The Journeywoman Network
welcomes Karen Fawcett -- an American travel journalist who has
been in love with Paris since the age of 13. As an adult she�s
made her dream come true and now divides her time between Paris
and the home she and her husband enjoy in Provence. Karen is the
savvy President of Bonjour Paris, a highly informative website
and newsletter. She writes...
Singles traveling to Paris
have nothing to worry about. Paris is a great destination for
everyone. Families, couples and yes, even a woman traveling solo.
French life is not solely
à deux (couples only). As a matter of fact, many people
report that they have had some of their best adventures while
on French soil. Just being able to walk the city and drop into
a café (and there is one on practically every Paris block)
is a great luxury.
and a chat...
stand at the bar and order a petit crème (coffee with
steaming hot milk) and not feel like an interloper. C'est
tout a fait normale (usual), and, depending on the café
and the time of day, one is often able to strike up a conversation.
The idea that the French don't like Americans is ludicrous.
Maybe some would prefer to stick to their own. But others
are dying to speak English. I have made more than one acquaintance
while reading the International Herald Tribune. As a matter
of fact, there is a regular group which gravitates to La
Coupole (102, Blvd. du Montparnasse, Paris 75014) to scan
the morning newspapers since a vrai café (espresso)
costs little more than the selection of papers the restaurant
stocks for its patrons.
One does not
have to stand to meet people. Head to the Café Flore
(172 Bv. St. Germaine) or Deux Magots (170 Bv. St. Germaine)
and invariably you will find a lot of singles who would like to
make contact. One knows immediately who they are. Many are habitués
(regulars) but these two "literary" (and very expensive)
cafes attract tourists from throughout the world. Some of them
are delighted to join up with others to explore a bit of Paris
or simply take a walk.
and music in the park...
bars are a good way to meet single diners. The new "in"
sushi hangout is Lo Sushi (8, rue de Berri 75008) Designed
by French designer Andree Putman, it has a Tokyo-syle revolving
sushi bar where diners help themselves. The decor is better than
the sushi, but the restaurant is a very big hit! Solo travellers
should also consider popping into a wine bar where people have
the same taste preferences or share a sense of sipping adventure.
Try woman-friendly Juveniles (47 rue de Richelieu, 75001).
Coffee Parisien (4 rue Princesse 75006) is another place
where one can "eat American" at the bar and probably
meet others suffering a chili or burger attack! Food and wine
in France tend to be a universal bond. Take note -- the action
starts about 9 pm here and the weekend brunches attract tout Paris.
There are numerous reports
of people meeting while strolling through parks and gardens. My
favorite pick would be the Luxembourg Garden. During the
summer season, there are late afternoon concerts which attract
singles. Sitting on the edge of the fountain and renting a tiny
sail boat (try not to have it capsize too many times) is an easy
way to invite a pleasant chat.
tours and boat rides ...
you are a good tennis player, the Luxembourg Gardens is
a great place to pick up a game. Many Americans say that they
have even been invited home for a drink by their French tennis
partners. But one probably needs to be a better than average player
to garner that honor! (And female invitees might want to proceed
More structured ways of meeting
people are to go on walking tours (they are listed in each week's
Pariscope guide) and many are conducted in English. In
addition, there are numerous private groups who make a business
out of conducting tours for Anglophone visitors.
A pre-dinner ride on a Bateaux
Mouches is a sure way to meet people with whom to tour or
at the very least, spend some pleasant time. Ditto for the numerous
guided bus tours offered by Cityrama and other companies.
English-language guided museum tours are an excellent way to encounter
like-minded people and simultaneously get a bit of culture. All
of these companies are listed in the Pariscope guide available
at news kiosks.
libraries and cultural classrooms...
other good meeting places: The frequent Tuesday night and Sunday
afternoon readings at the woman-owned Village Voice Bookstore
(6, rue Princesse on Paris's Left Bank) which attracts a lot of
Paris-based Americans. Call to see if there is a reading when
you are in Paris. Tel. 01 46 33 36 47.
Don't forget Shakespeare
and Co. (37 rue de la Bucherie 75005) where it's hard not
to fall over another person who is trying to find a specific book
(which can be a challenge in this charming but cluttered Left
Bank librairie). For bookworms The American Library (10,
rue du General Camou) is another institution worth checking out.
WICE is a popular non-profit
organization which offers excellent and diverse activities. Some
are six-week classes but there are many others available where
you can register for the day. WICE attracks a group of interesting
people who share English as a common language although many of
their participants are French. To enroll at WICE or to register
for courses, contact the WICE office Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. to
5 p.m. The complete catalog with application form may be acquired
at the office.
Address: 20 boulevard du Montparnasse 75015 Paris, France.
Tel: 33 (0)1 45 66 75 50 Fax: 33(0)1 40 65 96 53
poetry and dance...
what better place to meet other solo travellers (and locals) than
at a cybercafe. The latest in spot is The Web Bar
(32 rue de Picardie 75003 ) Not only will you find computers here
but also a full schedule of poetry nights, dance displays, concerts,
short films and art exhibits. M-m-m-m. Who is that lovely man
at the next computer? A perfect opportunity for Journeywoman to
exchange e-mail addresses!
-- an excellent internet resource!
off to Paris and want to read as much about your destination as
you possibly can? Take a peek at http://www.bparis.com.
Filled with all kinds of perfectly pertinent info, this sites
a winner. Theres arts and entertainment, restaurants, wine
bars, things to do, French lessons, Paris centered tips, tips,
tips and a whole lot more. Sign up for your Bonjour Paris newsletter
and the info will just keep coming and coming and coming.
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