Paris was the first city that I truly traveled to solo.

Truthfully, solo travel was something I had always been a bit anxious to embrace.

Instead, I’d book my overseas trips to see foreign friends, attend classes, or see family. 

Other than being solo on the flight, I was never really alone. 

Fate stepped in on my way to JFK during the summer of 2016 to change that. 

I got a call from my Dad, who was planning on meeting at JFK—we had planned two weeks of exploring France together. 

Turns out his flight to JFK from Pittsburgh was running late so he wouldn’t land in time to make the connection to Paris. 

As bad as I felt for him, I was excited that I was now boarding an overnight long-haul flight in coach where I knew the seat next to me would be open to sleep on. 

Plus, I’d be getting 24 hours to explore Paris totally solo. Spoiler alert—it didn’t disappoint!

Below is everything you’ll want to know about solo travel in Paris before you go. I divided it into sections to keep things easy and even included a list of the best things to do in Paris alone.

Is It Safe for a Woman to Travel Alone to Paris?

Is Paris good for first time solo female travelers 2

With a metro population of over 11,079,000 as of 2021, Paris is a fairly populated city. While I was walking around, I rarely felt concerned thanks to the crowds of people around. 

I think the key for anyone traveling solo is to be especially aware of your surroundings. 

I walked everywhere while I was in the city and didn’t get back to my hotel in the 14th until well after midnight. 

I only got approached twice the entire day. Once as I was having a picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower by a lady who wanted signatures—it’s a popular local scam, don’t fall for it. 

The second time was by a man while I was sitting on a bench outside the Louvre. It wasn’t a crazy situation, just a guy trying to ask me out. It was as easy as saying no and walking away.

Basically, if you stick to the more populated areas and use common sense, solo travel in Paris is really wonderful.

Is Paris Good for First-Time Solo Female Travelers?

Best Things to Do Solo in Paris 2

I’m so happy that Paris was my first taste of solo travel. It’s an especially magical city that’s not only for couples but also for dreamers. 

It’s a place that engages your soul and promotes self-reflection as you sit at a cafe and watch the world go by. At least, it does for me anyway!

I realize the language barrier might be a bit scary to some, but honestly, if you learn a few French phrases, you can get by with those since most locals will instantly switch to English. 

Just attempt in French first—the locals really appreciate it and are typically nicer than if you just assume they speak English. 

When you travel to Paris solo, I highly recommend bringing a travel journal. 

It’s my favorite way to document the revelations and thoughts that I have while traveling. I occasionally even end up sitting and sketching in mine when I visit beautiful locations. 

Plus, writing in a journal is the best solo dining activity while traveling. It always makes me feel way less awkward about dining solo (something that I’m pushing myself to get more comfortable doing). 

Best Things to Do Solo in Paris


1. Take Yourself on a Picnic


I love a picnic, especially while traveling alone. I really like them because you’re in control of the entire experience, plus it is an affordable yet luxurious meal when done just right. 

I always spend at least one morning enjoying a coffee and croissant somewhere along the Seine.

It’s the perfect spot to watch the world go by. It’s also a solid spot at sunset with some champagne, cheese, meats, a baguette, and macarons. 

Another favorite picnic spot is on the lawn below the Eiffel Tower. It’s the perfect spot to watch as the tower glitters in all its glory once the sun goes down.



2. Go on a Bike Tour


You’ve got two options when deciding to tour Paris via bicycle.

You can take a proper guided bike tour, or you can do a self-guided tour using one of the city’s rental bikes.

I prefer just renting a bike and exploring on my own. I think it’s relaxing, but I know it can be stressful for some.

Paris has bike stations all around the city, which makes it easy for you to rent and return a set of wheels.



If you prefer a group setting, there are also plenty of bike tours available.


3. Pick Up a Book at Shakespeare & Co.


A few blocks from Notre Dame, on the Left Bank, you’ll find one of the most charming English language bookshops in the world. 

Shakespeare & Co. bookshop has plenty of history and a treasure trove of books to choose from.

I love buying a book or two here to enjoy while I’m at dinner or relaxing around Paris. 

If you’re too obsessed with your Kindle to buy a proper book, at least check this place out for the history.

It was a famous gathering place for literary legends of the 1920s, including Hemingway, Joyce, Fitzgerald, and Stein. 



4. Explore Le Marais


Le Marias is a fashionable neighborhood in the 4th with tons of shops, cafes, galleries, and bars.

I could easily spend the entire day exploring this area. I especially love that it feels more residential than other parts of the city.

It’s also visually really cool because it has more pre-revolutionary buildings and streets than any other area of Paris. There are some major medieval vibes in parts of the neighborhood. 

Stroll down Place des Vosges to check out the home of Victor Hugo (he wrote Les Miserables). His old house is now a free public museum that’s worth checking out.

If you’re looking for a good place to eat in the area check out Les Philosophes. It’s a cute little French bistro in the neighborhood. They are always really nice, most servers can speak English, and the food is delicious.



5. Chill at a Cafe in St. Germain


St. Germain is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Paris

It’s well known for the artists, writers, and existentialists who lived and worked there in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 

While you’re in the area, you must spend some time at Cafe de Flore and Les Deux Margot. They are two of the most historic cafes in the area where Picasso, Fitzgerald, and Hemingway all would hang back in the day. 

You’ll also want to check out Musee Delacroix. It’s a museum that’s totally dedicated to the artwork of Delacroix. 

If you’re wondering who Delacroix is, here’s the deal. He’s thought to be one of the greatest painters of the French Romantic movement.

Local’s Tip: Pierre Hermé’s very first French shop is in St. Germain. It’s basically a requirement to stop and invest in at least half a dozen of my all-time favorite macarons.



6. Walk Along the Seine


Taking a stroll along the Seine is one of the first things I do after arriving in Paris (after indulging in lots of coffee to beat the jetlag).

This is easily one of my favorite things to do in the city. On my way over to the Seine, I always pick up a warm baguette or croissant, some cheese, pate, and desserts.

Then I stroll until I’ve found the perfect spot to sit and watch the world go by. Sometimes I’ll even journal about the emotions and observations that come to me as I sit.

If it’s near sunset, I always pick a place with a view of the Eiffel Tower. I know it’s a tad too cheesy to admit, but I’m obsessed with watching the tower when it sparkles. It truly is magical—even when traveling solo. 



7. Explore Hidden Passageways


If you’re anything like me, you heard “hidden passageways” and images of hidden corridors behind castle curtains and bookshelves fill your imagination.

Unfortunately, these passageways aren’t so mysterious, though they are tough to locate. They’re basically little shopping areas.

Paris had over 150 of these passageways back in the 18th and 19th centuries. These days, there’s only a handful of these gorgeous areas left in the city. 

Here’s a list of some of the most beautiful ones to check out:



8. Visit the Eiffel Tower


No trip to “The City of Lights” is complete without visiting the Eiffel Tower. 

If you’ve never been before, it’s actually pretty cool to pay to go to the top of it. The views are incredible, and it gives you a bird’s-eye view of how the city is laid out.

This was the very first thing I did on my first day in Paris, and it really helped guide my sense of direction for the rest of the trip

You can either grab a ticket for the second floor or the summit (essentially the top). I went to the summit and didn’t regret it—fair warning it’s not for people afraid of heights. 

If you’ve done the observation deck before, or just want to save a bit of money, you can always grab a snack for a little lawn picnic in front of the tower. Like I said above, I do this on every trip to Paris.



9. Take a River Cruise


There are few things better than being on a boat on a warm day, especially when that boat is cruising past some of Paris’s most iconic structures. 

This is one of my favorite ways to see the city, especially if I’m jet-lagged and not in the mood to walk everywhere. 



Check out some of these popular boat tours!


10. Check Out Notre Dame


Okay, so I’m sure you’ve heard Notre Dame is still in a state of repair after the insane 2019 fire that broke out and destroyed much of this beloved landmark.

Just because it’s closed for repair, doesn’t mean that you should totally skip visiting it. 

Since firefighters and first responders luckily could save some of it, you can still gaze at a part of it from the sidewalk. 

Plus, there is a ton of artwork sent from all over the world that’s displayed along the construction wall. It’s a really cool look at how meaningful Notre Dame is to everyone around the globe.



11. Shop at Galeries Lafayette


Anyone who loves shopping needs to spend some time browsing in Galeries Lafayette.

It’s easily one of the most beautiful stores in Paris. The best part is that they carry some of the best brands in fashion.

Don’t forget to look up while you’re shopping because the Art nouveau glass Coupole is out of this world!



12. Go on a Macaron Tasting Tour


I’m one of those people that is constantly snacking on sweets, especially while in France.

If you’re into macarons, this is the best city in the world to conduct a little self-guided tasting tour in.

My all-time favorite is Pierre Herme, but I only realized that after trying macarons from shops all over the city. 

Use my list of the best macarons in Paris to eat your way around the city. You’ll discover your favorite macaron spot, plus see lots of neighborhoods.



13. Stroll in the Tuileries Gardens


Just steps away from the Louvre you’ll find the delightful Tuileries Gardens.

This is the perfect spot to enjoy a coffee and croissant while journaling or enjoying a delightful book. 

If you’re in town from June to August, check out Fête des Tuileries. It’s a cute little carnival that takes over a portion of the park. You can enjoy the rides and indulge in lots of fair food. 

Fun Fact: The Tuileries Gardens is the oldest and largest garden in Paris. It was commissioned by Catherine de’ Medici in 1564.



14. Hit Up a Jazz Club


Catching some live music is one of my favorite things to do while traveling solo.

Since Paris is popular for its jazz scene, it only makes sense that you’d catch at least one performance while you’re there. 

My go-to jazz spot is La Gare in the 19th. It’s a local spot with great outdoor jazz, an affordable bar, a food truck, and wonderful performers.

Local’s Tip: Have some cash on hand to tip the performers.



15. Catch a Film at Le Louxor


Le Louxor is one of the oldest and most beautiful movie theaters in Paris.

If you’re looking for something to do at night or on a rainy day, this is the place to go.

They show tons of great indie films; the seats are comfy, and the art deco architecture is impressive.

The best part is that it’s got a really cool Egyptian vibe and even has a chic rooftop bar on the third floor.



16. Shop the Bouquinistes


Are you wondering what Bouquinistes are?

They are the booksellers in Paris that sell used and antique books along the Seine.

They follow in the footsteps of a tradition that dates back to the 16th century.

I love strolling along the Seine, checking these little stands out. You’re almost sure to find at least one interesting book while you’re browsing.

You’ll find most Bouquinistes open around 11 am and close around sunset. 

Fun Fact: The Bouquinistes are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.



17. Take a Cooking Class


One of my favorite ways to make friends while traveling solo is by joining a cooking class.

You’ll learn a new skill, get to eat something delicious, and make new friends.

What could be better?



Check out one of these popular cooking classes while you’re in Paris!


18. Hang in the Latin Quarter


To check out the Latin Quarter, you’ll want to head to the 5th and 6th arrondissements. 

Here you’ll find lots of cafes filled with students from the Sorbonne University. Plus a bunch of wonderful book shops including the famous Shakespeare & Company shop. 

You’ll also want to check out Le Caveau de la Huchette, one of the oldest jazz clubs in Paris. It dates back to the 16th century when supposedly it was a meeting place for Templars and Free-Masons.



19. Visit the Great Mosque of Paris


If you feel like treating yourself while you’re in the Latin Quarter, head to the Great Mosque of Paris

You can grab a cup of mint tea in a stunning garden, enjoy the stunning Islamic architecture, and even book a hammam experience

I’m pretty positive this is the only hammam in Paris, making it a one-of-a-kind spa experience. 

Local’s Tip: Women must dress conservatively in either long pants or a long skirt. They do not require headscarves.



20. Explore the Catacombs


Exploring the Catacombs of Paris has been on my bucket list for a long time. 

I know seeing a bunch of bones underground may not be for everyone, but it makes a great and memorable solo travel adventure.

You’ll absolutely want to book your ticket ahead of time since I know from experience these tours sell out quickly. 

If you’re thinking about visiting, wear comfortable shoes, as there’s a lot of steps involved in this adventure.

Also, don’t bring enormous bags with you, they don’t have any coat of bag checks on-premises. 

Fun Fact: According to Smithsonian Magazine, some of the oldest bones in the catacombs date back to over 1,200 years ago!



21. Chill Along the Canal Saint-Martin


During the spring and summer, the Canal Saint-Martin is one of the best places to spend an afternoon wandering around.

You’ll see locals picnicking along the canal, tons of trendy boutiques, and local musicians playing dreamy tunes. 

If you’re visiting on a Sunday, you’ll want to rent a bike. They shut down some streets along the canal for pedestrians and cyclists. 

Local’s Tip: If you’re looking for a bite to eat and drink, head to Hôtel du Nord. It’s got a chic 1930s vibe with delicious offerings.



22. Attend a Wine Tasting


While in France, it’d be crazy not to learn a few fun facts about French wine.

One of my favorite ways to do this is by attending a wine tasting. Since most people get chatty after a drink or so, this is also a great way to make friends while traveling solo.

Obviously, just be sure to carb up a bit before the tasting, and use the spittoon to avoid getting too tipsy. 



These are some of the most popular tastings to check out!


23. Have a Drink With a View


Who doesn’t love a drink with a killer view?

I try to hit up at least one rooftop bar in every city that I visit. These are some of my favorite rooftops in Paris:



24. See a Show at Opera Garnier


If you’re a big Phantom of the Opera fan, you’ll know all about the legendary Opera Garnier.

If you aren’t a Phantom fanatic, basically you’ll just want to know that the opera house was home to the legendary Phantom. 

These days they mainly use the venue for ballet performances. You’ll absolutely want to book your ticket early, as seats fill up fast.

You can also opt to take a tour of the venue, which is truly an ornate work of art. I’ve heard the daytime guided tour can be dense, so I’d recommend booking a self-guided visit. 

They also have a nighttime tour that’s currently on my bucket list. The tour is about the building’s many mysteries—including the Phantom!



Book your tickets early to one of these popular Paris Opera House tours!


25. Take a Killer Instagram Photo


I know you’re probably thinking, “how am I supposed to take a killer IG photo solo?”.

Truthfully, it can be awkward but totally worth it in the end. 

When I was in Paris by myself, I ended up heading to a few of the most popular IG photo spots thinking I’d just wing it when I got there. 

The first place I went to was Trocadero at sunset. There were easily like twenty other people all trying to get the perfect photo with the tower in the background. 

I spotted two girls taking photos in a prime spot and offered to take a photo of them together if they would take some of me.

The photos I got there were stunning and easily my favorite from the entire trip.

Other than Trocadero, these are some other prime places to stage a mini photoshoot:

  • Musée du Louvre
  • Jardin des Tuileries
  • Musée d’Orsay
  • Sacre-Coeur


26. Stroll Around a Cemetery


Okay, obviously not everyone will want to hang out in a cemetery. 

But if you want to see some famous gravestones and a quiet ancient part of the city, I recommend checking the cemeteries out. 

My favorite one to stroll around is Père Lachaise Cemetery. It’s one of the most visited cemeteries in the world. 

Behind its gates, you’ll find Modigliani, Gertrude Stein, Edith Piaf, Oscar Wilde, Colette, and Jim Morrison.



27. Shop the Market at Saint-Ouen


Paris is one of my favorite places in the world to hit up flea markets. You can find some seriously unique antiques and treasures at them.

One of the best ones in the city is the Marche at Saint-Ouen. It’s the largest antique and secondhand market in the world with over 1,700 merchants.

The market is only open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am until 6 pm, and on Mondays from 10 am until 5 pm. 



28. Explore Montmartre


The neighborhood of Montmartre is bursting with breathtaking views and artists. 

You’ll absolutely want to spend an afternoon wandering around this historic district. 

It’s so old it even has its own museum, the Musée de Montmartre. It features works by Toulouse-Lautrec and Modigliani. 

You’ll also want to swing by Place du Tertre to check out countless artists showcasing their works in this open-air gallery. It’s the perfect spot to pick up a unique souvenir that will hang in your home reminding you of your time in Paris.

It’s also pretty much mandatory to climb the 222 stairs to Sacré-Cœur. The area outside the basilica offers performances from some of the best street performers in the city. It also has a killer view, especially at sunset. 



29. Treat Yourself to World-Class Cuisine


Paris has almost a quarter of all the Michelin-starred restaurants in France. 

In case you don’t know, only the finest places in the world earn stars, so if you really want to treat yourself to something special on your solo trip, make a reservation at one of these Michelin starred restaurants:



30. Catch a Cabaret Show


Is there anyone who hasn’t heard of the famous Moulin Rouge?

Obviously, it’s the most popular choice for catching a cabaret. 

Despite being touristy, it’s a sexy and cheeky dinner show that will leave you in a great mood.

If you want to catch a show at a less obvious spot, head to one of these popular local joints: 



31. Go on a Croissant Tasting Tour


The best part of waking up in Paris is getting to indulge in all the breakfast pastries, especially the buttery croissants.

A true French croissant has the perfect combination of moisture, flakiness, and butter.

Taste test your way through my list of the best croissants in Paris to find your favorite pastry.

If you walk between destinations, the calories won’t count for the day—or at least that’s what I always tell myself!



32. Visit Versailles


Take yourself on a mini day trip to one of the most ornate and well-known palaces in Europe. 

Versailles is obviously pretty legendary thanks to Marie Antoinette. Despite its destruction during the French Revolution, this palace still impresses thanks to its fairly recent restoration.

It takes about an hour to get to via train, making it a simple trip out of the city. 

My favorite thing to do at Versailles is to bring a picnic to enjoy in the massive gardens. You’ll also want to take at least a few photos for Instagram since they built this chateau to dazzle.



Plan ahead and book one of these popular tours while you’re at Versailles!


33. Stroll Along the Champs-Elysee


Running from Place de la Concorde and the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs-Elysee is one of the world’s most recognizable commercial streets.

Obviously you’ll want to stop and admire the Arc de Triomphe, which is easily one of the most recognizable monuments in Paris (after the Eiffel Tower of course).

You’ll also want to wander around the Place de la Concorde. It’s the square where Louis XVI, Marie-Antoinette met their demise during the French Revolution. 

Besides taking in all the history, you’ll also want to do some window shopping since the Champs-Elysee has some of the best high-end shopping in Paris. 



34. Hang in Luxembourg Gardens


The Jardin du Luxembourg is one of the prettiest gardens in Paris. They also hold the sister of The Statue of Liberty. 

That’s right, France’s version is just like New York’s only smaller. You can find her on the western side of the garden.

If you’re a history buff, make time to check out Musée du Luxembourg on the edge of the park. It’s Paris’ very first public museum and has been around since 1750!

Local’s Tip: Pierre Herme is a few blocks away, so grab a macaron and an Ispahan (trust me, it’s delicious) to enjoy. 



35. Check Out the View From Montparnasse Tower


I’ve been told by locals that not everyone in the city is a fan of the massive Montparnasse Tower that sticks out like a sore thumb on the skyline. 

That said, everyone loves the view from the top of it, even locals will say it’s the best view of Paris (generally adding it’s because this is the one place where the tower doesn’t ruin the view).

No matter which team you fall on in the great skyline debate, I can pretty much guarantee you’ll love the view from the tower’s 59th-floor terrace. 

My favorite time to book a ticket is for sunset. The colors you’ll see in the sky as the sunsets are seriously magical.



36. Walk Across the Pont Alexandre III Bridge


The Pont Alexandre III Bridge is easily my favorite bridge in all of Paris. 

You’ll likely recognize its ornate gold structuring from photos and films.

I recommend heading here at sunrise to journal or sunset to watch as the city lights come alive. 


Final Thoughts

Solo Travel in Paris 2

People always say you find yourself while traveling solo and I couldn’t agree more.

Taking the time to travel solo has truly been one of the most rewarding and life-changing things that I’ve done for myself over the years. 

It pushes you out of your comfort zone, teaches you how to rely on yourself, and most importantly forces you to slow down and spend time with yourself.

Solo travel in Paris is especially magical, thanks to the allure of the city. If you’re debating booking that ticket, just do it. I know it’s scary taking that initial leap into solo travel, but I promise it will be one of the best things that you’ll ever do for yourself.


Check out some of these popular options while you’re exploring Paris!


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