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The dates he's taken me on are much more 'cutesy' than what I previously expected from a man,” she shares.From ice skating on top of Tour Montparnasse to a picnic on a rowboat in the lake at Bois de Boulogne, Abinet’s boyfriend has definitely topped all of her previous date experiences.But in France: “He initiated dates, planned them to a tee, and never canceled.Halfway through our first date, he asked what I was doing the day after next and suggested a restaurant we should try.“The French are more receptive to emotions, and to me, they seem more romantic,” she says.
Understanding the realities of French dating customs requires digging a little deeper than one or two great dates—so we spoke with five women who maintained actual serious romantic relationships, not just a week of abroad flirting.
Tamara shares her perspective: “It feels awkward to gaze deeply into a stranger’s eyes.
And I’ve actually had to say things like, ‘I don’t know you yet, so I’d prefer not to hold hands.’”Different than in the United States—where there’s often a moment when you define the relationship (DTR) as a couple—the French believe that there's a mutual understanding after a kiss or successful date. Abinet experienced this after a three-week vacation to France to see family friends. “I ended up on a first date with the first man I’ve ever loved.” He considered her to be his girlfriend and formed a sense of commitment immediately after that first date went well. Abinet moved to Paris just three weeks after her initial trip ended.“Couples just don't have ‘the talk’ in France,” Eileen adds.
In other words, the French like to fill their dates with character and content.
“It's pretty appealing to watch a French man study a wine menu like most American men read the sports page,” admits Tamara. Before finding love in France, Abinet felt lucky if a guy stuck to a plan for a date.Try tempering your feminist theory with some old-fashioned French pragmatism." And that spirit carries over to their dating culture as well—for better, and sometimes, for worse.