Dating in the South of France and What to Expect
The international media tends to romanticise France and often portrays Paris as the city of love. But the culture of romance and dating in France doesn’t end there. In fact, the South of France has lots to offer too. So, what is dating like in the South of France? And more importantly, what can you expect if you go on a date with a ‘sudiste’?
Aurélie Dauge, a recent graduate from Aix-en-Provence Law School who has lived in the South for most of her life, gives us all the insider information and tips on dating in the South of France.
What is dating like in the South of France?
People in the South have warm Mediterranean blood and tend to be quite forward, particularly when it comes to expressing their passion. Asking someone on a date in France is never too formal and when a Southerner fancies you, they’ll make sure you know.
However, Aurélie explains that ‘if you want to date, you really need to speak French because most French people don’t speak English’. This may sound challenging but also means that your language skills will definitely improve as you will be forced to speak French. You will probably learn lots of local slang too. Prepare yourself for the Southern French accent though – it can be hard to understand, especially the further South you go.
Picture yourself in a vibrant Southern French city like Nice or Marseille. You’re chatting to a local you fancy but you’re running out of things to talk about. Top tip: ask them about Jul, the singer (if you can call him that). This will impress them straight away, or at the very least it’ll make them laugh. Alternatively, you can offer to buy them a ‘pastis’ (a local alcoholic beverage that tastes like liquorice).
‘In the city it’s more about casual interactions and in the countryside it’s more about long-term relationships.’ Aurélie explains that this phenomenon is not a Southern French one but is actually due to the fact that there are generally more ‘dating opportunities’ in urban areas. Since the pandemic however, even people in cities are looking for serious relationships. Although, this may change when summer arrives and all the Parisians and foreigners come down South to party on the Mediterranean coast. After all, nothing beats a Mediterranean summer love affair.
Aurélie explains that Southern French cities like Aix-en-Provence are ‘the perfect environment for finding dating partners’ as there are lots of student nights out and bars. In the South’s culture, it’s typical for gatherings to last until the early hours, so be prepared for late nights!
Due to the pandemic, there are less opportunities for single people to meet and most people now rely on small ‘apéro’ type gatherings. This is why it’s crucial to have a wide social circle – because although French people use dating apps, they often prefer to meet their partners through mutual friends.
Dating apps and Dress code
In terms of dating apps, Tinder is the most widely used amongst young people in France. Bumble, Hinge, Grindr and Fruitz are also popular choices.
However, in Aurélie’s opinion, ‘people don’t know how to flirt IRL anymore! People have become too used to text, it’s sad.’
What about the dating dress code? French people generally keep it simple and Southerners even more so. Although, ‘if the aim of the date is for it to end in the bedroom, then both parties would dress to show their physical attributes’, Aurélie adds. Nonetheless, note that the French can be very sensitive to smell and they will often pay more attention to their date’s perfume than to their outfit.
What's a typical date with a "sudiste"?
According to our French dating expert, a typical date would be ‘aller boire un verre’ in a local bar. However, some people may suggest ‘a beer on the beach, a walk along La Corniche in Marseille, or even a home cooked dinner.’ If you are further inland, however, you might be asked on a ‘baignade’ river date. Or, maybe your crush will take you on a hiking date to show you the beautiful and diverse views Southern France has to offer.
Generally speaking, Southerners are quite spontaneous and easy-going, and when it comes to dating, they will often suggest very vague plans which will usually turn out to be fun. But, as with all things in life, it really depends on the individual! It’s therefore hard to provide a truly accurate picture of what dating in the South of France looks like, although Aurélie Dauge has given us a good idea of what we can look forward to!