Paris; it’s known as the city of love but don’t let that put you off from going there solo. With endless sunny days to wander along the River Seine, countless brasseries to people watch from and a patisserie on every street corner, a trip to Paris is a love affair in itself. So, if you fancy whisking yourself off to the French capital then I’ve put together a small guide with some tips and tricks to make sure you have the solo trip of a lifetime.
Where to stay
If you’re travelling solo to Paris, then there are plenty of affordable and comfortable hostels to choose from. I stayed at The People in Bercy which I couldn’t fault. The location was great (a short walk along the seine from the Notre Dame) and it was incredibly clean and well spacious. It’s not a party hostel but there is a small roof terrace to relax on and socialise. Also, the street market outside is a great place to pick up some fresh fruit in the morning.
Getting to and from the airport
I always find getting to and from the airport is one of my biggest stresses when I arrive in a new city. You could just hop in an uber from Paris Orly but by far the cheapest option is to get the Orly Bus. There are ticket machines for this in the airport and it only costs around 12 euros one way to the city centre. The journey takes half an hour and they run every 15 minutes- Just remember to validate your ticket when you get on.
Places to eat
One of the greatest joys of going to Paris solo is that you get to enjoy the many fantastic eateries Paris has to offer with no comprising and no distractions- pure self-indulgent bliss! Here are a few of the favourite places I went to on this trip.
Cafe Deux magots
The iconic cafe, and rival of Cafe de Flore, is not the cheapest place to eat but it’s by far one of the best experiences in Paris. I recommend grabbing an outside table here, ordering a nice glass of red and watching the world go by for an hour or two. They serve up plenty of french classics to eat when you’re hungry and it also has wifi, so it’s a great place to sit if you have a spot of work to do. Best visited in the week, as weekends are heaving.
Brunch at Hardware Societe
I’ve been to Hardware societies’ other cafe in Melbourne, and I was so keen to try this Monmarte brunch spot out. I couldn’t fault the experience, from the fantastic service to the high-quality coffee and delicious brunch menu that utilises local and seasonal produce. All of it was cooked by one chef in a tiny kitchen. I had the burrata, with poached eggs and asparagus which was delicious. It’s the best cafe to sit outside with a book on a summer’s day- Live your Paris dream!
Cream puffs at Odette
I wrote about Odette on my last trip to Paris and I had to visit again. This has to be one of the prettiest cafes in France and yet there is always a table free outside (with stunning views of the Notre Dame.) They only serve cream puffs and coffee; but what more could you want mid-morning in Paris?
Le Bistrot Du Peintre
I loved this brasserie in the Bastille area of Paris as it is the epitome of everything you could want from dinner in the city. It’s a traditional brasserie with plenty of outdoor seating and a relaxed atmosphere. The menu features quality, local produce and includes plenty of french classics. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a chateaubriand and a glass of wine.
Things to do
It’s not all about eating and drinking, Paris is one of my favourite cities because there is so much going on. Sure, you could spend your time in line for the Eiffel tower or perusing the art at The Louvre (and if you’ve never done these things, you should.) However, once you have visited Paris your second or third time, you’ll realise that some of the best things about Paris are those without an entry fee. Here are some of my favourites.
Jardin De Tuileries
I love these gardens that are located a short walk away from the Louvre. It’s one of the nicest spots in Paris to soak up the sun and relax with a good book. Plus there are views across to the Eiffel Tower.
Rent a bicycle along the seine
Cycling is one of the easiest ways to get around Paris and it’s very bike friendly. My favourite route was along the bike path that stretches from Notre Dame and takes you along the river, right up to the Eiffel Tower. What’s more, renting a bike in Paris is easy and cheap. Just download the Velib Metropole app and sign up. You can then buy a day pass for just 5 euros, so you can pick up and drop off your bike at numerous points in the day. To start riding, just enter your unique code into the bike’s handset- voila.
Parc de Belleville
This was my first time going to the Parc De Belleville and I loved it. It’s known as the local’s Monmarte, so think spectacular views of the city, minus the crowds. The park itself is incredibly green and spacious and at the top is a handful of nice restaurants and bars. Monceour Belleville is a bar located right on the edge of the park and if you pick the right table, you can enjoy a drink while gazing at the Eiffel Tower.
Saturday Flea Markets
Paris has so many fantastic flea markets that you can explore on the weekends. Some of the main ones include Les Puces de Montreuil and Marche aux Puces de St-Ouen. However, you can find them in every arrondissement.
Safety and practicality
France is a fairly safe country however Paris is a city and therefore you should always exercise a little caution, particularly if travelling solo as a female. I suggest that you make sure that you have plenty of data, or get a local sim card in case of emergencies. Check in with friends and family daily to let them know your whereabouts and rough plans. Use the Citymapper app to get around. This will tell you the best way to get between destinations via walking or public transport. Paris is split into arrondissements with some being a little rougher around the edges than others. It’s a fairly walkable city but don’t be afraid to get the metro or hop into a cab if you feel like you’ve ended up in a less nice part of town. On the metro, hold on to your bag and keep your valuables hidden. I found using public transport in Paris fairly easy.