Are you considering Paris as your next destination and planning a solo trip? This article can offer you more confidence and a plan of action with practical tips for your solo trip to Paris and things to do alone in Paris.
You found a great flight deal to Paris but cannot find a travel buddy. Would you still travel to Paris alone?
I was in this predicament earlier this year. Although it was not my first time in Paris or traveling solo internationally, I contemplated. However, I decided it was too good of an opportunity to miss out, so I went to Paris alone.
And I am glad I did.
Table of Contents
Check out my other articles to plan your perfect trip to the City of Light!
- Start here >> Paris Itinerary for 4 days
- Then this >> Where to Stay in Paris First Time
- Should you buy Paris Pass or Paris Museum Pass?
- 10 Best Small Museums in Paris Without the Crowds
- Shopping: 10 Trendy Travel Shoes for Paris
- Shopping: Best Shopping Guide in Le Marais
- 25 Iconic French Desserts in Paris
- Paris Neighborhood Guide: Hidden Gems in Montmartre
- 7 Most Beautiful Covered Passages in Paris
- Day Trip: How to Survive Overcrowded Palace of Versailles in Summer
- Day Trip: Best Paris Day Trip for Spring & Summer: Giverny Monet’s Gardens
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Is Traveling to Paris Solo even a good idea?
I’m part of a few solo women traveling communities (I will introduce a few later in this article). I see this question come up all the time. I am going to argue yes to this question. But first, let’s go over where this hesitation comes from. Going to the root of the problem often gives a good solution.
I wanted to go to Paris with my hubby for many reasons:
- Paris is one of the most romantic cities in the world. I wanted to fully soak in the romantic vibes with him. (Fine, I don’t have a good comeback for this. But I did miss him while I was away. So it’s a win in my book.)
- It will be much easier to explore food scenes. How much one person can eat desserts in a day? (Surprise yourself! If you are curious, see how many desserts in Paris I managed to shove in.)
- There were safety concerns about pickpocketing and walking around at night alone. (I came back in one piece without any damage. But this is a legitimate concern, and I have more practical tips below.)
- Who is going to take a photo of me? I’m not too fond of selfies. I refuse to carry a heavy tripod. (I got a simple solution for you, too.)
Will you be lonely? Will you enjoy Paris? Maybe, maybe not. But unless you do it, you will not know.
If this is your first time traveling alone abroad, I understand your fear. I consider myself independent and self-sufficient. I moved across the Pacific Ocean to the U.S. by myself; I had lived alone for more than a decade since leaving home for college; and I have traveled alone many times. My point is that building up confidence takes some practice and experience.
You have to start somewhere. So muster up some courage to step out of your comfort zone because traveling alone in Paris can be a rewarding and self-enriching experience. Even if it disappoints you, it will be an excellent opportunity for self-discovery and personal growth while navigating unfamiliar territories. Isn’t it what travel is all about?
Dreaming of Paris?
No matter which season of the year, Paris is always a good idea. But it can be overwhelming to plan your perfect trip to the City of Light. Follow my Paris itinerary to see the highlights in just four days.
Practical Tips for Traveling to Paris Solo
Now, let’s talk about practicality. Many of these solo travel tips can be applied to other destinations, but I tailored them to Paris with examples.
Your Safety First.
Paris is generally a safe city as long as you follow the safety best practices. Nevertheless, like any other major city worldwide, there are crimes, opportunistic criminals waiting for the next prey, less safe areas to avoid, etc.
I hate to sound like your mom. But always remember that your safety comes first, especially when alone in a new environment. By following safety tips, you can help ensure a safe and enjoyable experience while traveling solo in Paris.
We women are gifted with the sixth sense. When you sense something uncomfortable, follow your gut. Avoid the situation or leave the place immediately. Don’t worry about being polite. Don’t doubt yourself because it is better to be safe than sorry.
Select a Hotel in a Safe Neighborhood.
Research ahead to find a safe and central neighborhood to stay in Paris. Paris is huge, divided by 20 arrondissements with many unique pockets of areas within each district.
Always research your neighborhood. Some neighborhoods are better in terms of location, safety, price and vibes. I check street views on Google Maps to see the surroundings. (You can drag the person icon to the street to see the real-life view.) I always read reviews on hotel booking sites such as Booking and Google Maps to see if there is any red flag about the hotel or the location.
My favorite neighborhoods in Paris are Le Marais or Saint-Germain-des-Prés. These areas are expensive, but I love the vibes and energy here. I would rather be in the hole-in-the-wall in a nice neighborhood than the fanciest hotel in the shady neighborhood.
Which is better: Hotel vs. Apartment Rental?
I am guilty of watching YouTube with Parisians showing their apartments. I am fascinated by the modern and chic way Parisians decorate their historic (almost antique) apartments. I would love to stay there!
However, when traveling alone, I prefer hotel stays over Airbnb for extra security, comfort and opportunities for social interaction. Having a person at the reception desk can be a huge relief and give a sense of security. Plus, I would have someone to ask for help as needed.
Another important factor to consider is that many apartments in Paris do not have an elevator (or A/C). I cannot see myself lifting luggage on the five flights of stairs, can you?
Where to Stay in Paris?
Paris has 20 arrondissements with distinctive pockets of neighborhoods. While Paris is gorgeous, some areas are better than others for tourists to stay. Here’s your guide to 10 Best Areas in Paris for all travel styles and budgets.
Don’t stay out too late without a return plan.
Keep your wits about you while exploring the city, and be mindful of your surroundings, especially at night. Avoid dark, secluded areas and stay in well-lit and busy areas.
As a general rule, I don’t walk alone after the dawn. But the good news is that the sun goes down much later in Paris, around 8/8:30 p.m. in spring and 10:30 p.m. in summer. So I had plenty of daylight to enjoy the city.
If you want to stay late, plan your route. Don’t walk in the dark alleys or empty streets, even if that means skipping on a shortcut. The city center usually has many pockets of areas with patio cafes. Choose to walk in this area instead, as the outdoors attracts crowds.
A few areas to avoid at night:
- Châtelet les Halles (1st district)
- Gare du Nord & Gare de l’Est stations (10th arrondissement)
- Red light district along the Boulevard de Clichy (18th arrondissement)
- Marx Dromoy, Porte de la Chapelle, La Chapelle, Porte de Clignancourt, Porte de la Villette stations (Northern 18th & 19th arrondissements)
- Saint Blaise neighborhood near Porte de Montreuil station (20th arrondissement)
And please don’t trade your safety with a few euros. If it is too late, get an Uber back to your hotel. Just remember it is not worth risking your safety.
>> See Things to Do Alone in Paris #2 below for safe and fun night activities.
Useful Transporation Apps
- Freenow: Similar to Uber, but I heard it is slightly cheaper than Uber.
- BonjourRATP: An all-around transport app for metro, RER trains, buses, bikes and scooters in the Île de France area.
- SNCF Connect: An app for all train travel in France and Europe
- Omio: A transport booking platform for Europe, the U.S. and Canada with a trip planner function covering flights, trains, busses and ferries.
Be aware of your surroundings.
The beautiful city of Paris attracts international tourists and pickpockets worldwide. Pickpocketing is a huge social issue in France. It involves internationally organized crime groups in the back with the youth in front. Even if you catch them red-handed, the minors get released immediately with a warning, whereas the adults might get deported but can return to Paris shortly after.
That said, not much can be done once you lose your belongings, even if you file a police report. (Some travel insurance will cover your loss with proof of police report.) You will waste your time at a police station, and it will take joy out of your trip.
The best defense: Do not become an easy target. While there is no guarantee, making it difficult to steal from you can deter them from targeting you. They might move on to the next easy target.
Pickpockets target tourists and crowded areas, such as the metro train during rush hours. Keep your belongings close to your body, and avoid carrying anything valuable in your back pocket.
Get a Crossbody Bag.
I do NOT recommend a backpack in Paris, even the anti-theft backpacks. It may free your hands, but whatever is out of your sight is theirs to grab.
Instead, get a crossbody bag like this or this. (Unless you are thinking trendy belt bags, please say no to traditional fanny bags; it’s a fashion faux pas.) Always remember to keep your belongings in front of you where you can see them.
Keep your phone out of sight. Please don’t walk around with your iPhone in your hand (nor leave it on a table unattended). Stay away from the metro doors, making you an easy target for a snatch-and-run scheme.
I chained up everything around my body. I used a cellphone body strap, so it is still close to my body, even if I look at navigation. I also had another crossbody canvas bag to store a camera, GoPro, and other things that don’t fit in my small crossbody purse.
Always Have a Plan B.
Hopefully, you stay vigilant and do your diligence to deter pickpockets. But even if you do everything you can do, sometimes you get unlucky and fall victim of pickpocketing. Don’t beat yourself up too hard. Life happens.
In case of unfortunate incidents, you should always have a backup plan. I usually carry out only essentials in my card wallet, such as a credit card, some cash (20), ID and a Navigo metro card. I keep my other wallet in my hotel room with an extra credit card and emergency cash.
Also, I don’t carry around my passport unless I need it. When you shop at a department store in France, they usually ask for the original passport book for processing a tax refund at their duty-free desk. At individual shops, they ask for passport details but rarely the original because you do not need it until you file a tax refund at the airport.
Don’t forget to make a copy of essential documents, such as your passport, visa and driver’s license. And write down phone numbers to call to report a credit card loss, embassy, or for other emergencies.
SAVE THESE NUMBERS ON YOUR PHONE
Dial 17 for police if you feel unsafe. It may take a while to connect with an English-speaking agent, though.
Dial 15 to call an ambulance if you need urgent medical assistance.
Dial 112 for all emergencies. This is a Europe-wide emergency response to connect you to any EU country or language.
Buy Travel Insurance
In case of any accidents or unfortunate events, you must buy travel insurance. I used to rely on credit card coverage. But since the pandemic, I always get travel insurance with medical coverage.
Everyone – even expats and international students – in France must register with the country’s national health insurance plan to receive medical care. Some EU citizens may have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
Health insurance is part of the visa requirement: Tourists and foreigners visiting France for a short term must have a minimum of €30,000 travel health insurance to cover medical emergencies. (This coverage amount can be a good indicator when you shop for travel insurance.)
Even if you are visa-exempt, getting travel insurance is highly recommended for tourists who are not covered by the French national or EU healthcare systems. Although French hospitals cannot refuse to treat patients, you will end up with high bills to pay.
Pack Less, Pack Smart.
Parisian elevators are tiny. But consider yourself lucky if your hotel has an elevator, even a coffin-like one. Some hotels have rooms in the upper level only accessible by stairs.
There is no way I can carry my luggage up the stairs, so I read descriptions before booking a hotel and staying away from renting an apartment altogether, especially when traveling solo.
Even if your hotel has an elevator, dragging the luggage in train/metro stations and on the street requires lots of labor and energy. (You also have to watch out for pesky pickpockets!)
By the way, that is also why I always take a taxi from the airport. Airport taxis in Paris charge a flat rate. As of 2023, it costs €55 to the right bank and €62 to the left bank from Charles de Gaul Airport. Or, €35 to the right bank and €41 to the left bank from Orly Airport.
Paris Packing Essentials for Solo Travelers
Packing only essentials is an excellent strategy to avoid all the hassles. I don’t see myself traveling only in a carry-on or a bag pack (plus, I hate carrying anything heavy on me!). Instead, I believe in packing less and smart.
Travel essentials can be subjective. But as a solo traveler, you will appreciate high-quality, lightweight, multi-functional travel gear.
Here are my solo travel essentials for Paris I always pack.
Orange SIM card: For safety, you always need to stay connected. This prepaid SIM card works in most European countries. You can change your SIM when you arrive at the airport for automatic activation. Orange is a French telecom company with No 1. network.
Portable Charger: Using a map can drain the battery quickly. I recommend bringing a portable charger. I love this super thin, lightweight portable charger to throw in a purse.
Universal Adapter: This nifty surge protection adapter charges your devices in most countries. Again, I’m all about slim, lightweight all-in-one gadgets.
Lockable Suitcase: I use a 4-wheel suitcase with a TSA-approved built-in lock like this. I lock my luggage on the move but also in a hotel room. Many people recommend using a hotel safe, but I prefer to use the one I am used to. That way, I don’t risk leaving something behind, either.
Extra credit card: I always leave one additional credit card and some cash in a separate wallet in a hotel room (inside my locked suitcase). If I get pickpocketed, I still have a backup card for the rest of my trip.
Packing Cubes: Packing cubes are life-changing as they neatly organize your luggage and save space. Don’t bother with a compression packing cube; they never compress flat. But for bulky winter clothing, a compression packing bag works a wonder.
Parisian Fashion Items: I do not want to underdress in a fashionable city. But it’s also important to blend in so you don’t scream tourists. Parisian women wear neutral colors but accessorize their outfits with scarves, hats and jewelry. I will apply this to my packing strategy by bringing versatile black/white/beige/grey pieces for a mix-match and fashion accessories.
Taking Photos on a Solo Trip
The downside of solo traveling is that you don’t have a photographer to take photos.
I dislike selfies, so no selfie sticks for me. (Note that museums and attractions in Europe now ban selfie sticks.) I also tried a tripod with a remote control. But carrying a tripod became too much hassle, so I stopped using it altogether. I always end up with shots of architecture, landscape, food, streets, etc., which are great. But once in a while, I do want to be in the frame. So what do I do?
Here is my unscientific, unproven approach, yet it has worked every time for me. (I’m curious to hear from you if it also works for you!) I ask others for help….but not just any random person. I choose whom to ask.
You cannot just hand over your expensive camera or phone to a stranger. What if they run off with it? I read an online forum once that others have recommended asking a person with children because they cannot run with children. I’m afraid I have to disagree. They probably won’t pay attention to finding the best angles for you. They have kiddos to watch over!
I usually ask young Asian couples. They usually know how to take an Instagram shot and will do their best to get a GOOD picture of you. Without asking, they advise you where to stand and take both portrait and landscape.
Another good way is to offer to take a photo first for a couple or family. They are always looking for someone to take their group shot! Usually, they ask back.
Learn Survival French
Bonjour (hello) goes a long way. In French culture, engaging in a conversation without saying hello first is extremely rude. Whether you ask for directions from a stranger on the street or walk into stores or restaurants, ALWAYS start with Bonjour and a smile. End with merci (thank you).
If you make a little effort to speak even broken French, you will likely get better responses from the locals. In Paris, most people understand and speak English. But it is just a nice gesture to show that you are trying to respect the local language and culture. Unlike the stereotype, in my experience, people responded in English once they heard my broken French.
Two other meaningful words to remember are s’il vous plaît (please) and pardon (excuse me). Whenever you ask for something, you can say a word instead of a complete sentence, but always add s’il vous plaît. Say pardon when you pass someone on the street or get off a metro train, and people will make way for you.
These four magic words will make things much easier for you. But if you want to learn more, download language learning apps like Duolingo or Babbel to practice before your trip. Once you are in France, Google Translate also helps a lot. (Caveat: Google Translate works better from French to English than vice versa.)
Lastly but most importantly, enjoy your time in Paris. You deserve this vacation. Embrace the city’s unique atmosphere. Take advantage of the freedom that comes with traveling solo. This charming city offers so many things to do alone!
15 Fabulous Things to Do Alone in Paris
Paris is a beautiful city that can be enjoyed alone, with plenty of activities and sights to see. Here are some of the best ways to explore Paris.
#1. Take a Walking Tour.
Paris is a walkable city, and taking a walking tour is a great way to see the sights while learning about the city’s history and culture. Many companies offer walking tours in the most attractive neighborhoods, including Montmartre, Le Marais, Saint-Germain, and Latin Quarter.
Whenever I visit a new city, I join at least one walking tour on the first day, if possible. There is no better way to get your bearing and understand the town than exploring it on your feet. And having a local guide to give you some pointers is a great way to start.
Whether you enjoy traveling solo or are looking for a travel buddy, walking tours are an excellent way to explore the city. Every tour I joined, there were always opportunities to connect with fellow travelers. Particularly in Paris, I met many diverse women of all ages in the group tours.
In many European cities, I opted for free walking tours. A local expert brings you to major landmarks in the town for 2-2.5 hours. You offer tips to your guide at the end of the tour. It is an excellent way to get to know a new city and hang out with other travelers. On the downside, these tours usually have a huge group (like 40 with the one I joined in Paris). Once, I had a tour canceled at the last minute.
For paid tours, I trust GetYourGuide for its quality, generous cancellation policy and customer support. I have joined many walking tours, food tours and day trips, and discovered hidden gems I would not have known from researching online. I also learned so many new things about the city every time. Most group walking tours are affordable anyway. But these tours usually limit the number of people in each group, providing a more intimate environment to make friends, so it is worth paying for it.
Best Walking Tours in Paris
>> Montmartre Wine, Cheese & Pastry Guided Walking Tour: I joined this small-group tour to follow the foodie trail. But this tour is more than just a food tour. You will discover many hidden gems of Montmartre and mingle with other travelers at a sit-down wine and cheese tasting.
>> Saint-Germain Chocolate & Patisserie Tour: Indulge yourself with gourmet chocolates and pastries while discovering the historic Left Bank of Paris.
>> Le Marais Walking Tour: Discover the beautiful architecture and streets from the Middle Ages and Renaissance period in Le Marais.
>> Latin Quarter Walking Tour: Immerse yourself in the fascinating history of the Left Bank that inspired countless artists and intellectuals.
#2. Experience the Nightlife in a Safe Way.
After all, Paris is called the City of Light. From the sparkling Eiffel Tower to the sunset cruise on the Seine, the illuminated city is gorgeous at night. Paris also has a vibrant nightlife, from jazz clubs to wine bars. Going out can be fun to experience the city’s nightlife scene and meet new people.
But walking alone after the dark in an unfamiliar city can be intimidating. Plus, it is always good to have someone to have your back, let alone it’s more fun. For safety and more fun, consider joining a night tour.
Best Night Tours in Paris
>> Night Bike Tour: This night bike tour takes you around the highlights of Paris when a load of tourists disappear. See the illuminated Paris at night.
>> Eiffel Tower Dinner Cruise with a Moulin Rouge Show: The Eiffel Tower, Seine dinner river cruise and a Moulin Rouge show in one night? That’s the best of three Paris night sceneries in one memorable night!
>> Solo Travelers Meet Up at a Bar: This is a perfect bar crawl for singles to mingle in Paris.
>> Speakeasy and Hidden Bars: Explore speakeasy bar scenes in Paris with travelers from all around the world.
>> Latin Quarter Pub Crawl: Enjoy the vibrant nightlife in the Latin Quarter with other travelers.
#3. Visit the Museums in Paris
Paris is home to some of the world’s most famous museums, including the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, and Centre Pompidou. While these behemoth top three are always crowded with tourists, many charming small museums in Paris have much fewer crowds.
Many of an artist’s former residences or studios are converted into a museum dedicated to him, offering a unique opportunity to learn more in-depth and intimately. These buildings are often a gorgeous hôtel particulier with stunning architecture and decorations.
Visiting these museums alone allows you to take your time and explore the art at your own pace.
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#4. Explore the Parks & Gardens
Paris has several beautiful parks, including the Luxembourg and the Tuileries Gardens. Taking a stroll through these parks, enjoying a picnic, or simply people-watching can be a relaxing and enjoyable way to spend a solo afternoon.
At the Paris parks, you will see the iconic green metal chairs. People grab this chair to sunbathe, soak up the atmosphere, eat lunch or read. Like at cafes, you can also watch people for fun. It is a Parisian way to take a break, so you should experience it yourself.
#5. Wander around the Streets
Paris is undoubtedly one of the world’s most enchanting cities to explore on foot. It is my favorite city to take a walk in because it is full of timeless charms to discover, with historic architecture, charming neighborhoods and hidden courtyards.
The City of Light is an exceptional destination for those who cherish the solitude of walking alone. You can stroll along the Seine River, walk the cobblestone streets, or explore the hidden gems in neighborhoods. Be dazzled with the Champs-Élysées. Or, visit one of the many pretty streets in Paris, such as Rue de l’Abreuvoir or Rue Crémieux.
#6. Hunt for Street Arts
Did you know Paris has street art? Le Marais, for example, is dotted with urban artworks from a tiny Super Mario to the entire wall of Wonder Woman. The neighborhoods of Butte-aux-Cailles and Oberkampf are also an excellent place to spot graffitis and murals.
The city has been the epicenter of arts and culture for centuries, so it makes sense that it is open to such artistic expressions. Interestingly, I had selectively seen the Haussmann architecture only and had never noticed the murals before on the walls of Paris streets, until I walked alone in Paris! That’s the beauty of solo travel; your amplified senses make you a better observer.
#7. Go Shopping
Going shopping in Paris is exciting whether you are alone or together with someone! But I like shopping alone because I can take as much time as I want and try out as many. I also get to skip all the shops I have no interest in. Count your blessings if you can shop alone in Paris without a yawning husband or crying kiddos.
Paris has plenty of shops you can visit. But if you are not sure where to shop in Paris, here are a few places you can consider:
Shopping Malls: Easy tax refund process & all brands in one space!
- Galeries Lafayette Haussmann: A glamorous historic department store with a steel-frame art nouveau glass dome.
- Le Bon Marché: An upscale 19th-century mall with famous gourmet groceries, designer brands, beauty, furniture and home decorations
- Le BVH Marais: A lifestyle department store near Hôtel de Ville with a rooftop terrace.
- Samaritaine: A newly renovated shopping center in Le Marais
- La Vallée Village: A large outdoor shopping mall on the outskirts of Paris featuring 100+ luxury and premium brand outlet stores. Take this shuttle.
French Brands for Women:
A.P.C., Arche, Ba&sh, Bobbies, Claudie Pierlot, Éric Bompard, Isabel Marant, Loulou Studio, Maje, Petite Mendigote, Sandro, Sessùn, Sézane, Sœur, Tara Jarmon, The Kooples, Vanessa Bruno, Zadig & Voltaire
Nothing compares to Paris when it comes to vintage shopping. Paris is your ultimate treasure trove destination to find anything from a dirt-cheap marinière shirt to a rare Chanel vintage bag.
Also, I like to shop for perfumes in Paris. I love stocking up on my usual Diptyque because it is cheaper and tax-free. Many perfume brands have a Paris limited edition that you can only buy in Paris. I recently discovered Marc-Antoine Barrois, a new up-and-coming Parisian “nose” who launched his brand not yet available outside the country.
#8. Visit the Covered Passages
The covered passages in Paris are a hidden gem for solo travelers to discover the city’s enchanting charm and rich history. They were built in the 19th century to provide a luxury shopping experience for the Parisian bourgeois on rainy days.
Inside the stunning glass-roofed architecture, visitors can marvel at the city’s glamorous past. Today, it still provides an excellent shelter from rain. Moreover, these covered walkways are filled with elegant boutiques, bookstores, rare souvenir shops and quaint cafes.
#9. People Watch at a Terrace Cafe
French cafe culture is one of many cultural charms you should experience in Paris. The French love to sit on a terrace and take a coffee break. They read, smoke and watch the world go by for hours. No one rushes them out. So do what the locals do and soak up the Parisian vibe yourself.
On my first visit to Paris, I noticed that most of the terrace chairs were facing toward the street. People sit there alone or with friends and watch people over a coffee (and cigarette!). Many wore sunglasses, so I couldn’t tell for sure. But at one point, everyone’s head bobbed from one side to another, clearly indicating they were all staring at passers-by. (hilarious!)
When a server asks if you are going to eat or drink, say to drink (French: pour boire). They usually assign you to a table inside for meals. You could ask for a terrace seat, but note that you will inhale cigarette smoke with your food. Feel free to order a glass of wine, champagne, or coffee. Or try Cafe Gourmand, a coffee with a variety of bite-size desserts.
#10. Indulge Yourself in French Pastries
Your Paris trip is not complete without tasting the delectable French pastries. From a perfectly flaky croissant to a velvety hot chocolate, Parisian desserts are not just sweets; they are a culinary art and a testament to centuries of pastry expertise. (You’re welcome to make it guilt-free! Seriously, you will walk off all the calories in Paris. )
As a solo traveler, Paris is an ideal destination for your culinary journey. From small neighborhood boulangeries to the flagship store of famous patisseries, the sweet aroma allures you to come in. Enjoy the freedom to pop in to savor every bite and sip without being interrupted. The precious moments of culinary delight will be all yours!
#11. Hang Out at Bookstores
Do you fancy books? Whether a bibliophile or a casual reader, you will be charmed by a wealth of independent bookstores with unique characters and history in Paris.
Step into Shakespeare and Company, a historic bookstore serving English speakers. Peruse the shelves of Librarie F Jousseamme at Galerie Vivienne, one of the oldest bookstores in Paris. If you have keen eyes on artistic objets and design books, head to Ofr in Le Marais, an independent bookstore and art gallery.
Surrounded by the smell of aged paper, vintage books and typewriters, hours will pass without you noticing. You may come home with a rare first edition of a classic French novel or a coffee-table book.
#12. Make Friends
If you feel lonely or are homesick during the trip, you may want to find a travel companion. I understand meeting a stranger in a foreign country can be nerve-wracking. And you should always keep your safety as the top priority.
However, there are ways to make a new friend relatively safely.
Be part of an online community specifically for female solo travelers. They are only open to female travelers, so there is no lurking or catcalling. These are a supporting community to encourage one another and search for other women traveling in the same city you are going to.
- NomadHer is an app requiring everyone to submit a government photo ID and a photo to be accepted. Paris and Seoul are the two most significant hubs for local meetups. But they host solo traveling camps and meetups in other cities worldwide. You can ask for tips or find travel buddies in your destination. I met a few girls in Paris via this app. I went to Angelina Cafe with a girl from Milano to share sweets. I joined a Montmartre food tour with a Nigerian Canadian. And I had a lovely happy hour with a local French girl at a bar.
- Solo Female Travelers is an active Facebook community for solo female travelers to share tips and information. You can post or find a meetup, travel buddy, and place to crush via its subgroup, Solo Female Travelers Connection.
- Girls LOVE Travel is another global Facebook community with 1 million active members. Running a search alone will have archives of destination information. Overnight (Girls Love Travel) is a subgroup connecting female travelers.
Another great way is to make friends before you arrive. If you want to learn basic French before your trip, find a language exchange partner via Conversation Exchange. It is not necessarily a female travel community; however, you can make a local friend and practice the language. For me, having a French friend to contact in an emergency was an immediate confidence booster.
#13. Venture Out of Paris
Can you explore outside the Paris alone? Absolutely! There are many easy day trips from Paris for solo travelers, whether you catch a train yourself or join a tour.
You can visit the Palace of Versailles and other castles near the city, such as Château de Fontainebleau, Château de Chantilly, Château de Vincennes, etc. (Many of which are covered with Paris Museum Pass or Paris Pass.)
On my most recent trip, I joined a Giverny small-group tour to visit Monet’s House & Garden. It is gorgeous out there. Only 1.5 hours away from Paris, you can experience a stunning French countryside town.
Best Day Trips From Paris
>> Day Trip to Monet’s Garden in Giverny: I wanted a no-hassle trip to Giverny because I was traveling to Paris during a major train strike. A comfy van was filled with a delightful conversation. And Monet’s Garden was so stunning and fragrant!
>> Versailles Bike Tour: I had a disastrous self-tour of Versailles. I underestimated the train ride from Paris, the crowd, the heat, and just how gigantic the palace ground was. This tour is highly recommended by a friend who made a wiser choice than me.
#14. Master Solo Dining Skills
Paris is known for its culinary scene. If you shy away from dining at a restaurant or cafe, you are missing out. So you better master solo dining skills in Paris.
Don’t be afraid to ask for a table for one. No one cares if you are there alone or with a big group. It is usual to dine alone in French culture. Some restaurants even have counters or communal tables for solo diners.
One time at a bouillon – a spacious traditional French restaurant, I had a unique solo dining experience. When I asked for a table for one, I had to wait a bit as group diners got a table almost immediately. Ultimately, I was paired with a French mom and her daughter from Brittany. It could have turned awkward, but they were gracious enough to make small talks with me and even helped me order food. Another interesting thing about this restaurant was that the waiter jotted down the food I ordered on a paper table cover, a.k.a. my bill. This was not a usual dining experience in Paris; nevertheless, it is something I will remember for a long time.
If you are discouraged from dining alone or feeling awkward, opt for lunch over dinner. During the day, many office workers take a lunch break alone, so you would feel less spotlight for showing up alone. This strategy is also easy on your wallet as you can enjoy an affordable formula (a fixed-price lunch set). Bistros and brasseries are an excellent choice for lunch.
Alternatively, takeout is always an option. When I was not dining out, I got a sandwich or crepe to go for dinner. I also tried many takeout options like salad bowls and cold plates from the supermarkets.
#15. Take a Cooking Class
Still not confident to dine alone? Taking a cooking class gives you a unique opportunity to appreciate French gourmet.
>> French Market & Cooking Class: This 6-hour class takes you to a local open-air market in the Latin Quarter for fun grocery shopping and teaches classic French home meals in class. A shorter version here without the market visit.
>> Cheesemaking Workshop: Learn French cheese and wine culture. And make cheese with an expert.
>> Macaron Making at Galerie Lafayette: If you are not so much into cooking, how does baking macarons sound? This class is suitable for everyone for solo or families.
I hope that my experience and tips boost your self-confidence. As they say, Paris is always a good idea, whether you are traveling solo or in a group. Enjoy every precious moment and let me know how it goes.
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