Cupid is match-maker online

By Drum Digital
13 February 2014

The Internet is powering Cupid's wings in France, with use of online dating sites soaring, according to matchmakers preparing to help singletons maximise their seduction opportunities this Valentine's Day.

Of the 18 million single people in France "one in two uses Internet dating" said Jessica Delpirou, director in France of the Meetic dating website, which was launched in 2001 and recently taken over by the US website Match.com.

The run-up to St Valentine's Day -- before New Year resolutions are forgotten -- is a particularly busy time.

On February 14 last year, Meetic, which has around 840,000 paying subscribers in Europe, registered a 38 percent increase in people signing up compared with other Thursdays in the month, said Delpirou.

Keen to woo Paris's singletons with a bit of pampering, Meetic, the biggest advertiser in the sector, this year organised what it calls "Operation Boudoir", a vintage 1950s-style lorry which serves as a mobile massage and manicure salon on the streets of Paris.

Since last year, the site has also been offering members a range of different ways of finding love, including soirees, dinners, and other activities such as cooking or photography workshops.

This Valentine's week alone the firm, which usually puts on around 100 events every month, has organised 35 evenings in France.

But France's economic woes were also seen as an incentive for single people to find a mate.

Faced with financial insecurity, people see a relationship as "a safe haven to cope with daily life", said Celine Petre of dating site Parship.

"Obviously in times of crisis, living as a couple with two incomes can only improve daily life, provided that the income is not the main criteria of members when they use our services," added Alexandre Lubot, general manager of Meetic.

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