Blog Essential

Mimosa Season

You may have noticed many people carrying bright yellow flowers recently. These flowers are called Golden Wattle or Mimosa in French, and are a popular purchase this time of year!

The tradition of buying mimosa flowers in February is a cultural phenomenon during the winter season. Only from January to March, Mimosa is one of the few flowers that bloom during the winter months. Beautiful and fragrant, its bright yellow colour is seen as a symbol of the sun and the warmth it brings. This is why it has become associated with the end of winter and the coming of spring.

The tradition of buying mimosa flowers can be traced back to the early 20th century. A group of florists in the city of Nice decided to promote the flower as a symbol of the city . They organized an annual parade, known as the “Battle of Flowers,” where flower-covered floats were paraded through the city’s streets. Mimosa was one of the most popular flowers used in the parade, and its popularity soon spread throughout France.

So today, when you see the bright yellow bouquets of mimosas, know it’s a common sight to see in winter. The flowers are often given as gifts, and they are used to decorate homes and businesses. You can purchase them at any florist, but supermarkets tend to stock them, too.  Good news: when you see Mimosas in bloom it’s a sure sign that warmer days are just around the corner!


Making Friends

One of the questions I get the most is about making friends, particularly in the context of moving to a new city or country. Making friends, especially as an adult, is not easy. My advice is to build up the courage and put yourself out there. Luckily we live in the age of the internet, we have countless resources available to us to meet new people. 

Making friends in France

This topic can be divided into two main categories, making international friends, and making local friends. Finding international friends is much easier, as you are diving into a pool of people who are usually in a similar situation as yourself – new in town, trying to meet new people and open to new experiences. Meeting local people is a bit more difficult as they usually already have a group of friends and are less open to widening their circle, however they do exist!

Adapting to the culture

One of the things I found helpful is to learn more about French culture to better connect with French people. From basic things like understanding which football clubs are popular, to what cultural activities or restaurants are popular at any time, having this information can help. Have you read the recent bestselling book, have you been to the latest exhibition or new film in the cinema? People like to talk about new and popular things, it can help if you can participate in this conversation. Has there been a political or celebrity scandal, is there a recent development in the news that people are discussing, or are you also exhausted of something that gets on everyone’s nerves? These are all great starting points. 

Online resources

As aforementioned, there are countless resources, however some of my favourite and easiest ones are:

Reddit: there are groups for each city, for example r/Paris, r/SocialParis, r/Lyon, r/Toulouse, r/NiceFrance, r/AixMarseille and more. Very often people ask if others would like to meet up or join them for planned activities, and the posts I’ve seen always have replies!

MeetUp: probably the most popular app to meet new people, with an endless offer of groups available, you can find like minded people to play board games, discuss books, go hiking, play football or do other sports, language exchanges, or just party!

InterNations: Not free, but I’ve had decent feedback. Internations specialise in the expat communities around the world and host frequent events everywhere. Once you sign up you can participate at events, usually for a small fee, and then meet many other people trying to connect with other people.

Facebook: Among the groups on facebook there usually are “Germans in Lyon”, “Spanish in Toulouse”, “British in Nice”, you get the idea. There will be social groups, local groups, find the one you feel most attuned to, join, and ask others if they want to do something – the posts I’ve seen usually gather up to 30 likeminded people which starts the conversation.

Local Groups: 

When I lived in Toulouse I joined Toulangues, a language exchange program that pairs you up with French people who want to learn your language. It was an easy way to meet locals and I learned some French along the way. MyLanguageExchange offers a similar project in Marseille and Lyon, people write ads who they wish to connect with. Tandem is also a language exchange, however this also works online and you don’t need to meet the people in person.

Sports Clubs:

Several of my international friends have met their tribe by joining local sports clubs, tennis, football, hiking groups or even playing chess in the park – have a look in your city if you can find activities you like, and give it a go!


Le Bouillon

Bouil·​lon – a clear seasoned soup made usually from lean beef.

French: bouillir, English: to boil.

In France, however, a bouillon is so much more than just broth – it’s one of my favourite types of restaurant. A Bouillon Parisien is a large, usually older restaurant that serves traditional French cuisine for a low price point, and the wine is sold by the size of the bottle – there is a variety to choose from!

a bouillon selection of wine sizes

Founded in 1855, French butcher Pierre-Louis Duval from Montlhéry, started selling boiled beef in its broth at a fixed price on rue de Montesquieu.

This was close to the market stalls of Les Halles, so the workers started coming regularly to eat. The success led him to open several more of these establishments. By 1900, Paris alone had more than 250 bouillons, now the name for a cheap eatery that serves good food fast, essentially France’s version of fast food before fast food really was a thing.

You know the wild nights of the French authors and artists near Montparnasse, getting drunk and arguing politics and philosophy that led to masterpieces such as Les Mandarins (Simone de Beauvoir) or À la Recherche du Temps Perdu (Marcel Proust) – they probably took place in a bouillon.

What dishes can you expect when going to a bouillon? You will always find the French staples, divided into entrée, plat, dessert, and cheese.

Starters include Oeufs Mayonnaise, boiled eggs filled with mayonnaise for 2,50€, l’Os à Moelle – bone marrow – for 4,20€ or Escargots, snails, for 7€. Popular “Plats” include Soupe à l’Oignon gratinée au Cantal – French onion soup with cheese for 8,50€, the famous Steak Frites for 11,80€ or Cuisse de Poulet, chicken with french fries for 9,80€.

Desserts are an event in itself – if you want to try all the “classics” at a low price point at once, head to your nearest bouillon and order Riz au Lait, Baba au Rhum, Pain Perdu, Île Flottante, Tarte Citron, Mousse au Chocolat, Crème Brûlée and Profiteroles. All under 5€, all delicious.

Each time I have visitors in Paris, without fail I will take them to a bouillon. The atmosphere is busy and joyful, the food is good and cheap, and there is plenty of wine! 

There will be one in a city near you:






Getting out & meeting people Lifestyle

Dating apps

It can be hard to meet people, especially during a pandemic, so dating apps have arguably had some of their best years most recently!

Disclaimer: for specific tastes and niches this may not be the article for you (Google is your friend). Ultimately, the best dating app for you will depend on your own preferences and what you are looking for in a relationship.

Good to know: Using an app that is popular in your city/country of origin may work, if you are looking for someone with the same origin as you. I hear, for example, that many Americans in Paris meet on Coffee Meets Bagel, or a religion-specific app that others of the same denomination will know about (not listed here).

What is the best and most popular dating app in France?

  • Tinder – allows users to swipe left or right on potential matches. It has a wide range of users, but is generally known for its younger demographic.
  • Bumble – allows users to swipe left or right on potential matches. It is women-owned and only allows women to initiate the conversation with a match.
  • Happn – matches users based on their location. It allows users to see profiles of people they’ve crossed paths with in real life. It is popular among younger users, but also has an older demographic.
  • Meetic – well-established in France, focuses on long-term relationships. It has a more mature user base and is generally considered a more serious dating app.
  • Badoo – popular around the world. It allows users to find people nearby and has a wide range of users.
  • Once – sends users one match per day, based on their preferences. It is popular among users who are looking for more serious relationships.
  • AdopteUnMec – allows women to “adopt” men by placing them in their shopping cart. It is popular among younger women and has a reputation for being a more playful dating app.

In terms of popularity and demographics, Tinder, Bumble and Happn are among the most popular dating apps for a younger user base. Meetic and Badoo are popular among those looking for more serious relationships.

How do you get a date in France?

Some apps differentiate, with Bumble for example only women can initiate the conversation and also offers a Friends and Networking-Only option, rather than romantic matches. With Happn, your potential matches are based on them frequenting at the same locations as you. And Tinder is more known for quick matches rather than long-term relationships.

Where do singles meet


Meeting a new person at a café in town is always a good idea. It is recommended to meet in a popular place. So that it is not directly where you live in case you want to keep some anonymity later on. You can have a drink and then proceed if you feel comfortable!


In terms of safety, all of these dating apps have measures in place to protect users, such as verifying profiles and allowing users to report suspicious activity. However, it’s important for you to take your own precautions and be cautious when meeting someone in person.