Finding a community in France

Far from family and friends, it’s normal to feel isolated, especially if you’ve experienced domestic abuse. However, it is possible to find a community of people sharing your culture or interests, even if you don’t speak French.

Verified by Ouarda Varda Sadoudi on 30/05/2022

If you don’t have people close to you in France, it’s completely normal for you to feel lonely sometimes. This feeling of isolation intensifies when you are or have been faced with domestic abuse.

Recreating social links can help you on your journey towards psychological recovery, in addition to a medical or therapeutic follow-up.

Below are different ways to meet people who share your interests, values or culture.

It can be daunting, but you can start by chatting online to get to know these people.

Joining a group near me

Many groups are created on dedicated sites or applications, for example:

  • Facebook groups. If you do not have a profile, you must first create one and then search in the Groups section to find groups such as:
    • people who share your interests
    • people from your home country if you are homesick
    • groups of parents who support each other if you have children.
  • The friends’ meetup app Meetup, which allows you to create groups of activities. Once you have created your profile, you can ask to join a group that already exists or create your own.

Tips for your safety

Online meetups are very common these days and are a good way to make new friends.

However, it is important to take some basic safety precautions, especially if you are organising a face-to-face meeting:

  • Only do so if you feel safe.
  • Tell someone where you are going.
  • Meet in a public place.
  • Go to the meeting place with your own transport.
  • If you are in the slightest doubt, leave.

Taking part in activities

Taking part in sporting, cultural or religious activities can you help meet people.

To find activities near you, you can start by contacting your local town hall or “mairie” to ask them if activities are on offer to adults:

  • You can find their contact details in this directory by specifying the name of the town or city where you live.
  • The “mairie” can also provide you with contacts from public bodies which organise activities in your town or city.
  • These activities are generally offered at affordable prices and scaled according to your income. Financial aid is sometimes offered by the “mairies”, so don't hesitate to ask them.

If you are interested in a specific activity, you can also search online by typing in the name of the activity in French and the name of your town or city.

Volunteering

Another way to find a network in your city is to get involved by volunteering for an organisation offering free services called an “association”.

You can search for a volunteer role online, for example on “France Bénévolat” or the government website “Je veux aider”. They offer assignments in many areas.

You can also contact an “association” near you to find out if they are looking for volunteers.

Find support

In France, there are many services that can support you, give you advice, and assist you with procedures and paperwork. Most of them are free of charge.

  • A “Mairie” is a local administration in charge of local policies. Its main role is to help its citizens in difficulty. They can inform you about your rights and the financial assistance available, direct you to relevant organisations, and even help you with certain administrative procedures.

    • This service is free of charge.
    • Language available: mainly French.
    • Contact: you will find the contact details of your local “mairieon this site, by specifying the name of the city or town where you live.
  • Social workers or “travailleurs sociaux” and “assistants sociaux” are professionals who support people in their administrative procedures and help them find solutions according to the difficulties they are faced with.

    • These services are free of charge.
    • You can make an appointment to receive personalised advice according to your situation and help you with the next steps, for example: applications for state financial assistance, applications for social housing, registration with the French unemployment office “Pôle emploi”, etc.
    • Available languages: mainly French.
    • Contact: you can request an appointment with a “travailleur social” with:
  • The “Centres d'Information sur les Droits des Femmes et des Familles (CIDFF)” helps the general public, especially women, in many areas such as: legal rights, health, employment searches, training, business creation, and even childcare.

    • These services are free of charge.
    • They will be able to inform you of your rights and the steps to take. Some centres can assist you with procedures and paperwork.
    • Languages available: mainly French.
    • Contact: you will find the contact details of the “CIDFF” in your area in this directory.

While the utmost care has gone into providing you with the most accurate and up to date information, this page is not intended to replace legal or professional advice. Laws and procedures change regularly so it is important to consult qualified professionals.

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