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Solo in Paris - 10 days

While I have traveled a few times on my own in Europe, this is not foreign to me. However, I'm wondering if anyone has any tips on eating out or other things that can also be enjoyed solo.
I especially want to go to the Moulin Rouge (I know, way too touristy, but I'm nostalgic) and I would love to eat at a 2 or 3 star Michelin restaurant.
Any suggestions on the best way to navigate these type of activities without looking like a lone ranger?

Posted by
8000 posts

I have done about 20 trips to Europe half of them solo. It can feel fleetingly lonely solo at dinner time.

Just book yourself a seat for one to the Moulin Rouge if you want to go:
http://www.moulinrouge.fr/?lang=en

Sit at the bar or outside and watch the world go by to navigate eating solo.

Posted by
7400 posts

My solo travel perspective comes from numerous solo work trips, including some days in Paris, etc. and a recent 3-week solo vacation trip in Italy. Otherwise, I’ve traveled as a couple.

For Paris, activities I really enjoyed when traveling solo were the wonderful museums, taking a night cruise on the Seine (not the dinner ones), the Eiffel Tower and hanging around that area in the evening, the beautiful gardens, especially the Luxembourg Garden, a little shopping, and exploring neighborhoods in the single digit Arrondissements. When I was in Italy traveling solo, I found that i enjoyed having a nice meal for lunch rather than bigger dinners. Regardless, when going out for dinner, I dressed up and approached a restaurant in a non-timid manner, being cordial to the wait staff. Sometimes, bringing along a small item to read while the meal was being prepared bridged the more awkward part of eating alone.

EDIT: forgot to mention one way to have a fantastic experience- sign up for a cooking class! Or in Paris, I took a croissant baking class. Loved the class & experience, and I’ve made delicious croissants at home numerous times now.

Posted by
1340 posts

Eating Solo is absolutely no big deal in France. You may notice a few people at each restaurant dining solo. Most of my trips to France have been solo, and it can be somewhat daunting but you’ll learn to enjoy those long, amazing lunches and dinners

Posted by
4062 posts

First tip: Stop worrying what other people think. It's your vacation.
Second tip: Make restaurant reservations ahead of time, if only a day (I use The Fork.) Hard to turn a single away when a reservation has been issued. And aside from the busiest nights, most places will be glad to take a single person's money.
Third tip: Go to a concert or other show. These are best enjoyed without having a second person whispering (or talking) in you ear. If you truly need to analyze your experience afterwards, write a diary.
Believe me, I've been there. While I truly enjoy like-minded company on vacation, I also enjoy the freedom to do what I want, when I want.

Posted by
8528 posts

I totally get this. It took me awhile to get used to eating alone in restaurants here in the states, and when I went to Paris it was like I was starting all over again I was so intimidated! There is only one cure. Practice, practice, practice. Be brave and get a few Paris restaurant experiences under your belt and the Paris restaurant becomes an easer place to navigate.

Posted by
3240 posts

I actually enjoy doing things solo, so it would lead me to believe it is more in your head than anyone else being bothered by it. I do often eat at the bar if a restaurant is busy or if I feel like chatting as it is a more social place. I usually take my journal with me and work on that while I'm waiting for my meal. Regarding a 2 or 3 star restaurant, I love taking myself out for a fancy meal. Only at small fancy restaurants have they, on occasion, preferred that I sit at the bar to have dinner, which is, again, no issue for me.

The only thing I don't do solo in Europe (at least that I've discovered) is rent a car. However, I am working on this. I've always wanted a navigator; however, with the correct gps program, I might consider doing this as well if need be. However, I can't enjoy the view if I'm driving so that's that.

Posted by
362 posts

I have traveled numerous times solo. I find eating when restaurants open for the evening works best for me. I do bring something to look at while waiting for my main courses to arrive. Cafes and bistros I go anytime. I have also booked experiences through AirBNB. Many of these have a limited number of participants and I have met at least one other solo traveler on each of my experiences. I looked briefly and there is a Michelin chef that will cook dinner with you in his flat, lots of food tastings and even a restaurant reservation section in Paris now.

Posted by
11507 posts

First - solo dining i Paris is a non issue .

Second - as a museum nerd - my best visits to Paris have been solo .!

Posted by
1340 posts

Pat is totally right. This December will be my first time taking Americans to Paris. It will be interesting to see how they enjoy museums compared to me. Good thing Ive gone many times solo!

Posted by
1056 posts

I always travel solo. I agree that dining alone can be a bit lonely, as eating is often a social event. As others have pointed out, you won’t be the only solo diner. You can use this time to write in your travel journal, read a book or watch the local scenery. While traveling, I usually make it a practice to take a cooking class. In addition to the fact that you’ll learn a new skill, you’ll have time with others and enjoy a communal meal as well.

Posted by
12172 posts

I don't mind eating alone at all. I do find a reservation is necessary in good restaurants. I'm not a 2 or 3 star diner but have often found good restaurants are full for the night regularly before they even open (even to fit in one person). Unlike American restaurants where they clear the table and seat a new group when you finish, French restaurants book one dinner seating. A table is yours for the evening and there is no waiting for a table to open up.

I haven't been to the Moulin Rouge but my French friends say it's a good show and worth seeing.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you all for the responses, feel better about eating out in Paris; never an issue for me anywhere else... mostly was concerned about michelin star restaurants.

Posted by
9777 posts

A highly starred Michelin restaurant should be the most graciously welcoming place you could dine. They have a deep interest in making sure that you the customer have an excellent experience. Partially because of the investment you're making to patronize them, but also because it's in their interest for you to have a wonderful time.

Posted by
1340 posts

Kim is right on. Whenever I have booked solo haute cuisine experiences, they always treat me in a first-class fashion. With all of the meal services, you won't get bored or feel lonely. Tu vas te régaler!

Posted by
511 posts

Another fun thing you can do so you don't always have to eat alone is to take a food tour. I've done this in other cities and the guides, food and other tourists on the tour have all been great.

Posted by
41 posts

See the May 30, 2018 New York Times article “On Eating Alone in Paris”. Truly helpful!

Posted by
42 posts

A tour with Paris Greeters is a wonderful way to see the City more deeply and it is free (please tip the guide). I did my tour solo (there could have been others, but I was all who requested that day). It was a highlight of the trip.

Posted by
3 posts

More great tips, Greeters and NY times article. Thank you so much everyone!!!