Upping sticks and moving to a new country is a huge and exciting decision. It does, however, often mean leaving behind your friends and family.

The thought of creating a new network in France can seem daunting, particularly if you’re more of an introvert. We share five tips for making friends when you move to France.

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An obvious common ground

While the thought of making new friends may seem daunting, do remember that you will already share common ground with anyone else who has moved to France from overseas. You all have a love for France and the French way of life.

Break the ice with other expats by discussing your journey, what led you to move abroad, any challenges you’ve faced, tips you’ve learnt along the way etc.

Explore your new home

Simply taking a stroll through your new city, town or village is a great first step to making new friends. Don’t be afraid to speak to shop assistants, baristas and just people you meet out and about.

You will increase your chances of meeting likeminded people that you may choose to socialise with in the future. Of course, speaking the language opens up the potential audience you are able to communicate with.

Talking to people may also present some great business opportunities – you never know who you may need in the future!

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Join a club

Clubs, groups and societies are undeniably one of the best ways to meet people when you move to a new area. The people you meet are almost guaranteed to have similar interests to you as you’ve all chosen to join the same group.

Look at the boards outside your local Mairie (if you live in a small village) or the local press for advertisements of clubs.

Another option is to volunteer for your local Comité des fêtes (a non-profit organisation made of up volunteers who organise social events for the commune). This is a fantastic way to instantly feel part of the community and will give you a great insight into life in your new area.

Make use of social media

Social media definitely has its pros and cons, but one great advantage of the online world is the ease of which to find new friends in your local area.

Facebook, in particular, has many groups specifically created for expats, some being area-specific. Apart from general discussion groups, there are also many “how-to” groups which provide invaluable advice on getting set up in France and the essential need-to-knows. These include things like registering imported vehicles, taxes and getting residency.

Consider formal networking

Lastly, don’t overlook the power of more formal networking. France has many more official networking groups, clubs and professional associations. These include the Chambre De Commerce et D’industrie and BNI France.

Do be aware, however, that these groups generally require an annual fee.

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