Paris has a reputation for being one of the most romantic cities in the world and many people travel to the French capital with their loved ones. In fact, when someone mentions traveling to Paris, I always associate it with couples holding hands, having a picnic, the love lock tradition of throwing lock keys in the Seine, and of course, marriage proposals near the Eiffel Tower. But jokes aside, that’s not to say that Paris isn’t an exciting destination for solo travelers, and in this post, we’ll cover all the important aspects of traveling solo in Paris. Let’s start from the beginning…
How To Get From The Airport To The City?
Paris has two airports- Charles de Gaulle and Orly Airport. Both airports are well connected to the city and there are many ways to get from either of these two airports to the city.
If you arrive at Charles de Gaulle International Airport, the easiest way to get out of the airport is by taking the train. Don’t worry about figuring out how to get to the train station; there are signs everywhere in and around the airport. Once you get to the station, just take the B line to the city center. You’ll be happy to hear that this is a terminus station, meaning you won’t have to worry about accidentally taking a train that’s going in the wrong direction.
Alternatively, if you arrive via Orly Airport, you can board a metro at the airport’s south terminal. There’s only one line and this is also a terminus station. Make sure to get off at Antony Station and transfer to the B line that’s moving towards Charles De Gaulle Airport (and the city center along the way).
If you don’t like taking trains or metros, you can also use one of the airport’s many express bus services. For some of these like Le Bus Direct, you can book your tickets in advance even before reaching the airport. This comfortable bus takes you straight to the city center and stops near some of the city’s most popular landmarks.
Is It Safe To Travel To Paris Alone?
Paris is home to more than 11 million residents, making it one of the most populated cities in Europe. Hence, in most parts of Paris, there will always be a lot of people around that may make you feel safer. However, as in most other big cities, there are a lot of pickpockets and street conmen that try to take advantage of tourists. Additionally, there are also certain parts of Paris that you should avoid (i.e. 19th arrondissement, Gare du Nord, Châtelet Les Halles, etc.).
Is Paris Safe For Female Solo Travelers?
You might get catcalled here and there, but I don’t see Paris as more hostile towards female solo travelers. Just be aware of the regular suspicious conmen like people collecting signatures, people trying to sell you souvenirs on the street, and other similar tourist scams. Also, try to walk in areas with a lot of people and avoid dangerous neighborhoods.
Are Parisians Unfriendly?
Parisians are notorious for their rudeness and we often hear just how unfriendly the locals are. I don’t think this is true. Granted, Parisians are not the friendliest bunch but they aren’t as bad as some people might want you to think. From my experience, as long as you’re respectful when communicating with locals, you should be fine. If you know a little bit of French, even better. Unlike what you might think, locals do appreciate the effort when tourists try to learn their language.
The Best Time For Traveling Solo In Paris
The best time for traveling solo in Paris is today! Jokes aside, Paris is beautiful throughout the year but if you’re taking a solo trip to Paris, the best time to visit is either March-April or September-October. Don’t get me wrong, Paris is beautiful during spring and ideally, this is probably the best time to visit. However, everyone visits Paris in the spring (there’s even a song about this, shall I say more?). This means higher flight fares, higher accommodation prices, etc.
Summers are even worse- there might be even more tourists around and the weather can be unbearably hot at times. A lot of people also come to Paris for New Year and the Christmas Holidays, so this leaves the shoulder season as an ideal time to visit. This is best for both you (you’ll get to see Paris in its natural state without herds of tourists around) and for your wallet. And if you like visiting places that don’t get a lot of attention, you might also be interested in our list of non-touristy things to do in Paris.
With that being said, let’s cover some tips about traveling solo in Paris that will prepare you for some uncomfortable situations and help you stay safe.
Watch Out For Pickpockets
Paris is generally a safe city and certainly not a dangerous destination under any standards but one of the most important things you should know before traveling solo in Paris is how to protect yourself from pickpockets. Sadly, Pickpockets are a huge problem in Paris. To minimize the risk of getting burgled, be extra careful when in crowded locations like the metro or busy touristy areas like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, etc. It also might not be a good idea to get an anti-theft backpack and a money belt just to be on the safe side.
A Couple Of Common Scams
Another thing that you might not hear from most travel guides is that Paris is a safe haven for scam artists. You’ll meet a lot of people trying to “gift” you a rose or a bracelet and asking a ridiculous amount of money for it, over-friendly people selling overpriced souvenirs or jewelry, etc. So, whenever someone approaches you in the streets of Paris, keep your guard up and don’t engage in conversations. Under no conditions let any of these people get you distracted because you might find yourself wandering around Paris without any of your valuables.
Some Neighborhoods To Avoid
Contrary to the popular belief, not every part of Paris has a chic, shining boulevards with neighborhoods that look like they came out of a fairytale. For example, in the suburbs, you’ll find a lot of rough areas that are best to be avoided. So, be cautious if you want to visit some of Paris’ suburbs and even if you plan a visit, don’t do it during the night. Speaking of during the night, there are also many touristy places that you shouldn’t visit after nightfall. Some of them include Montmartre, Pigalle, Gare du Nord, Châtelet les Halles, Sacre-Coeur, etc.
Giving Money To Beggars
Just don’t do it. Especially, if you strive away from the city center, you’ll inevitably see a lot of poverty. The reason for this is that, in the suburbs of Paris, there are a few refugee camps, most of which are located in deprived areas that are typically frequented by drug users, and sadly, giving money to beggars likely won’t do them any favors. If you really want to help them, it’s best to make a donation to some of Paris’ NGOs that try to help homeless people and refugees.
Try To Look Like A Local
To put it simply, the best way to avoid being hassled in Paris is to look like a local. I suppose you might think this is easier said than done but it’s actually not that hard.
of different Paris safety tips here. Just dress similar to the people you see around you and learn a few helpful French phrases before traveling solo in Paris. For starters, here are a few.
Non – No
Aidez moi! – Help me!
J’ai besoin d’aide – I need help
Voleur! – Thief!
Urgence! – Emergency!
Pardon, excusez-moi.– Pardon, excuse me.
Parlez-vous anglais? – Do you speak English?
Je ne parle pas français- I do not speak French.
Merci/Merci beaucoup- Thank you/Thank you very much.
De rien- You’re welcome.
Finding Free Wi-Fi
Finding free Wi-Fi in Paris isn’t as easy as one might think. The city (at the moment of writing this article) still doesn’t have a city-wide public Wi-Fi system and it’s up to each individual location to decide whether they provide guests with complimentary Wi-Fi or not and a surprisingly high number of places don’t provide complimentary Wi-Fi. That’s why it might be a good idea to get a Skyroam or another similar product that will allow you to connect to the internet in different countries around the world.
Booking Tickets in Advance
Even if you take my advice and visit during shoulder season, Paris will still be crowded (not as crowded as the spring or the summer though). That’s why it might be wise to pre-book some of the tickets for the places that you’re planning to visit. Some of the places I recommend you pre-book your tickets for include the Eiffel Tower, Disneyland, Moulin Rouge, Arc de Triomphe rooftop, the Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, and the Paris Pantheon. By the way, if you use the links I just mentioned you can get 10% off on all of your bookings in Paris.
Walking In Paris
You might not consider it as such but Paris is actually a fairly walkable city. For instance, you can get from Notre Dame to the Louvre in around 20 minutes walking. A walk from Champs-Elysees to the Eiffel Tower will not take you more than 25 minutes. Musee d’Orsay is only 10 minutes walking away from the Louvre. There are just a couple of examples but there are more.
So, plan your France itinerary in detail and walk wherever you can. Taking long strolls in Paris is actually very pleasurable. If you need help planning your itinerary, you can check out our guide to visiting the main attractions of Paris in one day.
Taking The Metro
Paris might be walkable but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to use any other forms of transportation. The most efficient way of getting around Paris is the metro system. The metro in Paris connects all parts of the city and is decently priced, making it a great budget-friendly option for commuting in Paris.
My advice is to pick up a Carnet when reaching Paris. Carnet is a book that consists of 10 metro tickets and can be used anywhere within the central part of Paris. The Carnet will lower the cost of each ticket and thus helps you to save both, money and time (by not having to wait in long queues at the metro station).
Lastly, I suggest you keep a map of the metro with you or save it on your phone to keep a track of station names and directions.
Taking Day Trips
There are plenty of great day trips you can take from Paris. After all, Paris is a very small part of France. You can get off the beaten track, take a canal boating trip, and see a different side of France. Some of the most popular day trip ideas from Paris include Versailles, Giverny, Strasbourg, Mont Saint-Michel, etc. But where ever you choose to go, don’t forget about…
Even though you’re traveling to a modern and cosmopolitan city and the chances that you’ll get an exotic disease are close to none, you never know what kinds of things can happen to you on the road. That’s why you should have a good travel insurance policy (not one of those cheap travel insurance providers you can get online). Travel insurance isn’t something you should be stingy about. If you always pick up the cheapest travel insurance, you might be unpleasantly surprised if something bad actually does happen.
After all, there’s a reason why that’s the cheapest travel insurance policy on the market. If you want to get a travel insurance policy that will cover every mishap that can happen to you while traveling (and not just injury or sickness-related but also flight delay, cancelations, etc.), I warmly recommend World Nomads.
What About Accommodation?
One of the bad things about traveling solo in Paris is that you don’t have anyone to share your accommodation costs with. And trust me, accommodation in Paris can get pricy. Finding decent budget-friendly amazing serviced apartments in Paris (especially Central Paris) isn’t an easy task.
A decent hotel in this part of the city will cost you at least €100 per night. But if that’s a price to pay to stay in an area near the most prominent landmarks and historical sites, so be it. It’s much better than staying in the suburbs and spending an hour commuting every day.
With that being said, here are some of the…
Best Places To Stay In Paris For Solo Travelers
Kyriad Paris 18- Porte de Clignancourt is a charming hotel in a quiet location near Montmartre. It’s also located right across the street from a metro station which makes it a great choice for exploring Paris in the cheapest and most efficient way possible (via metro).
Hotel des Pyrenees is another great hotel located in the 20th Arrondissement. It has nice spacious rooms, it’s in a quiet neighborhood but still only a few metro stations away from the main tourist attractions in Paris.
Paris France Hotel is located in Le Marais, close to a few different metro stations and within walking distance from some of Paris’ most prominent landmarks. The area also has a lot of bars and interesting restaurants.
Hotel Le Compostelle is also located in the Le Marais district and I’m under the impression that the hotel is quite popular among solo travelers (according to the people I met there and the online reviews). The prices are affordable, the place is great, and its location is perfect.
If you don’t mind spending a few extra bucks, Royal Saint Michel is a great classical hotel with a fantastic location (Latin Quarter, right across the street from Notre Dame). There are many attractions within a walking distance but the hotel is surprisingly pristine and quiet, having in mind that it’s located on a rather busy road.
Last but not least, we have one of my favorites- Maison Breguet, a luxury hotel located near Place de la Bastille that’s famous for giving its guests “celebrity treatment”. The restaurant has its own (amazing) restaurant and a modern, fully-equipped spa center.
Lastly, if you feel that none of these recommendations isn’t for you, you can still use our Booking.com special offer and get up to 15% off on all properties in Paris. Alternatively, if Airbnbs are your thing, you can claim a $50 bonus on your first Airbnb booking with this link.
Where To Eat In Paris?
The first piece of advice about eating when traveling solo in Paris is to eat away from the main tourist hubs. The closer you are to a famous landmark, the more expensive the prices will be because you’re not paying only for the food but also for the location.
Another potential dining-related issue when traveling solo in Paris is that it might feel awkward to eat alone in a restaurant. However, you’ll be happy to hear that there are a lot of places in Paris where dining alone is not only normal but it’s a very nice experience too.
For starters, you can check out some local farmers’ markets where you can get fresh fruits and vegetables and also some simple sandwiches. Another location where it’s very common for people to eat alone is French bakeries and patisseries that can be found on pretty much every corner and most of them are also quite affordable.
Another place where you can feel comfortable eating alone is cafes. After all, Paris is home to one of the most magnificent café cultures in the world. Cafes in Paris can be found everywhere and they’re an ideal place for people traveling solo in Paris the food there is often a lot more affordable compared to restaurants.
Places To Visit In Paris For Solo Travelers
Lastly, we round up this guide to traveling solo in Paris with a few suggestions of places to visit for solo travelers.
Have A Picnic
There’s no better way to start your morning than having a picnic somewhere along the Seine. It’s an affordable experience but if you do it right, you can still make it feel like a luxury. Another great place for a picnic is on the lawn below the Eiffel Tower. But keep in mind that this place will probably be more crowded.
Take A Walk Along the Seine
This is something you could do right after or before your picnic. There’s always something special about walking along the Seine early in the morning or during sunsets. The views and the atmosphere are just mesmerizing.
Take A Bike Tour
Paris is not like Amsterdam but it’s a cycle-friendly city and cycling is actually a great way to explore the city. You can either rent a bicycle for the day or opt-in for a guided bike tour that likely will have some other solo travelers such as yourself.
Check Out Notre Dame
No trip to Paris is complete without visiting Notre Dame. Yes, the cathedral is still being repaired and a part of it was completely burned in the fire of 2019 but that’s not a reason not to admire the part that’s still remaining…
Visit A Jazz Club
Paris has an amazing jazz culture and if you’re fond of this kind of music, you should definitely catch a couple of live music shows. My personal favorite go-to jazz spot in Paris is La Gare. The place is a real gem, when it’s warm, the live performances take place outside, and there’s also a great food truck and some incredible performers.
Get Off The Beaten Path
Paris has no shortage of hidden gems. So, if you don’t like crowds and visiting the main tourist attractions and would like to visit places that are not very talked-about, Paris will surprise you. Also, if you have already visited some of the most mainstream landmarks, it might be a good idea to get to know Paris’ alternative side too. If that sounds interesting, you’ll surely like our list of hidden gems in Paris and our guide to the best of street art in Paris.
Explore The Local Markets
One of the greatest and yet least-talked-about places in Paris is the local markets. These markets are not only a great place to catch a quick bite but also an irreplaceable part of Parisian culture. Some of the most interesting local markets include Marche des Enfants Rouges (the oldest covered market in Paris), Marche aux Puces (the most famous flea market in town), Marche Maubert (where you’ll find some of the most delicious croissants in Paris), and Rue Mouffetard Market (that was featured in Hemingway’s “A Movable Fest”).
If you like dark tourism destinations and history, the Parisian catacombs are one of the places you must visit. The catacombs stretch through a series of underground tunnels stuffed with human remains from the 1700s when these tunnels were used for burying the remains of people during the great plague pandemic that affected the entire country. If you’re planning to visit the Catacombs, you should seriously consider this awesome skip-the-line tour.
Père Lachaise Cemetery
The Père Lachaise Cemetery is another spooky but historically significant place in Paris that also happens to have some of the most beautiful ornate gravestones that you’ve ever seen. Many celebrities and important historic figures have found their eternal home at these cemeteries. If you would like to join a tour, I warmly recommend this small-group tour of the cemetery.
Sante Chapelle is an awe-inspiring cathedral with one of the most beautiful assortments of stained glass windows in Paris. It’s not one of the most popular cathedrals but it’s definitely one of the most beautiful ones. If you’re thinking of visiting. you might be interested in this self-guided skip-the-line tour.
Of course, no trip to Paris is complete without checking some of the city’s most popular museums. After all, museums are the perfect place for solo travelers and Paris has a plethora of incredible museums. Some of the best museums in Paris feature Musee d’Orsay, the Louvre, The Centre Pompidou, Musee de l’Orangerie, but there are also a few gems that might be worth your time, such as Musee de la Vie Romantique, Musee de Montmartre, Musee de Cluny, and Musee Picasso.
Palais de Tokyo
If you like art, Palais de Tokyo is the place to be. Palais de Tokyo is an entire building dedicated to modern and contemporary art. It’s one of the most unique places in Paris and to this day, one of the most mind-blowing art museums I’ve ever seen.
Sunsets At Montmartre
We briefly mentioned Montmartre in the list of museums to visit but there’s another reason to visit this place in addition to the lovely museum. Montmartre sits atop a hill that overlooks most of Paris’ central area, making this location one of the best sunset spots in the entire city.
Jardin du Luxembourg
Last but not least, we have Jardin du Luxembourg, the biggest and one of the most beautiful gardens in Paris. The beautiful nature and peaceful surroundings make this garden a perfect place for an afternoon walk for solo travelers. This park is also big enough to get lost in it (it also happens to be home to the French parliament) but not so big that it will make you feel like you could never cover all of it.
Are you thinking of traveling solo in Paris anytime soon? Did this article provide some useful tips for your solo trip to Paris? Do you think we forgot to include some important information? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.
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