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Travelling to Paris alone? I overheard a young woman in a cafe in Victoria, Canada saying that she would never do a solo trip to Paris. “The Eiffel Tower alone?” she moaned. I almost leapt across the table, stared her down and barked, “Why not?”
But I am a reserved Canadian and just couldn’t interrupt her and say, ” Solo travel to Paris is the best!” I pondered instead her loss of a magnificent opportunity.
Paris has the reputation of being the most romantic city in the world. There are plenty of bridges spanning the Seine where kissing couples linger and, in the spring when the perfume of roses fills the air, romance just begs to be experienced first hand. It seems as though it might be a challenge but, going to Paris alone is more than perfectly doable.
Let’s start with a few questions:
- Have you travelled solo before?
- Are you good with your own company?
- Can you let yourself be swept away by the charm and elegance of Paris?
- Will you allow yourself to connect with the essence of Paris?
If you answered, “Y E S” to the above, I think you are set to have a marvellous time travelling to Paris alone. Embracing solo travel is predominantly about mindset. Attitude is everything. If you are going to solo travel to Paris, step into your space and explore like there’s no tomorrow. You have all of Paris and just yourself to worry about. Going to Paris alone sounds like a recipe for success!
Here’s how to maximize solo travel in Paris.
You might want to read about what to expect from Parisians. Are they exactly like the stereotype? Here’s what I found about Parisians and their culture.
Travelling To Paris Alone: What To Do
1. Travelling To Paris Alone: Take A Walking Tour
No matter how many times I return to Paris, I love to take a walking tour. If you are worried about going to Paris alone, walking tours are one way to meet people. I have had exceptional experiences with Paris Greeters and also with Discover Walks. Taking a bike tour is another way to solo travel in Paris and connect with others.
These Guided Walking Tours Might Be Just For You!
Or, try one of these unique walking tours of Paris.
2. Explore The Village Life
The two sides of Paris, the capital city with constantly wailing sirens and the small village atmosphere, are both waiting to be unveiled. Paris is huge but dive into the neighbourhoods that used to be small villages, sit at a corner café and watch how the community interacts. There is no better place to have this Paris experience than in Montmartre. Get lost on the cobbled streets and discover corners of Paris you didn’t know existed. Travelling to Paris alone never felt so great! Stroll along remembering that Picasso and Renoir once sat at these very same cafés. Check out the main attractions and the tucked away highlights of Montmartre.
Other Paris Villages To Explore:
Ile de la Cité: My guide to 17 things to see and do in this iconic part of Paris.
Saint-Germain des Prés: Here are 20 things to do in St Germain Paris. Which will you add to your list of exploring this charming part of Paris?
Montparnasse: There is much more to the 14th arrondissement than the Catacombs and the Montparnasse Tower.
La Butte aux Cailles: Looking for Off the Beaten Path Paris… here it is…
Travelling to Paris alone? Ile Saint-Louis, Paris is a safe and marvellous spot to visit. Ile Saint-Louis is the small island in Paris tucked in behind Notre Dame Cathedral. Step back in time to one of Paris’s oldest villages. Walk the streets, eat famous ice cream and sit awhile on the tip of the island and watch the Seine traffic. And don’t forget to listen to the street music on Pont Saint-Louis. Here are all the details on how to spend some time visiting Ile Saint-Louis.
Le Marais is a favourite spot to visit in Paris. This neighbourhood is full of old mansions, boutiques, cafés and the prettiest square in all of Paris. Read my full Marais guide here.
If you love hip areas, the 11th arrondissement of Paris is full of unique boutiques and great restaurants. Here is my guide to the 11th arrondissement.
How about the mini-village sitting on a hill in the 19th arrondissement? Here are 5 Great Reasons to Visit Butte Bergeyre.
The 12th arrondissement has some great hidden treasures like rue Crémieux and the Marché d’Aligre.
3. Travelling To Paris Alone: Walk, Bike, And Cruise
A visit to Paris is never complete, in my opinion, without a long drawn-out stroll alongside the Seine. Travelling to Paris alone is the perfect opportunity for such a walk. You encounter the city from another angle. Who actually lives on the houseboats? Which bridge is which and what is its significance? How many picnics are happening? And a multitude of Parisians in the midst of “jogging” (say that in your best French accent) will pass you by inspiring you to walk a bit more briskly.
I absolutely love taking a one-hour cruise down the Seine. You get a completely different perspective of beautiful Paris and its monuments. Try timing your cruise for the evening when everything lights up. The Illumination Cruise is spectacular.
Another way to explore the city of Paris is by bicycle. Especially now in 2020 with the addition of many more bicycle lanes, hopping on a bike is a great way to get familiar with Paris. I get lost every time but it makes me smile because it means I am getting to know Paris intimately! Here are my tips on renting a Velib (those green and blue bicycle rental stations) and how not to get one stolen.
Close to the Eiffel Tower is Ile aux Cygnes, the third and smallest island in the Seine in Paris. Walk over from the Eiffel Tower and find vantage points to take photos and more. Read about Ile aux Cygnes here.
4. Travelling To Paris Alone: Flâner A Little
My favourite way to explore Paris is to wander. Why not step into the designation of “urban explorer” when travelling to Paris alone? The quintessential urban explorer, known as a flâneur in the 18th century, was a man (not a suitable designation for a woman back then) who strolled about town, frequented cafés and observed daily life. Perhaps this is the perfect way to explore Paris. Not a man? Not a problem. The modern-day female explorer can acquire the role of flâneuse, walking through the city.
When I solo travel in Paris, I am more aware. I notice more. I observe minute details about daily life. Waiting for a light to change, I find myself eavesdropping (to the best of my ability) on local interactions. I utter the word “flâneuse” aloud, smile and continue dawdling along.
5. Solo Travel To Paris: Get Off The Beaten Path
Paris is full of hidden gems. There is a certain joy in uncovering hidden Paris, especially on a solo trip to Paris. Start with these tucked-away gems and connect with the elegance and charm that is Paris.
Walking the Coulée Verte in Paris’s 12th arrondissement is another way to get off the beaten path…all the way to the Bois de Vincennes.
6. Picnic By Canal Saint-Martin
Have you ever bought one of those mini-champagne bottles and had a little celebration solo? Solo travel in Paris requires festivities! Plan a “picnic for one” by the Canal Saint-Martin. If this sounds appealing, read my entire post on “What to do” by Canal Saint-Martin and where to eat and find the BEST picnic supplies! You won’t be alone and the people watching will keep you more than entertained. You might want some croissants for that picnic or maybe to start your day. Here are the best places to find croissants in Paris (one of them is right by the Canal Saint-Martin).
7. Travelling To Paris Alone: Tango By The Seine
When the sensual side of life is calling to you, just head down to the Jardin Tino-Rossi to watch the dynamic and elegant flow of tango dancing. It might seem hard on the heart as a solo traveller to watch couples dancing. But, as the Parisiens arrive, change into their dancing shoes and float to the music alongside the Seine, I, personally, feel remarkably alive and inspired in the City of Love. Tango by the Seine is people-watching with a seductive twist.
8. Watch Sailboats In The Jardin Du Luxembourg
There are so many experiences to be undertaken in Paris. I have a list of many that are not to be missed. One of my favourite places to observe life and relax in Paris is in the Jardin du Luxembourg. The green metallic chairs fill on weekend mornings with friends visiting and sunbathers. Picnics and games of pétanque occur, ponies are ridden and little children scoot around the perimeter of the fountain pushing their sailboats while parents cheer them on. Embrace this solo trip to Paris and simply observe lived moments.
9. Solo Trip To Paris: Stand Amongst Locals At A Café
Paris is a city that lives and socializes outdoors. Can you really feel alone when corner cafes are buzzing with conversation and connection? Catch a wave of the energy. Be content with your own company. Choose an outdoor table and people watch or scratch a few notes in your journal.
When I solo travel to Paris, I love to stand at the bar amongst the locals, order a coffee and pay the Parisian (non-tourist) price. Stay standing and drink your coffee at the counter. All around, Parisians will be chatting to their barista or reading the paper. I have been known to stand and read on my Kindle app, Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast. Better yet, pick up a book at an English Bookstore in Paris and read away! (If you’re a Hemingway fan, you might want to pop by the Hemingway Bar and sit right on a barstool and soak up the literary vibe!
In 2020, the ability to stand at the bar and order a coffee was taken away. Thank you Coronavirus. Quietly, it became a right to order a coffee at the bar. But it’s not the same. There is only room for one or two people.
10. Travelling To Paris Alone: Visit A Smaller Museum
If larger crowds seem overwhelming on a solo trip to Paris, opt to spend some time in a smaller museum. Paris is full of intimate museums tucked in all corners of the city. Head to the Musée Jacquemart-André in a stunning Paris home or the Musée Montmartre where famous artists Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Suzanne Valadon once lived.
11. Travelling To Paris Alone: Take A Cooking Class
What a thrill when I was given a cooking class as a gift at the cooking school at the Ritz Hotel! It was a 4-hour class and if you love to cook, you can’t go wrong! It was elegant and professional and every minute of the hands-on 4-hour class was jam-packed! It’s the perfect thing to do if you are travelling to Paris alone. Read about my cooking class experience at the Ritz Hotel.
If the Ritz doesn’t fit into your plans, here are some other suggested cooking classes to consider:
- a market visit and cooking class with a Parisian chef
- French pastry secrets with a Ferrandi chef
- making macarons with a Parisian chef
12. Watch A Riveting Game Of Pétanque
Can you feel alone observing pétanque in action? The heavy metal balls clank and players gather intently around a landing spot to determine points.
Head on over to Place Dauphine, one of the oldest squares in Paris, situated at the end of Ile de la Cité. It provides an oasis in bustling Paris – sip rosé in a café, watch a game of pétanque (better yet, join in!) or relax on a bench.
13. Devour Delicious Gluten-Free Delights
Now France is known for its incredible cuisine. We all know that. But what if you are gluten-free and wandering from pâtisserie to pâtisserie hoping for something you can savour. Look no further than this handy resource on gluten-free cafés and restaurants in Paris. This is an ongoing list that will be updated frequently.
Grab a fabulous GF focaccia from Chambelland and pair it with some delectable French cheese. These French cheeses are sure to set your taste buds alight! If you are looking for outstanding Fromageries in Paris, look no further than one of these seven.
And… if you are in Paris in January for Epiphany, be sure to try the Galette des Rois. You never know, you might be crowned as a royal! If you are in the Gluten-Free camp, Chambelland has its very own version.
14. Travelling To Paris Alone: Explore The Paris Markets
One of the greatest places to watch French life unfold is at the markets. I find on a solo trip to Paris that I am much more tuned into those around me. Where better to observe Parisian life in action than at the markets?
The well-dressed ladies with their shopping caddies roll up to their regular vendors, have a lovely conversation and stock up for the next day or so. The men are shopping too with their partners. This is definitely not a chore but an outing centred around one of the keystones of French life, gastronomy.
Marché des Enfants Rouges: This oldest covered market in Paris is the perfect place to stock up on fresh fruit and vegetables, eat a meal at a shared table and get some much-needed (or not!) life advice.
Marché aux Puces: Paris’s famous flea market is an outing in itself. The perfect place to flâner and observe life in Paris. There is something for everyone. Here is what to expect at Marché aux Puces.
When travelling to Paris alone or with a friend I love to visit two of my favourite Paris markets. Don’t miss the Marché Richard Lenoir (Bastille) and the Marché d’Aligre. I’ve written about them both in my articles on the 11th arrondissement and the 12th arrondissement.
Christmas Markets: In Paris in December? The Christmas markets in Paris are a marvellous, festive place to find all your Christmas gifts. And what about a day trip to Strasbourg to visit the Strasbourg Christmas Market, which has been going strong since 1570?
15. Travelling Alone to Paris? Consider A Day Trip
When travelling to Paris alone, there are plenty of trips within a day’s reach. There are Normandy beaches, remarkable chateaux, pilgrimage sites and tiny medieval villages all well within reach of Paris. Check out train schedules and bus schedules and you’ll be amazed where you can get to in a day.
Here are a few day trips to consider when travelling to Paris alone:
Château de Versailles: One of the most popular destinations in France and day trips from Paris is a trip to the Versailles domain. Plan on spending the whole day. This article gives the answers to many FAQ and highlights what to look for at Versailles. If you prefer a guided tour from Paris to Versailles, here are 7 best-guided tours to Versailles.
If you are looking for a magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Site castle close to Paris but less crowded than Versailles, why not visit the Château de Fontainebleau?
Château de Chantilly: If you love castles and are looking for one close to Paris and less busy than Versailles, why not plan a day trip to the Château de Chantilly? It’s beautiful, opulent, has an amazing museum and gardens, and even a Grand Stable to investigate. Here is how to plan a day trip to Chantilly.
Giverny France: Giverny in Normandy France is one of the most popular day trips from Paris. This post, How to Spend the Perfect Day in Giverny, explains how to get there and what to see. Claude Monet’s home and water lily ponds are unforgettable. Go early!
Auvers-sur-Oise: If you love small towns, artist communities and Vincent Van Gogh, this is the destination for you. He lived here for a few months before his untimely death and created 80 paintings in this short time. Here is how to visit.
Deauville and Trouville: These twin towns in Normandy are right on the beach. If you are in Paris in the summer, they are a marvellous escape to the sea. Both towns also have a rich history which makes them a fine destination at any time of the year. Here’s the low down on this day trip.
If you decide to go to Deauville and Trouville-sur-Mer, you might want to extend your day trip… Honfleur is not far at all from Trouville-sur-Mer and then Etretat is just a bit further on! Check out my posts and decide which calls to you the most! Normandy has plenty of great places to for a day trip or perhaps a longer excursion. Here are 19 Things To Do in Normandy.
Provins: If you love medieval towns, Provins is the perfect place to go. Ramparts, tunnels and plenty of half-timbered houses will be sure to delight you. Or time your visit for the annual ( except 2020) medieval festival. Here is what to do in Provins.
Disneyland Paris: Just a short 35-minute train ride away is a little dose of Disney magic! Read these tips for planning out the perfect day trip to Disneyland Paris.
The Loire Valley: How about taking a guided tour to visit several Châteaux in the Loire Valley? Here are 5 best-guided tours to the Loire Valley from Paris.
16. Is It Safe To Travel To Paris Alone?
“Should I travel to Paris alone? Is it safe?” are very common questions. Travelling to Paris alone, you definitely need to be aware and prepared. Paris is a busy, capital city and with that comes pickpocketers and scammers. After many visits, I personally have only been scammed once (and had a bike stolen) but have heard numerous tales of friends and fellow travellers being pickpocketed and scammed. To be prepared, read all about common Paris scams and how to avoid them.
Although Paris is a walking city if you are covering a lot of ground, being well versed in how to use the métro will set you up for success. Here are all the tips you need to use the Paris métro like a local.
The answer to the question, “Is it safe to travel to Paris alone?” is yes. A definite yes. Bring a boatload of awareness in your back pocket and your solo travel in Paris will be a success. Travelling to Paris alone feels very safe. It is, in fact, my favourite city to explore solo. I love it so much, I decided to move to Paris for a year (yes, the Coronavirus year…). Read about Why I decided to move to Paris and what it was like during the Coronavirus. On a solo trip to Paris, you can be alone but rarely lonely, even in confinement.
If you need tips on how to prepare for a safe solo trip to Paris, or another destination, there is plenty of information on my solo female travel page.