It’s here, my guide to all things Paris, including the best things to do in the city. If you’re a fellow solo traveller heading to Paris, I’m here to tell you that Paris is still amazing, even if you’re travelling alone.
I didn’t know what to expect from this solo trip to Paris, but I thoroughly enjoyed my four nights in the city last fall. It even made it into my top ten travel highlights for 2017. I spent each day exploring a different area, walking A LOT and eating many pastries — a winning combination. I thought I’d share my guide in case you’re also looking to adventure to the City of Love solo. Here is what I did, what I ate and where I stayed.
THINGS TO DO IN PARIS
♥ A Montmartre meander. I followed this excellent Montmartre Walking Tour guide from fellow travel blogger, Solo Sophie. I saved the stops on my offline Google map. Some of them included the Je T’aime Wall, Le Consulat and Le Maison Rose (total Instagram locations), and Place du Tertre, which was bustling with people.
♥ Sunrise from Sacré-Coeur. As my hostel was a block from the Sacré-Coeur, I woke up early one morning to see the sunrise from its high vantage point. I thought I was going to die from the amount of stairs I had to climb to the top, but once I sat down to catch my breath and take in the sunrise over Paris, I knew it was worthwhile. The combination of plane streams and the golden sun was magical. There is a funicular available if you want to skip the steps, I was just too early.
♥ Rue Crémieux is a slice of Notting Hill in Paris with its colourful houses. However, a lot of properties do have signs posted asking for no photographs, so remember to respect their wishes. Along the way to Rue Crémieux I also stopped at Boulangerie bo for a snack, which I ate as I wandered along the Seine.
♥ Coulée Verte René-Dumont. Paris’ answer to New York’s High Line, it’s a leafy footpath that’s been built on an old railway line. I felt like the only tourist as I wandered and took photos of the surrounding picturesque Paris apartment buildings. I heard about it from my Mum’s cousin and recommend it as a great place to work off those pastries.
♥ See the Eiffel Tower sparkle. During my first trip to Paris over ten years ago, I did go up the Eiffel Tower. However, seeing it twinkle from the ground is so much better. It sparkles for five minutes every hour of every night.
♥ Meet Mona Lisa. This is also something I did during my first trip. I’m not a big art gallery visitor, but the Louvre is just a landmark you have to visit once. The amount of interesting and famous pieces on display is incredible. It’s also the world’s largest art museum, so dedicate a fair bit of time to see it all.
♥ Visit Galeries Lafayette. I am so glad I got to see this amazing French department store. There was fortunately a sale happening when I visited, so I bought a beautiful scarf to remember my time in Paris. But its gift section was overwhelming, its decorations were extravagant and its stained-glass dome ceiling was exquisite. Don’t forget to make your way to the top floor, as it has an amazing (free) rooftop view of Paris, which includes both the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe.
♥ Jardin du Luxembourg. To be honest, I feel like Luxembourg Garden would look more beautiful in spring or summer. But after wandering around Saint-Germain-des-Prés, it was the perfect spot for me to rest and have a late picnic lunch.
♥ Climb the Arc de Triomphe and wander down the Champs-Élysées. I recommend climbing to the top of the Arc de Triomphe over the Eiffel Tower, as this way you can get the Eiffel Tower in your photos. I also love the view straight down the Champs-Élysées. This street is so out of my price range, but it’s so pretty.
♥ Get a photo at Palais-Royal. Sometimes, being a solo traveller is not fun. Like when you want to get a photo on the fun striped columns in the Palais-Royal courtyard. Nonetheless, I think a quick visit to Palais-Royal when in the area (it’s close to the Louvre) is necessary.
♥ Go on a cruise. This was one of the best things I did in Paris. Through my hostel, I got a discounted ticket for a one-hour cruise with Bateaux Parisiens. I did the 4:30 cruise in fall, which was perfect timing. I got to see so many of the city’s most beautiful buildings glowing in golden hour. The Eiffel Tower also lit up as we were disembarking.
♥ Visit Le Marais. I started another Parisian morning in Le Marais neighbourhood at Place des Vosges, which is a beautiful square.
♥ Walk along the Seine. I recommend walking along the Seine or enjoying a picnic in every season. It’s great for people watching, for attraction-sighting (like Notre-Dame) and souvenir buying. Many locals have stalls along the Seine, selling artwork, books and more.
WHERE TO EAT IN PARIS
Let’s be honest, I did not eat at all of these places. I was too busy devouring bread, cheese and pastries. But here are some recommendations I noted down from fellow bloggers and Pinterest articles.
♥ Le Marais. I heard good things about the cakes at Carette and L’as du Fallafel, a.k.a the best falafel in Paris.
♥ Montmartre. Some of the places I ate in the neighbourhood included Le Grenier à Pain, Au Levain d’Antan and Pain Pain for pastries. A fresh croissant every morning is the BEST, but I also became addicted to viennoise chocolate. I also visited L’Anvers du Decor, which had a set lunch menu and friendly staff.
♥ Île Saint-Louis. I was so looking forward to an ice cream from Berthillon Glacier, but of course it was closed the week I was visiting. Instead, I kept walking to Amorino, which combines different ice cream flavours to make ice cream roses. It was a delicious substitute.
♥ Macarons. In the name of research, I tried macarons from both Ladurée and Pierre Hermé. I recommend the chocolate flavour from the former and the hazelnut and pistachio flavours from the latter. Be warned though, they are not cheap. But when in Paris, right?
♥ Angelina. Known for its cakes and decadent hot chocolate, the line to enter Angelina is no joke. I decided not to queue, but if you have more patience, head here.
WHERE TO STAY IN PARIS
I stayed at Le Village hostel in Montmartre. It did make my list of top hostels in the UK and Europe, thanks to its premier location near Sacré-Coeur. I could also easily walk to two different metro stops, there was a supermarket next door and our four-bed female dorm room conveniently came with a desk. It wasn’t the most spacious room or hostel, but I really enjoyed my stay there.
PARIS SOLO TRAVEL TIPS
♥ Don’t be scared of the metro. I found it very easy to use, as the ticket machines have an English option. I used Google Maps to navigate the public transport system.
♥ I also did a lot of walking down a lot of streets and never once felt uncomfortable. There are so many attractions and historic sites within walking distance of each other. Just don’t forget to pack your most comfortable shoes.
♥ Paris is one of the world’s most visited cities, which means there are a lot of tourists no matter when you visit. Just be aware of your surroundings when visiting major tourist attractions. Keep your bag close to you and don’t get caught in a scam. There are non-legit people with clipboards everywhere.
♥ I didn’t find Parisians to be as rude as I was expecting. However, I just noticed that in the boulangeries and other places they didn’t really want to speak English. Fortunately my high school French skills helped me get by. A s’il vous plaît (please) and merci (thank you) go a long way.
There you have it, my ultimate solo travel guide to Paris. I hope you found it useful for your own journey to Paris.
♥ A recap of my entire solo journey through the UK and Europe.
♥ My favourite solo travel destinations around the world.
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