A Guide to Enjoying Paris Solo
I get too many emails. Doesn’t everyone? Everyday something or someone shows up in my inbox asking for help on where to go or what to do in Paris. Yeah, that’s why we have a website and blog with 5000+ pages (I think to myself) but I try to answer as many of these “requests” as I can, considering it’s a free service its not always possible as a girl’s gotta pay the rent.
But, today a quick little query inspired me to write this post. Yes its cryptic, but I got her point which was basically; Yikes, I’m going to Paris alone, what should I do?!!
Please send me more info re a single person (moi) visiting Paris in August.
Here’s my recipe for an enjoyable, stress free trip to Paris by oneself. Have faith, traveling to Paris solo is not sad….its good for the soul.
First of all, don’t panic. You can do almost anything that a couple or a pair of friends can do except kiss under the Pont Marie bridge or encourage your shopping buddy to buy that expensive blouse.
The best thing about traveling alone is that you never have to ask that question; “What do you want to do today?”
You are free and thus can choose and change your mind on a whim so take advantage of that.
- Ride a bus and get off wherever the spirit moves you and wander around, with no agenda and no destination in mind.
- See as many art exhibits as you can. Strolling around an art gallery or museum fills me with inspiration and this activity is actually better to do solo because you can soak in the beauty without checking to see if your friend responds like you do.
- Keep a journal to write down your thoughts and ideas as you sip a coffee at a sidewalk café. You’ll be surprised how solitude makes you think better, smarter, more creatively and even occasionally profoundly.
- Enjoy some English or French theatre.
- Take a self-guided stroll. Download some of our walking tours or any others offered online and learn something you didn’t know about Paris. Audio tours can be particularly fun by oneself.
- Listen to some music in the evening, after all you don’t need a copaine to enjoy some tunes. Consult the Paris Tourism bureau for current events, musically speaking. I’m a huge fan of gypsy jazz, invented in Paris by Django Rheinhardt, now experiencing an exciting global revival. Catch some if you can.
- Read one of the many books about Paris, such as Lunch in Paris or Paris to the Moon whilst picnicking in a park.
- Take a class; cooking classes are huge fun for foodies and photography classes are ideal when your backdrop is Paris.
- Take a tour, Paris by Mouth offers superb tasting tours, the Antiques Diva will guide you through the Marche aux Puces, or what about a scavenger hunt at the Louvre?
- If all else fails, go see a movie. I do this on nights when I’m exhausted but still would like to get out and yet I’m not interested in a big meal. Paris has so many cinemas, many of which play English language (version original) movies. La Pagode is one of the most unique theatres you’ll ever enter.
- Meet some people. Go to Jim Hayne’s famous Sunday night parties, join a co-lunching group or check out On Va Sortir. In addition there are Franglish events, which test your French language skills.
- Have a 3-course meal in peace! Personally, I’ll go anywhere in Paris alone to eat. I’ve eaten at Michelin starred restaurants down to the dive around the corner. Here are some places that you’ll feel inconspicuous, but do remember to say boldly when you enter, Je suis seul (I am alone). Meg Zimbeck’s Paris by Mouth has an extensive list of good places to eat alone in Paris.
Jill Filipovic waxed poetically about solo travel in an article for the Guardian. “I’ve traveled alone to dozens of places, and come to the conclusion that solo exploration is one of the best ways to learn and challenge oneself. It’s a great way to re-center, to escape from the details of daily life that can distract us from our own big picture and to come back with a new sense of self-sufficiency and purpose.
Waking up in a totally new place and asking yourself, “What do I want to do today?” is a pretty fantastic way to get to know aspects of personality and your preferences that you may not usually tap into. Same with sitting quietly at a restaurant, slowly enjoying your food and drink and being in your own head without the crutch of conversation or the weight of self-consciousness.”
Share your own tips for traveling solo on our Facebok page.
Paris Tourism Bureau Music
Paris Tourism Bureau Exhibitions
Girls’ Guide to Paris D.I.Y. Walking Tours
Theatre with English subtitles
More articles on the topic
Solo in Paris
How to meet people in Paris (Written for Expatica)
Eating Alone in Paris