Solo Female Travel to Paris: Tips for Navigating the City of Light

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Solo Female Travel to Paris: Tips for Navigating the City of Light
You have dreamed your whole life to go to Paris, so what is holding you back? Maybe your significant other or best friend would rather spend a vacation on a beach or hiking on a mountain, but you want to stroll the cobblestones and start every morning with a warm croissant and café on a terrace. I am here to tell you if you want to go, GO! Paris is one of the easiest cities to visit alone and I have done it more than ten times now. It is easy to navigate, safe, and there are plenty of things to do. When I am in Paris I spend much of my time researching French history, strolling through museums and spending hours sitting on a terrace enjoying a glass or four of French wine. However, the beauty of Paris is that you can make it all your own and anything you want. My first trip to Paris, many years ago when a friend used her airline miles to get me a ticket, I arrived to visit the city that I had loved even before I ever set foot in it. It was to be a short, six-day trip and then onto Florence where my friend lived. After two days, she said to me one hot and muggy day, “I think you should go back to Paris.” The thought of turning around by myself and heading back to Paris at first sounded pretty scary, but after a lovely lunch and lots of wine, it sounded better and better. A ticket was purchased, hotel secured, and the next day I was back on a plane, heading straight to Paris. Arriving at Orly, luggage in hand and off to grab a taxi I went. Well, so I thought. Following the taxi signs, I was approached by a man asking if I needed a taxi, well how easy can this be, Oui Oui! As we walked towards the cars, we stopped at a motorcycle. With my large luggage in tow, wondering how this was going to happen and picturing myself dying on the way into the city of love, I told myself that I could do this. Strapping my suitcase and myself, and gripping for my life, it was onto Paris. If you have been in a car on a Paris highway you will recall seeing the motorcycles zipping in-between cars, well this guy wasn’t any different. Half way through the trip, my sweaty hands loosened their grip and before I knew it, we were flying by the Jardin du Luxembourg and Place Saint Michel. I wanted to let go and open my arms and embrace being back in Paris, but let’s not get too crazy. It took under 30 minutes during rush hour to get to my hotel, cost about twice as much as it should have, but for the 75 euros I bought a since of freedom I didn’t even know I had, and that is priceless. I was standing on the Pont des Arts as sunset fell and knew I was exactly where I should be. When you travel on your own, the whole day is open to you– as is the city. If you want to spend four hours in the Cour Puget of the Musée du Louvre, you can. Perhaps walking aimlessly through the streets on an early Sunday morning stopping along the way at a café for that perfect croissant is more on your agenda; you can do that as well. Your time is yours to do with as you would like, so soak it all in. There are a few things to keep in mind when you plan that solo voyage. Location and safety being the biggest but don’t let any of that scare you. For myself, I stay fairly central on the left or right bank which is a lovely walk to the museums where I spend a lot of my time. Saint Germain is a bustling area at all hours of the day and late into the evening and walking late into the night is never a problem. As a solo woman traveling, I recommend staying in Saint Germain, the Marais, Opera and Latin Quarter areas, especially if you will be walking at night. I have never had a moment that I did not feel safe walking in Paris, even if it was the wee hours of the morning. Be aware of your surroundings and your belongings at all times and walk with confidence and you won’t have any problems. One of the greatest pleasures in Paris is the delicious food, and traveling alone should not stop you from enjoying every single morsel. One of the advantages of traveling alone is that you are able to meet some wonderful people and a restaurant is the perfect place to make some connections. It is not uncommon to see many people eating alone day and night reading a book or channeling their inner Hemingway and writing away. Lunch is a great way to enjoy some of the best restaurants in Paris and save a little money as well. Inside the café may be a bit intimidating and if that’s the case, grab one of the iconic Paris café chairs on the terrace and as a bonus it comes complete with a live show as people pass by you. The Parisian terrace is the solo traveler’s best friend and the close seats can lead…
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Lead photo credit : Montmartre, Paris. Credit: Unsplash, clematc

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Claudine Hemingway had a deep love of Paris instilled in her at an early age from her beloved grandparents. Following in their footsteps, she is happiest strolling the historic cobblestones soaking in the architecture, art and history. Highly sought after to plan your Parisian adventure that ventures off the beaten path and digs deeper into the historic and secret Paris. Contact her at [email protected] to plan your trip. You can follow her adventure and daily Paris history lesson on Instagram @claudinebleublonderouge

Comments

  • Tanaya
    2019-11-19 18:13:17
    Tanaya
    I'm planning my first ever solo trip too. I'm looking up for hotels/ hostels as a solo traveler and would be happy if I could be recommended a few options within budget. I plan to be in Paris for just 3-4 days.

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  • Elvira
    2019-11-01 07:56:41
    Elvira
    I am going to Paris on my own in spring 2020 and can't wait... I am doing my research and practicing my rusty French. Can you recommend some good hotels for the solo traveler that won't break the bank?

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  • Effie Best
    2019-07-13 00:13:58
    Effie Best
    I have traveled to Paris many times now, sometimes in company, sometimes on my own. Claudine’s account of solo travel resonates with me. I would add that I have found Parisian buses a great way to travel when not in a hurry. Not as fast and efficient as the Metro, but not as rushed either, and you can see Paris as you travel. Also as I have aged I have found Paris surprisingly easy to navigate as an oldie.

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  • Marie
    2019-07-12 22:16:17
    Marie
    Enjoyed the article, I love travelling to Paris on my own! I’ve been to Paris ten times and mostly alone...sometimes I think you even blend in better and are less likely a target for those pesky petition girls and ring scammers when you’re solo. I’m raising one eyebrow a bit, however, at your following the guy to his motorbike instead of going to the proper taxi line... your ride turned out ok ( well sorta lol ) but you paid way more than you should have, aside from the danger thing. Seriously, anyone contemplating visiting Paris, solo or in company- use the official taxi line at the airport or train station and know the fare for your destination. You don’t want your holiday starting off disastrously.

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  • Katie R.
    2019-07-12 15:33:10
    Katie R.
    What a fun read! I'm so glad I stumbled upon this today. Picturing you speeding along on the back of a motorcycle, you must have had a really competent driver. I'll be sharing this with my travel group, because I know a lot of ladies who will enjoy the magic this brings to them of planning their own trip.

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  • Judy Anne Zimdars
    2019-07-11 15:52:30
    Judy Anne Zimdars
    Hello Claudine! I will share with you that I was born in Oak Park, Il. I went to the same grade school, Olivier Wendell Holmes School and Oak Park River Forest High School as your grandfather, Ernest Hemingway. I have other interesting things to share with you so I would be happy to hear from you! Sincerely, Judy Zimdars (maiden name Judy Schock).

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