Come dine with me? Finding friends in France
Lunch can be a somewhat arbitrary and solitary affair: a quick sandwich between calls; a sushi roll on the way to an appointment; or for those working from home, an assault on a questionable two-day-old leftover.
Happily it’s not necessarily the case any more, thanks to the ingenuity of a Paris-based organisation.
Adding a French touch
Work environments are increasingly unstructured and mobile; great news certainly for those of us who like to ‘paddle our own boat’ – consultants, freelancers, business managers, artists etc. However lunch, until recently, could seriously be a non-event and be reduced to something pretty basic.
Luckily, there are always inspired individuals who wait in the wings ready to turn any such non-event into a worthwhile experience. On this occasion COlunching, the brainchild of a French entrepreneur Frédéric de Bourguet, has come to the rescue.
Solo workers use the COlunch website to hook up for an opportunity to share a real meal with real people. COlunchers sometimes invite people who have similar professional expertise or interests– a fabulous networking experience.
Whilst the COlunching experience started as a way for freelancers to escape their home offices, it has now become a popular way of meeting people when they arrive in a new city for work, or for travellers seeking to combine a foodie experience with a chance to connect with the locals.
A new form of social networking in France
The phenomenon of colunching in France has come rapidly on the heels of le coworking, le covoiturage (car-pooling) and la colocation (house sharing). The French are obviously becoming a sharing lot.
Elsewhere the trend is being creatively embraced and reinterpreted with: churches moving into pubs (seriously); wine-share tables; and (thanks to free WiFi) freelance workers sharing tables at cafes and coffee spots (an office away from home).
It has been suggested that this trend is a way of really putting the ‘social’ back into social networking in an increasingly virtual world. According to de Bourguet, social networking has come full-circle with websites facilitating people meeting face-to-face.¹
Whilst the COlunching experience commenced in Paris, on the tourism scene foodies and travellers are now mingling in New York, the U.K., South America and recently, with considerable enthusiasm in Australia.
Having recently joined COlunchers myself, I’m looking forward to my first experience. The problem is, I can’t yet decide whether that will be in Melbourne or Paris – ah, yet another one of life’s little worries!Reference:
¹Frédéric de Bourguet discusses COlunching. Image credits:
1. Agnes Samour
2. COlunching site