English speaking person in Paris (France)
January 26, 2013 8:03 AM   Subscribe

Things to do as an international living in Paris.

I am a 30 year old guy who has just moved to Paris for my postdoctoral research work. Since I don't yet know anyone in Paris I am quite at a loss to find some new friends and activities. Also since I am just coming out of a breakup from a long term relationship, I am looking for activities to take my mind off the constant thinking about would've could've etc.

I don't (yet) speak French. I would love to hear from both the locals and the internationals living in Paris for fun activities to do ( especially during the weekends). Also any info in international clubs would be great!
posted by gunners to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Did you check out the usual suspects yet?

Couchsurfing Paris groups


posted by travelwithcats at 8:18 AM on January 26, 2013

Here's a blog a friend wrote about his sabbatical in Paris last year. They spent a lot of time out and about, especially riding bikes to bakeries and museums.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:24 AM on January 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you're into healthy living, check out Bob's Kitchen and Bob's Juice Bar. Great places to meet English-speaking expats.
posted by acidic at 9:27 AM on January 26, 2013

Use your personal network. You probably know someone who knows someone who lives in Paris.

Take French classes, it's a good way to meet people and they often want to do things. I liked Accord and Campus Langues. Accord was better but Campus was cheap though the classes were too large (in July), it was still beneficial and I met nice people and it was a good mix of short and long term folks.

Craigslist often has personals for people looking to just hang out with someone.

Another expatriate blog, she's in Lille.

The American Church in Paris is also quite social if you're even a little bit religious.

I'm also a fan of David Lebovitz blog. It's a foodie blog but he mentions lots of Paris goings on.
posted by shoesietart at 9:47 AM on January 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

You could hang out with other MeFites, if you like that kind of crowd. i also recommend Couchsurfing; the Paris group is very active and has many many different kind of events whether you are into movies, party, food, sports...
posted by whatzit at 10:23 AM on January 26, 2013

The Invisible Paris blog gives a different perspective on the city.

You can often find out about events aimed at Anglophones by checking out posters/flyers at the English-language bookstores, like WH Smith, The Red Wheelbarrow, and others (here's a list.

If you like Western art from the Middle Ages to the early 19th century, you can join the Amis du Louvre and get free entry to the museum for a year. Plus, for the Wednesday and Friday evening hours, you can bring a guest along free. The website is entirely in French, but if you go to their office in the gallery below the pyramid (in the direction of the shopping mall area, near the Apple store), you can talk to someone in person, in English. Another advantage is that with the membership card, you don't need to stand in the ticket lines at the Louvre, and you can use the members-only entrance in the passage between the pyramid and the rue de Rivoli, so no lines to get into the museum either.

If you like cycling, Memail me and I can point you to my favorite bike routes out of the city and in the surrounding area.
posted by brianogilvie at 11:46 AM on January 26, 2013

As I recall the Shakespeare and Company bookstore(s?) in Paris are sort of informal meeting places for English speaking expats, you might try there. The Paris Time Out guide should have event listings on the back pages in English, it used to at least. Also the American Church, it's a good place to start.
posted by citron at 12:44 PM on January 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

i've also heard the 'american church in paris' that shoesietart linked to above is a great place to meet expats and get acclimated to the city.
posted by wildflower at 2:44 PM on January 26, 2013

Something I have always wanted to do is Pari Roller. It's a 30km skating loop around Paris on Friday nights. There's also a beginner ride that might be more appropriate, depending on your skill. Apparently they are welcoming to English speakers.
posted by wnissen at 3:56 PM on January 26, 2013

See if your undergrad and/or grad institutions have alumni groups there.
posted by knile at 4:35 PM on January 26, 2013

Here's the link to the facebook page for a language exchange group that a lot of my friends in Paris are members of. They meet up at least once a week.

WOS is a bar in the Latin Quarter that does lots of events and theme nights on weekends, and it's usually packed with English speaking expats. The Bombardier is another expat bar a few blocks away, and it's also popular with expats.

If you're a runner, I have friend who highly recommend going to the meetups thrown by the Paris Running Meetup Group. If you enjoy hiking, there's the Paris Hiking and Outdoor Sports Meetup Group.

If you end up getting tired of the city, taking day trips on weekends can be fun. Free Trains from Paris is a website that lists a bunch of day trips you can do inside Ile-de-France, since Navigos are zone-free on weekends. I recommend checking out Provins and Fontainebleau!

Like previously mentioned, Meetup groups are a great way to meet other English speakers in Paris. Facebook groups can be good too- if you meet other expats, it might be helpful to ask if they could add you to any that they're a member of. When I was living in Paris last year, I always had something to do on weekends thanks to meetups and facebook events. And if I didn't, I would end up at the Louvre or another museum.
posted by mollywas at 5:52 PM on January 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

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