New dating site in France

ADVERTISER FEATURE An expat’s experiences of the French dating scene leads her to set up a unique site for those looking for love across the Channel

Dating is fun, but an experience unlike any other! And it can seem somewhat daunting if, having moved to France , you are going through the whole process in another language and another culture. This is what Katie May, a Brit living in Provence, discovered. And it is her experiences as an expat in the French dating scene that led to her setting up a new internet venture –

“I started on-line dating with some degree of nervousness,” Katie recalls. “My friend’s daughter had met a lovely chap through a UK site and they wanted to see me as happy as she so clearly was. I admit that I had reservations but once I started telling people what I was doing, I heard stories of friends and acquaintances who had already met their partners on-line.”

Once started, Katie happily admits that it became a bit of an obsession. “Having felt despondent in the past at my solitary state and almost giving up on the idea of meeting someone, I suddenly felt full of hope,” she says. “And it did my self esteem a lot of good! It was such fun to receive messages and visits to my profile. I really enjoyed it. There were men of all sorts of backgrounds and interests. They were mostly French and one English expat with whom I had lots of chats and silly jokes.

“I went on dates! It was nerve-racking. I felt like a giddy schoolgirl, anxiously trying on different outfits, overdoing eye make-up and spraying on my best perfume. I haven’t dated since I was in my teens which was so long ago I can barely remember it. It was surreal and exciting and far removed from my usual everyday life.”

However, while Katie says that the dating game brought a sparkle to her life, she didn’t meet that special some-one. “I realised that despite my enthusiasm and enjoyment, there was something not working,” she says. “It was the chats with my expat chum that provided the key. I missed the humour and shared culture from home. I could tell a joke or pass a comment that needed no explanation. I could be spontaneous, silly, soppy or downright stupid in my own language.

“So I looked around for a dating site designed for like-minded people – people like me – who have settled here from abroad. I couldn’t find a site that was aimed at kindred spirits – expats, nomads – those of us who are uprooted and abroad. A friend suggested I start one, so I did!”

Katie started setting up the business alone, her background in finance held her in good stead, though she quickly realised that she had to find technical expertise. Almost as a metaphor for romance itself, Katie says that: “Gradually ‘I’ became ‘we’, as a team of people with a range of experience in web design, advertising and technical know-how got together to build an idea into a reality. It’s taken a huge amount of research and resources and it has been a real challenge, but we’re loving it. For the moment my own search is suspended, but who knows, anything could happen. This may be the key to my future – and yours too!