zeldathemes
Real insight on French culture from a French native point of view.
Mostly run by Em, 26, living in Paris.
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Hello :] I know you've answered questions regarding dating in France and some social customs, so I was wondering: do young French heterosexual couples (while they are dating and not living together) generally see that their finances (who should pay for dinner, the movies etc) should be split in half? Or do French guys see that their role is to pay for their dates? Thank you!

Anonymous

Well, I think it depends on people. Some guys like to pay to show “who the man is”, and some other like to split, paying only when things get serious. Traditionally, the man pays, but honestly, it’s up to you… 

Personally, I do not split. I consider that the person inviting should pay. I think it’s a proof of respect more than “power” over the other person. I’m also rather embarassed when someone pays for me so if someone invites me, I’m insisting on doing something free or very cheap. Believe me, sometimes I hardly regret paying xD but well…

My friend tend to be sad when the man asks for spliting, but mostly because they like to be treated like princesses. But they understand when the guy wants to split. They think he’s just being safe. 

You talked about what the French men are like, but what is it like dating French women?

Anonymous

French women like to remain quite independant, free, and like getting a lot of attention. In the meantime, they appreciate when their partner support the fact they like to be feminine (meaning, they like to stay really attractive hence people hit on them all the time > Their partner shouldn’t be jealous.) They’re pretty attached to fashion and skin care. They like to be pretty in any occasion, even to go out for like 5 minutes to grab a think they lack for a dinner or something… 
The fact they’re in a relationship doesn’t necessarily imply they’d settle down; they remain socially very active. Consequently, they aren’t very good housewives… :p
Usually (but each family is different…), the general rule is matriarchy here. As we always say, “Behind every great man, there’s a great woman”. It may sound very old-school but it’s still very true (at least to me).

If you don't mind me asking, if you want to woo someone where would you take them in Paris? If YOU were to ask a girl out, what would a typical date consist of?

Anonymous

It depends on what ‘kind’ of girl she is ! 
My favorite things to do / places to go are :

  • For a very chic and classy rendez-vous, I’ll take her to the Louvre (Because I give awesome museum tours x) and because there are always some great exhibitions) and I’ll take her to Café Marly for a coffee. There’s also many great places to see around (Plâce Vendôme, for example) and famous shops (Chez Colette) that are the places to be seen. 
  • For a relaxed and cozy date, I’ll take her out to the movies at Bercy Village, where there’s one of the biggest theater in Paris, many shops and great restaurants. My favorite is the FrogPub (Beer and Burgers) but for more “french-ness”, there are also a crêperie and few classic restaurants. But they’re all very good !  
  • For an ‘arty’ date, I’ll bring her to Beaubourg, because there’s a very good bookshop and a very fun design store. Also because it’s one of the best Contemporary Art museum in the world, and it’s really easy to have a lot of fun there. Then, I’ll take her to the Swedish Institute, because it’s a very pretty Hotel Particulier with a café in the courtyard, and they make traditional hot milk chocolate that is just to die for. When it’s sunny, you can have a seat outside, it’s really charming.
  • For an adventurous date (Roawr), I’ll ask her out for a walk in the 17th or 18th arrondissements. There are many hidden treasures such as small cités (group of houses with a garden you can’t see from the street - it’s hidden by huge doors), artists workshops, and because those areas are lively. I’ll recommend that for photographers, so many beautiful and unusual places ! Also, a ballad in Père Lachaise, this is … a.w.e.s.o.m.e and magical despite the context (And absolutely not freaky!)
  • My dear, very dear favorite kind of date : my house, a bottle of Pouilly-Fumé, and a Ginger Rogers/Fred Astaire movie. But I don’t do it very often, only for girls that I really love, and there’s none at the moment so.. :D 

Edit : But I don’t know if these are good ideas, they never work. Hahahah xD 

    Dating culture

    Excusez-moi pour un mettre en anglais.
    My French dating terminology is non existent. I read in an article dated a few. Years back how dating life in France (Paris to be exact) is very different from that of Americans: In America/where I am from if a couple meets and likes each other they arrange a date. They go on several dates until they finally decide they like one another enough to be a real, monogamous couple. When they are just a dating and not a couple they can still see other people and kiss each other/whoever they like.
    The article I read says in Paris one dates by going out in a group.. And then maybe you go for a walk alone some time after.. If you kiss that means you are very serious and your not going to see other people. Is this still true today? Do two people ever arrange dates to get to know one another or is it always done in a group setting? Merci beaucoup!

    French dating culture is complicated..  
    I posted that a while ago, I slighty talked about how we feel about dating. 

    It depens on the context. If you meet someone you like in a party or with friends, that’s true that your friends and you will try to organize new events and invite the person. But it’s also true that you can ask the person out right away, for a date on your own. Though, if you do that, your intentions will seem more sexual than romantical. If you go on a date, or two, on your own, the person will expect from you a conclusion very quickly: do you like me or not, do we go to another date as a couple ? But it will never be more than two dates, or the person will feel you’re making a fool of her. We’d rather be with the person and see if it’s fine as a couple, than start to know each other first and be a couple then. 
    We have a different feeling towards fidelity. Indeed, to kiss someone means that you give your heart to that person and it would be very… boorish to kiss someone else. But it’s possible. If you do, you make sure before that you person you’re with is fully okay with it, and it’s something that you “share” : you can both do whatever you want. But if you don’t talk about that to the person before, this will cause an inescapable break-up. 
    The fact is that to date, as American do, doesn’t really exist here. We don’t even have a word for that, except “seeing each other” but this phase usually doesn’t last more than few days, maybe a week..  However, we have two “stages” of relationship depending on the involvement, that are much deeper anchored to our culture than yours. Which are “Sortir ensemble” (Start to be a couple, see how it works… Going out, stuff like that. It can last for months…) and “Etre ensemble” (Be a couple, with feelings and projects involved). 

    As I said in the link I gave, our “dating” game is a little blurry though…

     

    Would the dating scene be different for a gay Frenchman and gay American? Or do the "rules" still apply?

    Anonymous

    I suppose !  Our game is universal :D Men are just frank, women aren’t. Besides that, it’s pretty much the same. 

    Actually, I was talking about being gay in France with a Canadian friend this afternoon who happens to be gay too. So yeah, he’s Canadian, maybe it’s different from an American one but still, he was very surprised of the way we live our “gayness”. We are much more discreet, and harsh with each other. 

    This is silly, but how would one win the heart of a Frenchman? How does one date in France compared to dates in the United States?

    Anonymous

    Love, love, love…
    Frenchmen like women who love using their natural attractiveness in their everyday life. They like to be flattered, women who make them feel like heroes. Frenchmen are quite macho :p They like wives, not too independant women.  Beauty is definitely one of the major points. French girls are really pretty, so there’s a lot of competition !  Usually they don’t like “fake girls” as we call them : girls with too much make-up, too short clothes, fake boobs, idk.. Less is more ;) 

    I’ve never been to a date with an American girl (believe me, if I could, I SO WOULD) But one of my dearest friend maried an American, and as far as I can see, it appears that French people play more than Americans, whose intentions are much clearer. French kind of like to keep things really mysterious, we talk about what we seek, but not really our actual feelings. So, everything’s always a bit blurry. It’s called “Je t’aime, moi non plus” (I love you, me neither) or “Suis-moi, je te fuis, fuis-moi, je te suis” (Follow me, I’ll run away from you, run away from me, I’ll follow you), which basically consists in confusing minds with several tricks to make the guy or the girl fall in love even more.  
    We’d go for a diner in a chic restaurant, and the guy must pay. If he doesn’t or asks to split… :/ But if it went well… Then, our little mysterious “Je t’aime, moi non plus” game begins.