They call Paris the city of love, but in reality, the dating scene can be hit or miss. If love doesn’t work out, or you’re just looking to have some innocent fun, engage in the shameless flirtation that runs rampant in Paris. Everyone’s on the prowl, so to speak. French women dress up in Paris because they expect their feminine appearance to be appreciated, and men certainly have no qualms about approaching women they find attractive. For a well-to-do American girl, the sudden onslaught of sexual attention can be overwhelming, but it’s the norm in this bustling international city. Most people usually aren’t trying to be insulting or degrading. Take the plunge and flirt with a stranger; accept a friendly invitation to coffee, or two or three . . . Some people say prudence is a virtue, and while that might be true, what’s a vacation if you can’t cut loose a little?
Flirtation is one of the greatest forms of flattery and is meant to be an innocent yet suggestive way to interact. Flirting in Paris means everything from making subtle eye contact with someone attractive in the metro to chatting up a friendly stranger in a café. French flirtation differs from the American variety in that it can be more innocent than suggestive. Flirting is flattering, and it feels good to flatter, so why not? Men on the street who ask for a drink are generally only asking for a bit of company. Know that a French gentleman will not necessarily expect someone to commit to anything other than the time spent together having a drink. If things naturally accelerate, a typical Parisian gentleman will not pressure you into taking the next step.
Certain lucky girls hop over to Paris for a short vacation and end up meeting a Parisian man and having a short-lived romantic quasi-relationship. For some reason—unlike us Americans who plan, plan, plan and constantly worry about the future—the French are capable of living in the moment when it comes to love and can wine, dine and woo a woman with care but also with realistic expectations. This can be wonderful for someone who wants a little bit of intimacy without the long-term commitment (i.e., a girl on vacation). Plus, French gentlemen are known for being attentive and will reassure you about how much the experience meant to them without leading you on. Although they’re not idealistic, I get the impression that the Parisians aren’t as cynical as we think they are—they take things step by step, but they’re always on the lookout for true love.