9 Tips for Traveling Solo to Paris
by Rissa Gatdula-Lumontad
The “City of Lights” is one of the most desired places to visit. Paris undeniably surpasses any city in beauty. Whether a visitor’s interest is history, culture, fine cuisine, arts or shopping, Paris will never fail to captivate.
As a solo female traveler, you’ll find these tips helpful in exploring Paris on your own:
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, like the Frenchwomen, so as not to be easily identified as a tourist and targeted by bad elements. 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 more agile you’ll be in moving about the city.
2. Wear comfortable shoes because Paris is best explored on foot. Shun athletic shoes however. Instead, use stylish flats, best if black in color.
3. Take the metro. You might need a ride at some points so it is advisable to get a carnet or packet of 10 tickets to the Metro or subway. 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 it might be sensible to stay in one so you can meet other people. If you prefer to be alone, you can check out comfortable and affordable apartments to rent instead of staying in a hotel.
5. Eat at the markets. Doing this means you won’t feel lonely in a restaurant. Alternately, sit in an outdoor café and let time pass by. This can be a relaxing, inspirational moment, just watching people walk by amidst a romantic backdrop.
6. Carry a book. As the Eiffel Tower is the staple in every visitor’s itinerary, expect a long queue when visiting. Bring a book to read while you’re waiting in line.
7. Time your visits well. It is 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, as they are less crowded. Note that the museums are closed one day a week, usually Tuesday. Consider availing of a pass that will allow you to discover more of the city while saving both time and money.
8. Be aware of your surroundings. While Paris is statistically one of the safest places for women among the major metropolitan areas in Europe, it is still advisable to be vigilant. Stay in well-lit areas when walking alone at night. Avoid smiling at or making prolonged eye contact with strangers, particularly men, as it might be interpreted as an invitation to make advances.
9. Learn some language and carry a map. Navigating Paris on your own may not be so easy, as street signs, if any, are in French. It will therefore help if you learn some of the language beforehand. Also, bring a guidebook and refer to its map as the tourist information map doesn’t include all the streets and is not drawn to scale.
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