9 Tips for Traveling Solo to Paris
by Rissa Gatdula-Lumontad
The City of Light is a city that just about every traveler dreams of visiting. Paris undeniably surpasses any city in beauty. Whether you love history, culture, fine cuisine, arts, food or shopping, Paris never fails to captivate.
Paris is a great destination for solo female travelers, but as with any big city, a few tips will help keep your trip going smoothly.
1. Pack light so it’s easier to get around. Bring slacks and blazers (preferably black) instead of jeans and sweatshirts. Aside from being lighter, they are more acceptable. It is wise to dress smart in Paris, so you don’t look like a tourist (which helps ward off street scammers, too). Don’t forget to bring a scarf as it is considered a basic part of any chic Paris woman’s wardrobe. And remember that the less you have to carry, the easier it is to get around the city.
2. Wear comfortable shoes because Paris is best explored on foot. Shun athletic shoes. Instead, wear stylish flats. Even better, make sure your shoes are black and you’ll fit right in.
3. Take the Metro. Your feet will get tired walking the streets and cobblestones of Paris. You might need a ride at some points so it’s best to get a carnet (a packet of 10 tickets) to the Metro. These tickets are also acceptable on buses, trams and the RER train line within Paris.
4. Stay local. There are beautiful bed and breakfasts in Paris and these can be great places to make new friends during your travels. If you prefer your own space, you can check out comfortable and affordable apartments to rent instead of staying in a hotel or B&B. There are several areas close to the city center that are more affordable than staying right on the Champs Elysee, such as the Marais or St. Germain.
5. Eat at the markets and cafes. If you don’t like sitting at a restaurant or cafe by yourself, grab a bite to eat at a market. Alternately, sit in an outdoor café and let time pass by. This can be relaxing and inspirational, just watching people walk by. There are surprisingly affordable cafes even in the ritziest of areas—and many amazing foods to try in Paris.
6. Carry a book. Expect long lines at many popular sights in Paris—from the Eiffel Tower to the Louvre to the Paris Catacombs, you’ll likely wait in line to enter. Bring a book to read while you’re waiting in line, or make sure to download some books onto your device.
7. Time your visits well. It’s best to visit the museums in Paris early, as soon as they open, or late on that one day in the week when they are open later than usual. Note that the museums are closed one day a week, usually Tuesday. Ask at your hotel or hostel as they might sell line-skipping passes. Alternately, multi-attraction passes like the Paris Pass usually let you skip the lines too.
8. Be aware of your surroundings. While Paris is statistically one of the safest places for women among the major metropolitan areas in Europe, stay vigilant. Stay in well-lit areas when walking alone at night and avoid staying near major train stations like Gare du Nord. Research street scams and where they’re most common before you go, too.
9. Carry a map…and look at it beforehand. Gone are the days when travelers had to carry around paper maps, which mark any traveler as a very obvious tourist. This is a boon for solo women travelers. Download a map or guidebook to your phone or device. It’s best to have an idea of where you’re going beforehand, including the Metro stops you’ll need as well as streets you’ll use. But if you’re not sure where you are, check your map.
With the above in mind, pre-plan your itinerary so you can see, do and enjoy your vacation more. Then let Paris take your breath away!
Paris at Night: agaw dilim