you want to hang out with the French, you have to hang out with the French and not the Anglophones. 6. Befriend French guys. French guys will be more likely to talk to you and befriend you. Usually they will invite you somewhere, where you will have the opportunity to meet their group of friends. This is a great opportunity to strike up a conversation with their female amies. Once you are in with the girls, you will be invited to go out all the time, creating a group of French friends!

(Here I am with some of my French girl friends from graduate school.) 7. Host or attend an apéro. Apéro is short for the French word apéritif. The word apéritif means a before dinner drink. An apéro is a small, intimate cocktail party, held at someone's apartment before going out. Invite your acquaintances and get to know them better!