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Solo travel in Paris

Hello!

I will be in Germany with a group in May, and I found a cheap flight from Munich to Paris. I have always been obsessed with the history of the French monarchy, so I really want to visit Paris and the surrounding area after my travels in Germany. Does anyone have any advice on being a solo female traveler in Paris?

Thanks!

Posted by
184 posts

I went to Paris solo last fall. It was amazing! What kind of advice are you looking for? Things to do? Safety tips?

Posted by
784 posts

Paris is really easy for a solo female traveler. I've been there for two weeks solo and two weeks with a friend. My next trip is booked for 2 weeks solo, which I much prefer. Solo you can do what you want when you want. If you aren't a big shopper, you don't have to shop...Unless you want to. If you love museums, you can spend as much time as you want in them, or if you just like to relax and people watch you can. I stayed in an apartment and ate most of my dinners in, but enjoyed French food out at lunch when it is significantly less expensive. When I did eat dinners out, I was comfortable doing so and was treated with courtesy. Just use your street smarts when out and about and take normal precautions. Learn a few French phrases, especially greetings, "bonjour," "merci," "Ou sont les toilettes?" etc.

These were not my first times in Paris, so an apartment worked for me, but if it is your first time, you may be more comfortable in a hotel where you can touch base with the staff. You'll want a hotel near the river in one of the single digit arrondissements. There are also some apartment hotels that offer more space and a small kitchenette with the services and con e incest of a hotel. You'll have a great time.

Posted by
12970 posts

Hi,

You found a cheap flight going Munich to Paris..bravo! Go to Paris! Enjoy it. My second time in Paris I was a solo guy at 27.

Posted by
2466 posts

Just do it. You'll have more fun than you think you will. There are tons of solo travellers - women as well as men - everywhere.

Posted by
134 posts

Regarding your fascination with the French monarchy...many of the French kings are buried at the Basilica of St Denis. St. Denis also has concerts from time to time. It's worth checking out. What a venue for classical music!
For a day trip outside of Paris, Reims fills the bill, as most kings of France were crowned there. The added benefit is that Reims is in the heart of champagne country!
Also, Fontainebleau is a short day trp from Paris, as is Versailles.......more royalty to enjoy.

Have a great time!

Posted by
15037 posts

There are no special concerns for a solo woman in Paris. If you are worried about being alone all the time, go on walking tours - Paris Walks is usually good, or a bike tour - Fat Tire Bikes, or others.

Make a list of the sights that you want to see and arrange them geographically, easiest by arrondissement which you can find as the last 2 digits of their zip codes. Take a look at the Paris Museum Pass which can be great if you are in the city long enough (the 4 and 6 day passes are a better deal). Whether you buy it or not when you get to Paris (never in advance!), it's a good resource for most of the city's top sights and a number of lesser ones. There's a brief description of each sight (not all of them are museums) with the basic info - hours, days, addresses.

Posted by
11432 posts

Carolyn, you may want to proofread your response:

There are also some apartment hotels that offer more space and a small kitchenette with the services and xxxxx of a hotel. You'll have a great time.

Posted by
2328 posts

I spent a glorious 6 days solo in Paris last May--well, all my trips are solo--and had no problems whatsoever, rode the metro extensively and walked in numerous neighborhoods. Eating in restaurants was no problem, treated well. As others say, keep an eye on your purse and phone, wear a money belt for peace of mind.

Posted by
234 posts

I travel solo a lot and love it. I was in Paris by myself last fall and had a great time. One thing I like about solo travel is that it gives me the freedom to just experience life in the place without trying to accommodate the interests and preferences of companions who may want to check a number of sights off the list (it helped that I'd been to Paris three times before this trip; if you've never been, definitely see a lot of sights if they interest you!).

I am a big reader, so I tend to bring my kindle with me and enjoy afternoons reading in the park (I am partial to the Jardin du Luxembourg) and leisurely meals with my book, although often the people watching is entertainment enough. As a side note, you will see many chic French women dining alone (or maybe with a cute dog tethered to the table), so you won't be the only one. I also enjoy shopping and wandering little streets just exploring; I especially like doing this in St. Germain and the Marais, and it's such a pleasure when there's no one with me to hurry me along or wonder why I want to turn down that random alley.

One thing that can be more difficult when traveling alone is any post-dinner entertainment/nightlife (if that's something you are interested in). I gravitate often towards shows (concerts, ballets, musicals - whatever the city I'm in is known for).

Posted by
234 posts

Oh also just wanted to add, if you're interested in food at all, dining alone makes it easier to engage with your waiter. I've had many enjoyable meals where the waiter was more than happy to point me in the direction of fabulous menu items I wouldn't have gravitated towards otherwise, which helps me learn about the food wherever I am. Americans often find European waiters a bit brusque, but those have been some of my favorite interactions while traveling!

Posted by
21 posts

Thanks everyone for all the advice! Any tips on what things are worth seeing vs. what aren't? I know I don't want to climb the Eiffel Tower (rather just have a picnic and admire it from below without the hassle!). My interests mainly lie in Renaissance and Rococo architecture and anything to do with history! What would be a good area to stay in? Any specific places to recommend for accommodation?

Posted by
2002 posts

Well there's a lot of history in Paris- but for one of the best experiences I suggest speding the day at Versailles.

Posted by
7257 posts

Hi tkg43307
Read a guide book on Paris. Since you are solo you are going to need it anyway.
No one here knows you and so can not honestly give you advice on what to see
and what not to see. Also there are a lot people here on the forum with a lot of different tastes needs purchasing power so it is better to specify how much you can afford to spend on where to stay to filter out the responses that actually help you.

Posted by
15037 posts

Any tips on what things are worth seeing vs. what aren't? I know I don't want to climb the Eiffel Tower (rather just have a picnic and admire it from below without the hassle!). My interests mainly lie in Renaissance and Rococo architecture and anything to do with history! What would be a good area to stay in? Any specific places to recommend for accommodation?

Everything is worth seeing, except the Champs Elysees ☺ re-read my post above for basic advice. Check out the websites.

Where to stay - anywhere in the 1st to 6th arrondissement. Nothing wrong with the others (well, most of them) but they are farther away. 1-2 are the center of the center. 3-4 are the Marais quarter, right bank, a little yuppie, a little residential. 5-6 are the left bank, a little cheaper, more students, more lively at night.

Posted by
11613 posts

I spent six nights in Paris and never got tired of the museum's, galleries, architecture..,

Get a good guidebook, sign up for a specific tour or two, go to Saint-Denis, and do not sign petitions or stop for people telling you that you dropped your gold ring.

Posted by
1780 posts

Hi tkg, I agree that everything in Paris is worth seeing, I've been there 8 or 9 times and there's a lot I haven't seen and many places I visit again and again. History and amazing architecture are everywhere so you don't have to look too far to find them. The Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, Louvre, D'Orsay, Rodin, Napoleon's Tomb, and the Arc de Triomphe are all wonderful. If you have time, a day trip to Versailles (maybe do a Fat Tire Bike Tour) would be interesting and fun. Hope you have a great trip!

Posted by
317 posts

Most of my travels have been with family or groups, but I did have a solo-within-a-group experience a few times, and would recommend Rick's audio tours to you. I found it so interesting to listen to his audio tours while en route to the destination, as well as while in certain museums. It was a way to tune out the hubbub around me and have a personal tour.

You'll have the luxury of wandering and listening and watching, without any chaperone duties! :-) If you haven't checked them out, they're worth a listen. (Museum tours and city walks). Even on the way home on the plane, I chose to listen to one of Rick's Paris walks, which criss-crossed some of our paths we'd taken. It was fun to learn more about what I'd seen, and it also helped me remember things I wanted to write about in my trip journal.

Just a thought to add to your planning...

Enjoy!
Laurie

Posted by
8394 posts

I agree everything is worth seeing, including the Champs Elysées. It's iconic, and beautiful in it's way. Getting the RS Paris guidebook and reading it before you go is a good idea. I just got back from Paris, didn't go alone but spent several days on my own and I loved it for all the reasons already mentioned... most especially cuz I could do whatever I wanted at my own pace and change my mind on a dime and go do something else. Paris is the easiest place I've ever been to be solo. It's safe, great transportation, easy to eat alone, and an endless list of fun things to do. My favorite things to do are just walk and explore a neighborhood (3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th my favorites but I like them all), sitting outside at cafés and the Luxembourg Gardens.
Paris first started on Ile de la Cité, where Nôtre Dame is, and it's actually the center of Paris. I like staying in the 4th, 5th and 6th the most. Paris is amazing, have a great time!

Posted by
9898 posts

Ditto everyone else's comments on going solo to Paris! It's great!

Do some diligent research in to what museums will be open what days you will be there, which ones you want to see, then take a look at the Museum Pass which you can get once you get there.

If you aren't used to solo travel, I do better as a solo traveler with an itinerary for each day.

Posted by
1806 posts

It's really an easy place to tour solo as a woman. I disagree with Carolyn's assertion that you want to get yourself lodging in a single digit arrondissement. I stayed in the 10th on my first solo trip to Paris and traveled back and forth via Metro or bus at all hours of the day and night and had zero issues. There are a lot of double digit arrondissements that are really nice to stay in and feel far less touristy and give you a chance to see a different side of Parisian life than you would if you are staying somewhere like the Latin Quarter, Marais or by Rue Cler. Prices can also be better for lodging. Just make sure that wherever you stay, you select some place that is within walking distance to public transit (preferably more than one route). And don't be afraid to take public transit. It's easy to figure out. You'll tend to hear all the negative stories on this board about how pickpockets are lurking on every single line at every stop just waiting to lift your wallet while distracting you with any number of scams and diversions. Be alert, but no need to clutch your pearls or your purse in a deathgrip 24/7 as you move around Paris!

If you feel like you want to be around some people, sign up for things like one of the Paris Walks tours around a neighborhood that interests you, or join couchsurfing (you don't have to sleep on someone's sofa - there are local members who may be more than happy to just grab a coffee with you and show you their city or have a chat over lunch). Learn some polite phrases, but don't stress if you aren't able to speak perfect French. Make the effort to try and they will appreciate the gesture and likely switch over to perfect English soon after you open up your mouth.

Posted by
11973 posts

I was there in September solo and plan on being back in May. For a solo trip, I liked the MIJE hostel. It's really well located and inexpensive. It's a hostel but a pretty good one. It's usually full, so you might want reservations right away.

For history of French monarchy. I'd definitely plan Versailles as one stop. The other don't miss would be Bassilica Saint Denis at the north end of the 13 Metro line. Virtually anyone who is anyone French monarchy is buried there, don't miss the crypt.

Posted by
2466 posts

Don't make the mistake that solo female travellers often do - get out at night and wander around. Too many people think the sidewalks roll up at 10 or 11 PM...
Paris is a safe city as long as you take the normal precautions and know how to get back to your lodging.
The Metro is safe and if you happen to walk down a deserted street, just remember that everybody has gone home and nobody will jump out of a doorway to harm you.
You can always hail a taxi if you go to a busy intersection - green light on top means it's available, red light means it isn't. Good idea to print out the complete address where you're staying and hand it to the driver.
You won't be able to find Renaissance and Rococo in the same neighbourhoods, unfortunately.

Posted by
672 posts

I've traveled to Paris twice by myself so far, and while I love going with my husband, there is a true freedom to traveling solo. As others have said, Paris is a wonderful city to be by yourself. You can do what you want when you want.

I would suggest hanging out in the gardens! I love the Tuileries, Luxembourg, the Jardin des Plantes and Parc Monceau. All are wonderful and unique. If you go to Parc Monceau, definitely check out the Musee Nissim de Camondo. Another great place to hang out is the small park behind Notre Dame (and it has free bathrooms if you need them!)

This may sound corny, but just let Paris envelope you. Have a loose plan for the day, but listen to your gut and if you'd rather sit in a cafe rather than go to a museum, that's fine! Just BE in Paris.

You'll have a great time!

Posted by
8394 posts

"just let Paris envelope you. Have a loose plan for the day, but listen to your gut and if you'd rather sit in a cafe rather than go to a museum, that's fine! Just BE in Paris."

I agree with Dawn 100%. The best part of Paris, for me, is not the tourist sites or the museums, it is walking and exploring as much as you can cover at a leisurely pace, sitting in cafés and sitting in the Luxembourg Gardens. Heaven!

Posted by
171 posts

Put Ste Chapelle on your list. Spectacular stained glass and it's near Notre Dame.

Posted by
1540 posts

Another vote for Ste Chapelle . We waited in line in the rain for at least an hour..... but it was well worth it.

Posted by
784 posts

Frank II, I do proof read, but unfortunately, the auto correct on this tablet has a mind of its own. My apologies to anyone who may have been offended by my inadvertent error. Unfortunately, I spotted the mistake after it was too late to make a correctiom.

Posted by
1683 posts

I agree with Dawn and Susan “Just BE in Paris” and enjoying the atmosphere and do whatever you want is what attracts me too, most easy if you are going solo ofcourse. Not only relaxing but actually you experience more.

But going the first or just a few time(s) it is understandable being focussed on sightseeing and things like that.