Is Paris good for solo travelers? Here’s a complete guide on traveling to Paris alone

This Paris solo travel guide was written by Kristin Lee. Originally from a small town in Southern California, she has lived in the ever-charming French capital, and in this post, she will show you what it’s like to travel to Paris alone.

PARIS WEATHER

Bonjour! Glad you decided to travel to Paris alone!

I love Paris solo travel because it’s full of hidden gems. No matter how many blogs you read, new places and surprises are always waiting to be discovered in Paris.

Whether it’s a hidden courtyard, a little vintage clothing shop, or even a quiet and peaceful park, there’s always something unique and special waiting to be found in Paris.

For instance, a couple of years ago, I wanted to revisit the Arc de Triomphe. Little did I know that it was completely wrapped in silver and blue fabric as part of a giant art installation by Christo and Jeanne-Claude.

The landmark was only like that for two weeks, so it was cool to think I was there to see such an iconic landmark temporarily transformed.

Similarly, I walked around Paris just last year and casually ran into a massive installation by famous artist Yayoi Kusama.

To this day, I still don’t know why they had a massive statue of her, but it shows that you never know what will pop up around the city.

And, I think this mystery and anticipation of surprise ultimately keeps me coming back year after year.

So, if you’re keen on an adventure, full of surprises, twists, and turns, I can’t recommend Paris enough!

It’s a place constantly evolving with so much to offer, whether through its history, culture or even the little surprises you stumble upon!

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Paris Solo Travel: quick info

Is Paris good for solo travelers?

While I could easily spend an entire day professing my love-hate relationship with Paris, I know you and I have limited time.

So, to not waste your time, here are my top 5 reasons why I love solo traveling to Paris and keep coming back, year after year.

1. Abundance of Activities to do Alone

First of all, there is an endless list of things you can do in Paris. I mean, Paris is the City of Lights, the City of Love, the European equivalent of the city that never sleeps.

No matter the time of year or day, you can always find something happening around the city.

The best part? You don’t need anyone else to experience it with you. Whether you’re wandering through the charming streets of Montmartre, admiring the view from the Eiffel Tower, or treating yourself to a delicious macaron from the iconic Ladurée shops, Paris is a city you can explore and enjoy on your own.

If anything, I often enjoy traveling to Paris solo rather than with someone else because there’s so much to see.

Solo travel is better because you can go exactly where you want, spend as much time as you want at certain spots, and cover ground much more quickly.

And when you’re visiting a city as massive as Paris, there are tons to see!

2. Easy Transportation Around the City

Another reason I am a major fan of Paris is because it is home to an incredibly efficient transportation system. Again, as someone who has traveled worldwide and been to many places with next to zero public transportation, Paris is just one of those cities that you can’t help but marvel at with its robust transportation network.

Even with the awesome transportation lines, I recommend giving yourself lots of leeway when navigating. Even on my most recent trip to Paris, I managed to get lost in a metro station and spent around 10 minutes trying to orient myself. So, give yourself some time cushioning if you need to be someone by a certain time.

And while the public transportation system is excellent within Paris, there’s also an extensive train network that extends in all directions outside the city.

More specifically, there are six major train stations that are perfect for day trips or just transiting to another city within France. For instance, one place I highly recommend visiting as a little excursion is Giverny.

This small town is conveniently located just an hour and a half train ride from Paris and is home to the famous Claude Monet’s estate with its beautifully maintained gardens.

3. It’s easy to meet people in Paris!

Paris is one of the top tourist destinations in the world, seeing tens of millions of visitors a year. With the constant flow of people into and out of the city, I’ve found that a huge perk is that it’s pretty easy to meet other foreigners.

But, if you’re worried about making friends and meeting people, here are some tips to help you out! First, stay in a hostel, even if it’s only for a night or two.

Your chances of meeting someone solo traveling in a hostel are so much higher than finding someone who is approachable and solo traveling in a hotel.

Second, don’t be afraid to say hi! Whenever I’m staying in a hostel, I try to introduce myself to everyone in my room. Ask a few simple questions and see if there are any commonalities.

If there are, see if they want to grab lunch, eat dinner, or go sightseeing with you! Chances are, they wouldn’t mind spending a couple of hours with another person. We all need that one person to help take our best Instagram-worthy pictures!

But, if this fails or the people in your room aren’t super social, you can always see if your hostel is hosting any events. Most of the hostels I’ve been always to host a gathering every other night.

And if they don’t there’s usually a common room where you can easily converse with someone else!

In this sense, I’m a big fan of Paris because there’s no lack of hostels and people to meet, both locals and other travelers!

4. Can Travel on a Budget or Splurge

It’s no secret that Paris is expensive. But it doesn’t always have to be. I appreciate Paris because it offers the best of both worlds. On one hand, there is the luxurious side, filled with high-end restaurants, designer shops, and fancy accommodations.

On the other hand, Paris is also home to budget-friendly options such as street markets, affordable cafes, and, as I mentioned in the previous section, lots of hostels!

With many options, you can truly design your trip to be whatever you want. It just might take some work and research, but don’t let the city’s reputation for its expensive lifestyle deter you from visiting!

Is Paris safe for solo travelers?

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As someone who has solo traveled to Paris multiple times, to the point of it almost being an annual ritual, I wholeheartedly believe that Paris is safe for solo travelers.

That said, I simultaneously believe that compared to most other destinations around the world, or even with just Europe, the crime rate in Paris is significantly higher.

I don’t know whether this is because there are simply more visitors, which means more opportunities for petty crimes, or whether people are more inclined to commit crimes.

Either way, I don’t think either scenario means that Paris is unsafe or that you should feel unsafe as a solo traveler. It simply means you should take some safety precautions when you’re out and about.

For example, the first time I solo traveled to Paris, I learned several hard lessons the first week I was there. Like many other tourists and locals before me, I was a victim of pickpocketing.

It happened in a metro station in the blink of an eye. Just a slight brush on my shoulder as someone walked by, and my wallet was gone.

Of course, the metro station was bustling with hundreds of people, so I could not track them down.

I won’t lie. At first, I cried because it was my first time solo traveling and I wasn’t off to a great start. However, once the crying subsided, I learned several important lessons.

The lessons and tips I’ll describe below have helped me avoid any further pickpocketing incidents.

Stay extremely vigilant of your personal belongings. If you’re in a crowded space, keep all items close to your body and, at the very least, at your side.

I like to hug my bags near my chest and will even twist the tops of my tote bags so that you can’t access the opening. Then, after I’ve left the touristy areas, I let my bag hang normally.

Another tip is to put anything important at the bottom of your bag. Even though it can be a pain to fish out your wallet from underneath all the other stuff you may have stored in your bag, having your wallet is better than not having your wallet.

Sometimes, I’ll even drape my jacket over my bag to obscure all my personal belongings from view.

Lastly, always split your cash and cards. What I mean by this is leaving at least one spare card and some of your money back at your lodgings.

This way, if caught in a pickpocketing incident, you aren’t completely stranded without money in a foreign country. As someone who has been there, it’s not recommended, lol.

So, with a few safety precautions, I still firmly believe that Paris is safe for solo travelers and that you can enjoy exploring the city!

Paris solo travel planning

As an American citizen, you generally do not need a visa to travel to France for short stays.

Americans can enter France and stay for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa under the Schengen Agreement, which allows travel within member countries with just a passport.

However, for stays longer than 90 days or for purposes other than tourism or business (such as work or study), you will need to apply for a visa appropriate to the length and purpose of your stay.

It’s important to ensure your passport is valid for at least three months beyond your planned date of departure from the Schengen area.

Starting in 2023, Americans traveling to Europe’s Schengen Zone will be required to complete an ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) registration prior to their visit.

This system is designed to enhance security and streamline the entry process, but as of my last update, it has not yet been implemented.

Always check the latest entry requirements with the French Embassy or a consulate prior to your travel, as visa policies can change.

Below are some important things you need to purchase/book before your Paris solo travel:

Best months for Paris solo travel

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Paris is enchanting year-round, but each season offers a unique experience. Spring (March to May) sees the city bloom with flowers and outdoor cafés bustling with life, perfect for those who love mild weather and the vibrancy of city life awakening from winter.

Summer (June to August) is peak tourist season; expect warm weather and long days ideal for exploring, but also larger crowds and higher prices.

Autumn (September to November) is a favorite for many, as the city calms down, the leaves in parks turn golden, and there’s a pleasant chill in the air — not to mention the wine harvest season.

Winter (December to February) drapes Paris in a quiet, romantic atmosphere, with fewer tourists, and sometimes, if you’re lucky, a dusting of snow.

Setting your Paris travel budget

Paris can cater to all budgets, but it’s known for being pricier. Accommodation and dining out will likely be your most significant expenses.

Budget travelers can find hostels and budget hotels, utilize public transport, and enjoy many free attractions or visit museums on free-entry days.

Mid-range budgets can afford more comfortable accommodations, meals in nice bistros, and perhaps a few guided tours.

For a luxury experience, Paris offers world-class hotels, gourmet dining, and exclusive experiences like private tours of Versailles.

Remember to set aside money for shopping, whether it’s fashion, antiques, or gourmet treats. Always have a contingency fund for unexpected expenses.

Booking your flight to Paris

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The journey to Paris begins with booking your flight, an exciting step that makes your solo travel in Paris feel all the more real.

Begin your search for flights as early as possible. Airlines often release tickets 11 months in advance, and while not always the cheapest, early bookings can give you a good deal, especially for high-demand periods.

If your schedule allows, be flexible with your travel dates. Flying mid-week, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, can often be cheaper than weekend flights.

Additionally, consider the time of year; avoiding peak tourist seasons can lead to significant savings.

Paris is served by three major airports: Charles de Gaulle (CDG), Orly (ORY), and Beauvais (BVA). While Charles de Gaulle is the most convenient international flight, checking flights to Orly and Beauvais could reveal cheaper options.

If you’re part of a frequent flyer program, check if you can use your miles or points to book your flight to Paris.

Paris Airport to City transportation options

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Paris’s comprehensive public transport system and taxi services make it easy to reach the city center regardless of which airport you arrive at.

Consider your budget, arrival time, and the location of your accommodation when choosing your transportation option. Here’s how to get to Paris from the airport:

AirportTrainBusTaxi
Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG)RER B Train: Connects CDG to central Paris. It’s a fast and cost-effective option, with trains running every 10-20 minutes.Roissybus: Direct bus to Opéra in central Paris, convenient if you’re staying nearby.Available outside the terminals. A flat rate applies to Paris city center, making it a stress-free albeit more expensive option.
Orly Airport (ORY)Orlyval and RER B: The Orlyval light train connects the airport to the Antony station, where you can transfer to the RER B train to central Paris.OrlyBus: Direct bus service to Denfert-Rochereau metro station in Paris.Fixed rates apply for trips to the city. It’s a convenient option, especially if you have heavy luggage.
Beauvais Airport (BVA)A less direct but cheaper option involves taking a local bus to Beauvais train station, then catching a train to Paris Gare du Nord.The official shuttle bus connects Beauvais Airport with Porte Maillot station in Paris, timed to flight schedules. It’s the most straightforward way to reach the city but check the timing for your flight.

If you opt to take a taxi from the airports in Paris, you can book a private transfer for as low as $60 USD.

What to pack for Paris solo travel

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Packing for Paris requires a thoughtful approach, balancing the need for comfort and practicality with the desire to blend in with the city’s renowned sense of style.

The weather in Paris can be variable, so it’s crucial to pack layers that can easily adapt to changing conditions. Here’s a guide to help you pack smartly for your Parisian adventure.

Clothing for Layering

Parisian weather can be unpredictable. Bring a mix of lightweight and warm layers, such as t-shirts, long-sleeve shirts, sweaters, and a versatile jacket. This allows you to adjust your outfit to the day’s weather comfortably.

Comfortable footwear

You’ll likely do a lot of walking as you explore Paris. Bring comfortable, broken-in shoes. Consider stylish sneakers (clean and in good condition), flats, or boots, depending on the season.

Rain gear

Pack a compact umbrella and waterproof jacket regardless of the season. Sudden showers are not uncommon in Paris.

Accessories

Scarves are incredibly versatile and add flair to your outfit while providing warmth. Sunglasses and a small, lightweight daypack or crossbody bag for your daily essentials are also must-haves.

taiwan packing list

Seasonal Items

For summer, pack lightweight, breathable clothing, a Parisian beret for sun protection, and sunscreen. In winter, bring a warm coat, gloves, a hat, and a scarf.

What NOT to pack for Paris

  • Excessive Valuables: Avoid bringing expensive jewelry or unnecessary gadgets. It’s best to travel light and minimize the risk of theft.
  • Large Suitcases: Space can be limited in Parisian accommodations, and you’ll find it easier to move around with compact luggage, especially if you’ll be using public transport or staying in accommodations without elevators.
  • Too Many Shoes: Shoes can take up a lot of space in your luggage. Stick to two or three versatile pairs that match with multiple outfits and are suitable for walking.
  • Heavy Books and Guides: Opt for digital versions or a compact travel guide to save space. Your phone can serve multiple purposes, including maps, guides, and translation tools.
  • Non-Essential Electronics: Limit yourself to essentials like your smartphone, camera, and perhaps a small tablet or e-reader. FYI, France uses Type C and Type E plugs, so bring suitable adapters for your electronic devices.

The essence of Parisian style is elegance in simplicity, so pack items that are not only functional but also make you feel confident and comfortable as you stroll through the streets of Paris.

Paris transportation guide for solo travelers

Getting around Paris is relatively straightforward, thanks to its comprehensive and efficient public transportation system.

Additionally, the city is increasingly bike-friendly, and there’s always the option to explore on foot, which many argue is the best way to soak in the city’s unparalleled charm.

Using Public Transportation in Paris: Metro, RER, Buses

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The Paris Metro is one of the most efficient ways to get around the city. It has 16 lines, well-marked and easy to navigate. Stations are close to most major attractions.

A single ticket works for a one-way trip, including all transfers within the system. Consider purchasing a day pass or a “carnet” of tickets if you plan to use the Metro frequently.

The RER trains complement the Metro, especially useful for longer distances or traveling to destinations like Versailles or Disneyland Paris.

The RER lines are integrated with the Metro system but remember that tickets and fares are zone-based when leaving central Paris.

Parisian buses offer a scenic alternative to the underground Metro, covering extensive routes throughout the city.

Night buses (Noctilien) are available after Metro operating hours. Bus stops display maps and service times, making it easier to navigate your route.

Renting a Bike or Scooter in Paris

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Vélib’ Bike Share is Paris’s bike-share program, Vélib’, is a fantastic way to see the city. With stations every few hundred meters, it’s convenient and affordable.

You can subscribe for a day or a week, perfect for short-term visitors. The first 30 minutes of each trip are free, encouraging short rides from one point to another.

Alternatively, there are several dockless electric scooters in Paris, which can be found and unlocked using a smartphone app. They’re a fun and fast way to cover short distances.

Be mindful of where you ride and park them, as there are rules to ensure the safety and accessibility of sidewalks.

Walking alone in Paris: Tips and Safety

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Paris is a walkable city and it’s the best way to experience Paris! Okay, don’t be freaked about my theft story in the beginning. You can still walk in Paris, especially during day time.

Many of Paris’s most charming streets, hidden courtyards, and stunning views unfold best at a walking pace.

Districts like Le Marais, Latin Quarter, and Montmartre are perfect for leisurely exploration.

While Paris is generally safe for pedestrians, always be mindful of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas prone to pickpocketing. Keep your belongings secure and be cautious when crossing busy streets.

Good walking shoes are a must. You’ll likely walk more than you anticipate, and cobblestone streets can be unforgiving on unsuitable shoes.

Don’t overlook Paris’s beautiful parks and gardens for a leisurely stroll. Places like the Tuileries, Luxembourg Gardens, and Buttes-Chaumont offer serene escapes from the bustling city streets.

👋🏼 Getting around Paris: basic questions

  • Où est…? (oo eh) – Where is…?
  • Combien ça coûte? (kohm-byen sah koot) – How much does it cost?
  • Pouvez-vous m’aider? (poo-vay voo meh-day) – Can you help me?
  • Parlez-vous anglais? (par-lay voo ahn-glay) – Do you speak English?

Paris solo travel accommodations

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When looking for accommodations for solo travel in Paris, consider staying in central arrondissements (districts) like the 1st, 4th, 5th, or 6th.

These areas are well-located for sightseeing, dining, and are generally safe.

However, if you want to experience a more local side of Paris, the 10th, 11th, and 18th arrondissements offer trendy restaurants, cafes, and a vibrant nightlife.

I recommend you stay in hostels because they are cheaper (around $40 USD per night) compared to boutique hotels in Paris that start from $100 USD per night.

As a solo traveler, you only don’t want to save money but also make friends so hostels are best for this kind of experience. Below are the top 4 hostels that are close to the center of Paris:

I understand you may not want to share rooms or dorms with other travelers but hostels also have private rooms.

Although I don’t guarantee that these private rooms will be cheaper than a real hotel. Sometimes, the price difference is very little.

Safety tips for choosing your accommodation in Paris

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First, research your neighborhood. Know the safety profile of the area you’re staying in. Some neighborhoods might be less safe at night.

Ensure you have a way to communicate. A local SIM card or an international plan for your mobile phone can be invaluable for maps, emergency calls, or simply to check in with friends and family.

Use accommodation with good security measures like safes in rooms or lockers for valuables. Always double-check that your door is locked when you leave and when you’re inside for the night.

If something doesn’t feel right about the accommodation after you arrive, don’t hesitate to find somewhere else. Your safety and comfort should always come first.

Have the address and phone number of your accommodation easily accessible. Also, note down emergency numbers in Paris, including the local police, ambulance services, and your embassy or consulate.

Lastly, you can join the daily solo traveler meet-up in Paris to make friends and see where the rest of the solo crew is staying!

Unique things to do in Paris alone

Paris, a city brimming with art, history, and culture, offers endless sights to explore. For the solo traveler, navigating its historic streets can reveal iconic landmarks and hidden gems.

I know that the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the Notre Dame Cathedral are on top of your list but I will skip that as I have more unique things to do for solo Paris travel to recommend!

1. Aligre Market Food Tour

The Aligre Market Food Tour takes you through one of Paris’s most vibrant and bustling markets. Located in the 12th arrondissement, Marché d’Aligre offers a blend of open-air market charm and covered market tradition.

I absolutely loved the Aligre Market Food Tour! It was like diving into a treasure trove of flavors. Sampling everything from the freshest cheeses to mouth-watering pastries directly from the vendors who are so passionate about their produce was a blast!

I even picked up some unique culinary tips and recipes to try at home. It’s a foodie’s paradise, and mingling with locals made it all the more authentic and fun.

2. City Walking Tour with 20 sights

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This extensive Paris walking tour covers 20 must-see landmarks of Paris, offering a comprehensive look at the city’s historical and cultural sites.

From the iconic Eiffel Tower to the scenic Seine River banks, this guided tour provides insights into the rich history and architecture of Paris, all on foot.

The City Walking Tour was epic! I got to see all the iconic spots from the Eiffel Tower to the tiny hidden alleys that only locals know about.

Walking through Paris and hearing all the history and stories behind these famous sites was fascinating. Plus, wandering around with a group made it feel like a mini adventure in the heart of Paris.

I’d definitely recommend it for anyone who wants to get a real feel of the city.

3. Hire a Photographer in Paris for Pro Instagram Shots

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For solo travelers, this service offers a chance to get beautiful solo photographs, which can be difficult when traveling alone.

It’s also a fantastic way to learn about lesser-known spots in the city from your local photographer.

Getting a photographer for those pro Instagram shots in Paris was totally worth it! Not only did I end up with some killer photos at landmarks without any awkward selfies, but the photographer also knew all these cool, less crowded spots.

It was like having a local guide and professional photographer rolled into one. Now, I have these amazing photos that capture the essence of Paris and me enjoying it!

4. French Croissant Making Lessons

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This activity is great for solo travelers because it not only teaches a new skill but also offers a warm, inviting environment to meet others who share a passion for French cuisine.

It’s a satisfying, engaging way to spend a morning or afternoon in Paris.

Making French croissants from scratch was such a fun and rewarding experience! There’s something magical about learning the art of perfecting that buttery, flaky pastry in a quaint Parisian bakery.

Plus, eating croissants that you’ve baked yourself while they’re still warm is just something I have never done before.

I loved every minute of it and left with new baking skills that are sure to impress back home.

5. Solo Travelers Meet Up in Paris

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Solo Travelers Meet Up in Paris is designed to bring together like-minded individuals who are exploring the city on their own.

These meetups include group dinners, walking tours, or night outs, providing a platform to share experiences and tips.

This is an excellent opportunity for solo travelers to connect with new friends, enhance their travel experience, and find companionship. The events are usually structured in a way that promotes interaction and shared experiences, making solo travel less lonely.

The Solo Travelers Meet Up was a game changer! It was amazing to connect with fellow travelers who were also exploring Paris on their own.

We shared travel stories, tips, and some even became friends to explore the city together. It made the whole trip feel more social and less intimidating as a solo traveler.

If you’re heading to Paris alone, this is a must-do for sure!

6. Canal St Martin Food Tour

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Explore the trendy and picturesque neighborhood of Canal St Martin with this food-centric walking tour. It highlights artisan food producers, chic bistros, and specialty food shops along the canal.

Tastings may include pastries, charcuterie, and local specialties. The casual and relaxed vibe of Canal St Martin is perfect for solo travelers.

You’ll enjoy the communal experience of tasting and sharing food, which naturally facilitates conversation and connection with fellow food lovers.

The Canal St Martin Food Tour was a highlight of my trip! This area is super trendy, and tasting my way through it with a group of fellow food enthusiasts was fantastic.

Each stop was a new discovery of flavors, from gourmet pastries to delicious wines. Plus, the canal setting made it incredibly picturesque.

7. Perfume-Making Workshop (Create Your Own Scent)

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In this workshop, you delve into the fragrance world to create your signature scent. Guided by a professional perfumer, you learn about fragrance notes, blending techniques, and the history of perfume in Paris.

Creating a custom perfume is a uniquely personal activity that offers a lasting souvenir of your trip to Paris. It’s also a quiet, reflective way to spend time, perfect for those who enjoy creative, introspective activities.

The perfume-making workshop was such a unique experience as it’s my first time to make my own perfume. FYI, Paris is the heart of the perfume world, this activity felt so luxurious!

Learning about the different notes and how to blend them to reflect my personality was fascinating. I came away with a one-of-a-kind perfume that will always remind me of Paris.

8. Cellar Wine Tasting and Cheese Pairing

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This experience takes place in a traditional Parisian wine cellar where you sample various French wines paired expertly with regional cheeses.

Wine tastings are social but not overwhelming, making them ideal for solo travelers. It’s easy to engage with others over shared tastes and preferences, and the intimate setting allows for deeper conversation.

This cellar wine tasting and cheese pairing was divine! The sommelier was incredibly knowledgeable, making the complex world of wine accessible and fun.

Pairing each wine with the perfect cheese was an education in flavors and I consider this my new skill!

9. Vintage and Pre-owned Designer Brands Shopping Experience

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This shopping experience guides you through Paris’s best vintage and pre-owned designer shops. You’ll find everything from luxury fashion to rare, eclectic pieces that reflect the timeless style of Paris.

Shopping for vintage and pre-owned designer brands in Paris was like a dream because it was really affordable. Of course you have to dig for great finds but it was worth the time!

The local whom I did this tour with brought me to shops filled with unique, luxurious items that you just can’t find anywhere else.

It was a thrill to hunt for these treasures, and I found some incredible pieces that added real Parisian flair to my wardrobe.

Plus, the history behind some of these items made them even more special. It’s a fashion lover’s paradise!

10. Speakeasy and Hidden Bars Tour

Discover Paris’s nightlife in a unique way by visiting its speakeasies and hidden bars. This tour takes you to concealed establishments known for their ambiance and craft cocktails, providing a glimpse into the city’s modern-day Roaring Twenties.

This tour offers a safe, fun way to experience Paris at night and meet people in a lively, social setting.

It’s perfect for those who want to enjoy the nightlife without the stress of finding these hidden gems on their own.

Exploring speakeasies and hidden bars on the tour was an absolute blast. Each bar had its own vibe and secret entrance that made the whole experience feel like an adventure.

The cocktails were out of this world—each mixologist had a story behind their creations. It was a fun way to experience Parisian nightlife and meet new people in an intimate, exciting setting.

Definitely a night to remember!

🥳 Use the code PSIMONMYWAY10 to get a 10% discount code on all things to do in Paris alone upon checkout.

Dining and nightlife in Paris for solo travelers

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Paris’s dining scene is as diverse as it is historic, offering everything from Michelin-starred restaurants to quaint bistros tucked away in narrow lanes.

The city’s nightlife, too, ranges from elegant wine bars to bustling nightclubs, each offering a unique way to experience the Parisian joie de vivre.

Here, food is not just sustenance but an art form, and the nightlife is not merely entertainment but a celebration of life.

French Cuisine Essentials

French cuisine is celebrated worldwide for its flavors, variety, and elegance. When in Paris, indulging in local culinary delights is a must.

Here are some must-try dishes that encapsulate the essence of French cuisine:

  • Croissant: Start your day the Parisian way with a buttery, flaky croissant from a local boulangerie. Du Pain et des Idées and Stohrer are two of the best bakeries I can recommend!
  • Baguette: The iconic French bread is perfect for sandwiches or accompaniment to cheese and charcuterie. You can get them in the bakeries above.
  • Coq au Vin: This classic French stew made with chicken, wine, mushrooms, and onions offers a taste of the country’s rich culinary traditions.
  • Ratatouille: A delightful vegetable stew from Provence, perfect for vegetarians and a testament to the freshness of French produce.
  • Crème Brûlée: End your meal with this creamy dessert topped with a layer of hardened caramelized sugar.

Dietary Restrictions and Tips

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While traditional French cuisine relies heavily on meat and dairy, Paris is increasingly accommodating to vegetarians and vegans.

Gluten-free dining is becoming more common in Paris. Bakeries and restaurants often offer gluten-free options, but it’s still wise to inquire about cross-contamination if you’re highly sensitive or celiac.

Always communicate any food allergies or sensitivities to your server. Most restaurants are accustomed to accommodating special dietary requirements, but it’s helpful to know some basic French phrases related to your needs to ensure clear communication.

🍴Dietary Restrictions

  • Je suis végétarien / végétarienne – (Zhuh swee veh-zhay-ta-ree-ahn / veh-zhay-ta-ree-enn) – I am vegetarian
  • Je suis végétalien / végétalienne (Zhuh swee veh-zhay-ta-lee-ahn / veh-zhay-ta-lee-enn) – I am vegan
  • Je suis allergique aux arachides (Zhuh swee a-lair-zheek oh zah-rah-sheed) – I am allergic to peanuts.
  • Est-ce que ce plat contient du gluten? (Ehs-kuh suh pla kohn-tyen dew gloo-tan?) – Does this dish contain gluten?
  • Je ne mange pas de produits laitiers – (Zhuh nuh mahnzh pah duh pro-dwee lay-tyay) – I do not eat dairy products.

Nightlife in Paris

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Paris’s nightlife is as eclectic as its inhabitants, offering something for every taste and mood. Whether you’re looking to enjoy a glass of wine in a serene setting or dance until dawn, Paris has you covered.

For a relaxed evening, visit one of Paris’s many wine bars. It’s a great way to sample French wines and enjoy light bites in a cozy atmosphere.

Paris has a vibrant jazz scene, with clubs throughout the city offering live performances in intimate settings. Le Caveau de la Huchette and Le Duc des Lombards are two of the best jazz bars in Paris!

Those looking to experience Paris’s more energetic side will find plenty of nightclubs in the Bastille and Marais districts, where the party goes on until the early hours.

In Bastille, you can check out L’Important Club, which is a really posh nightclub that’s open til 6 AM! A more affordable option in Le Marais is Charlotte Club Paris, which also closes at 6 AM.

For a quintessentially Parisian night out, book a cabaret show! It’s a combination of entertainment, art, and history that’s sure to be memorable. This is one of my favorite things to do in Paris alone!

Is it safe to walk at night in Paris?

Walking alone at night in Paris is generally safe, but it’s important to take standard precautions as you would in any major city.

Stick to well-lit and busier streets, and avoid isolated areas, particularly around less-touristy neighborhoods or the outer arrondissement.

The central areas like Le Marais, Latin Quarter, and around major landmarks are usually lively and safer due to the presence of more people and sometimes police.

Always stay aware of your surroundings, keep your belongings secure, and avoid flaunting expensive items.

If you ever feel uneasy, consider using public transportation or a taxi to get back to your accommodation safely.

🍴Dining Out

  • Je voudrais… (zhuh voo-dray) – I would like…
  • L’addition, s’il vous plaît. (la-dee-syon, seel voo pleh) – The check, please.
  • C’est combien? (say kohm-byen) – How much is it?
  • Un verre de vin, s’il vous plaît. (uhn vehr duh van, seel voo pleh) – A glass of wine, please.

Tipping in Paris

Tipping in Paris is quite straightforward, but slightly different from many other places.

In France, the bill at restaurants and cafes typically includes a service charge (“service compris”), which means that the tip is already included in the price you see on the menu.

Although a service charge is included, it is customary to leave a small extra tip if you felt the service was particularly good.

This is usually around 5-10% of the total bill. For excellent service, you might leave a bit more, but it’s entirely optional.

While you can add a tip on your credit card, cash tips are preferred and more directly beneficial to the server. Just leave the cash on the table or hand it directly to the server when you pay your bill.

For taxi drivers, rounding up the fare to the nearest euro is common. For hotel staff like housekeepers or porters, a few euros per day or per service is appreciated but not mandatory.

Remember, tipping in Paris is more about showing your appreciation for good service rather than an obligatory payment, so feel free to adjust based on your satisfaction with the service.

Paris solo travel safety and emergency

When traveling to Paris, or any major city, it’s important to stay informed and prepared for potential safety and health concerns.

Being aware of common scams, knowing emergency contact numbers, understanding how to access medical care, and ensuring you have appropriate health insurance are crucial components of a safe trip.

Common scams to avoid in Paris

As beautiful as the city of Paris is, there are petty theft but nothing major than this. Below are the common travel scams in Paris to avoid:

Pickpocketing: This is common in crowded tourist areas, on the metro, and around landmarks. Keep your belongings secure, use anti-theft bags, and be vigilant in crowded places.

You really have to be vigilant with our bags, especially cameras!

Fake Petitions: Individuals, often pretending to be deaf or mute, ask tourists to sign a petition and then demand money. Politely decline any such requests.

Gold Ring Scam: A person picks up a ring off the ground, asking if it is yours, and then tries to sell it to you claiming it is gold. Walk away from such offers.

Taxi Scams: Use only official taxis, which you can recognize by the light on the car roof. Ensure the meter is running or agree on a fare before you begin your journey to avoid being overcharged.

Emergency contact numbers for Paris solo travel

  • General Emergency (Police, Fire, Medical): Dial 112
  • Police (specifically): Dial 17
  • Medical Emergency: Dial 15
  • Fire Department: Dial 18

It’s also wise to have the contact number for your embassy or consulate on hand in case of serious emergencies.

Pharmacies and English-speaking Doctors in Paris

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Pharmacies in Paris are marked by a green cross and are the go-to spots for non-emergency medical advice and over-the-counter medications.

Many pharmacists in Paris speak English and can help with minor ailments or direct you to medical facilities if necessary.

You can find English-speaking doctors through your embassy, hotel concierge, or websites such as the American Hospital of Paris or SOS Médecins (a service that sends doctors directly to your hotel or accommodation).

Health Insurance for Paris solo travel

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It’s essential to have travel health insurance that covers medical expenses, medical evacuation, and repatriation. Check if your policy is accepted at major hospitals in Paris and understand the process for claims.

If you’re visiting from a European Union country, bring your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or its replacement, the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), which can help cover emergency medical costs at a reduced rate or sometimes free.

Preparation is key to managing safety and health while traveling. Knowing how to avoid common scams and where to go for medical help can ensure that your stay in Paris is safe and enjoyable.

Always have a backup plan and know your resources, such as the nearest embassy and emergency contact numbers, to handle unexpected situations effectively.

Meeting fellow solo travelers in Paris

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To truly immerse yourself in the Parisian experience, engaging with locals and solo fellow travelers is key. Utilize social apps like Couchsurfing, or even Facebook groups specific to Paris to find events that interest you.

It’s a great way to meet new people who share similar interests and make friends during your travels!

Participating in cultural exchange programs can enrich your travel experience significantly. Look for local host programs or informal gatherings that allow you to spend time with Parisians.

To meet other solo travelers in Paris, you can join the daily meet-up (with a small cost). This group goes around Paris to do different kinds of activities.

Another option is to join the backpacker meet-up in Paris. It’s FREE and it happens every Friday at Pub Le Klein from 7:30 PM – 1:00 AM.

Just show up, introduce yourself and mingle – no need to RSVP!

Culture and etiquette in Paris

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Traveling solo to Paris can be an enriching experience, and understanding the local culture and etiquette can greatly enhance your trip.

Here are some key points to keep in mind about Parisian culture:

Greeting and Politeness

Saying “Bonjour” and “Merci”: Always greet shopkeepers, restaurant staff, and locals with a polite “Bonjour” (Good day) and say “Merci” (Thank you) when appropriate.

These simple words are fundamental in French etiquette and are appreciated.

Formality in Address: Use the formal “Vous” when addressing someone you don’t know, as it’s a sign of respect. Switching to the informal “tu” is typically reserved for close acquaintances and younger individuals.

Dining Etiquette

Meal Times: Try to adhere to typical French dining times; lunch is usually from 12 pm to 2 pm, and dinner often starts around 7 pm or later. Many restaurants might be closed outside these hours.

Table Manners: Keep your hands on the table (but not your elbows), and wait until everyone has been served before starting to eat.

Also, it’s customary to finish all the food on your plate as a sign of appreciation.

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Tipping: Service charge is included in the bill in France, but it is customary to leave small change or round up the total as a gesture of gratitude, especially if the service was exemplary.

Paris Dress Code

In Paris, appearance matters. Parisians are known for their good taste in fashion and generally dress more formally than in many other cities.

Aim for a smart-casual dress code when out and about to blend in more easily. Wearing very casual, sporty clothing or flip-flops outside of a beach setting might make you stand out as a foreigner.

Public Behavior in Paris

Quiet and Reserved: Public spaces in Paris are typically quieter than in many other parts of the world. It’s considered rude to speak loudly on public transportation or in restaurants. Keep your voice down and respect the tranquil environment.

Smoking: Smoking is common in Paris, but always ask if it’s okay to smoke if you’re in close proximity to others, especially in outdoor seating areas of cafes.

If you don’t like the smell of smoke, sorry to break it to you but Parisians are smokers. It’s us who needs to have to adjust to them, not them to us foreigners.

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Photography and Privacy rules in Paris

Ask Before Photographing: If you want to take photos of locals, whether it’s street vendors or just passersby, always ask for permission first. It’s respectful and often required by personal privacy laws.

Public Transportation Etiquette

When using the metro, buses, or trains, it’s polite to give up your seat to the elderly, pregnant women, or those with disabilities. Also, stand to the side to let people off before boarding.

Learn Basic French

Knowing a few key phrases in French not only helps with navigating the city but also shows respect for the culture.

Locals generally appreciate any effort made to speak their language, even if it’s just basic greetings or thank yous.

Paris Departure tips

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Paris airports can be busy, especially Charles de Gaulle (CDG) and Orly (ORY). It’s wise to arrive at least three hours before your international flight to allow ample time for check-in, security, and any last-minute complications.

Both CDG and ORY are well-signposted, but they are large and can be complex to navigate. Pay close attention to terminal information and follow the signs.

Free WiFi is available, allowing you to check flight details or download boarding passes as needed.

Plan your transport to the airport carefully. Options include taxis, which are straightforward but can be expensive, especially during peak traffic times.

Public transportation, such as the RER B train to CDG, is cost-effective and reliable but can be crowded. Allow extra time if you choose public transport.

Paris Airport tax refund for foreigners

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If you’ve made significant purchases in Paris, you may be eligible for a VAT (Value Added Tax) refund, which can save you a considerable amount of money.

To qualify for a VAT refund, your residence must be outside the EU, and your purchases at a single shop must meet a minimum spend threshold, typically around 175 EUR ($186 USD est).

When making purchases, ask for a ‘detaxe’ form and ensure the shop fills it out completely. Before checking in your luggage at the airport, present your completed forms, receipts, and the items purchased to the customs desk for a stamp.

Once your form is stamped, you can claim your refund immediately at a VAT refund counter, often receiving it on your credit card or in cash, though handling fees may apply.

Leaving Paris might mean the end of your trip, but the city’s essence, along with the practicalities learned along the way, often linger, enriching your life well beyond the visit.

TALK TO TRISHA

Let me help you plan your trip!

I’ve been giving expert and genuine advice to solo travelers and digital nomads for the last 15 years. You choose the destination and I will answer all your questions!

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