Young Parisians give new meaning to ’speed dating’


December 20, 2007 – 9:33 pm

If you’re heading over to Paris with romance on your mind, forget about hanging around in cafes, galleries and all the usual singles pick-up places - simply get on your bike and pedal your path to love.

The fad, which gives new meaning the the phrase ’speed dating’, started soon after Paris was inundated with 14,500 rent-on-the-street bicycles on July 15.

The large grey bikes, known as Vélibs, were an instant hit with young Parisians desperate to find a quicker and cleaner route through the crowded boulevards and avenues. And the nature of Paris being what it is, it wasn’t long before the young French men and women were flirting outrageously on their daily Vélib rides.Apparently there are plenty of opportunities to flirt in the vélib rental and riding process.As one Paris writer puts in: “Let’s face it, Parisians aren’t known for their friendliness. However, when on a bike, these normally curt city dwellers actually open up and talk to each other”.

Here are out top tips for flirting and finding a date while cycling in Paris:

  • Put a sticker on the back of your bike that lets other Vélibataires (from Célibataire, French for single) know you’re available. There are stickers you can buy from street vendors but the best idea is to wait until you see a sticker you like and then approach the rider and asked where they got it - another perfect excuse to flirt!
  • Lend a helping hand to Vélib virgins. Once you’ve figured out how to operate the release system, hang aroung the bike ranks and advise pretty or handsome newbies on how to get going. If you hit it off you could be on the road to romance in no time at all.
  • Use red traffic lights as your green for go when it comes to flirting. Have a look around and if you see another hot Vélibataire beside you, give them a smile. Who knows where the journey could end?

If you want to get up to speed with the latest Paris dating trend, check out some of the many Vélib Facebook groups (you’ll need to speak French and have a FB account to join in) that have been set up by Paris cyclists keen to share parking tips, rant about motorists and, of course, find love in the most romantic city in the world.