Solo travel is always an adventure, especially when exploring the City of Lights and Love. At first, it might seem counterintuitive to set your sights on Paris as a solo traveler. But there’s a wealth of incredible things to see and do here that don’t require you to be a party of two.
Paris, like many other iconic European cities, is solo travel-friendly and easy to navigate on foot. Of course, solo wanderlusters headed to Paris should be mindful of their surroundings in general and in overly touristy spots (via Girl With The Passport). But there’s absolutely no reason to let the naysayers rain on your solo parade. With countless adventures and once-in-a-lifetime experiences waiting for you, Paris is, in many ways, a loner’s paradise. So pack your bags, brush up on your French phrases, and get ready to fall in love with the most romantic city in the world.
Important safety tips to keep in mind
Paris is generally safe to explore on your own. However, solo travel does come with a few recommended safety tips. Specifically, female wanderlusters and jet-setters must be mindful when exploring the world. So whether you’re off to Paris or somewhere else, remember not to broadcast your itinerary or make it obvious that you are alone (via Adventurous Kate). That said, all solo travelers should let someone from back home know their whereabouts and plans for their trip.
It is also highly recommended that solo travelers wear pickpocket-proof clothing and avoid bringing along items that could easily be lost or stolen. Tourists getting pickpocketed isn’t necessarily on the rise, but it doesn’t hurt to plan and dress accordingly. Likewise, if you haven’t signed up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) already, you should do so. STEP is a free service for U.S. citizens that allows them to register their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. This will provide you with pertinent information and can be used in the unfortunate event of an emergency (via STEP). These are just a few essential solo travel safety tips to remember before having the time of your life in Paris.
Book a walking tour to get your bearings
An activity that is both fun and functional is walking tours. If you plan to traipse around Paris for a few days, a walking tour will help you get your bearings. Not only are many of them free in this city, but they are also one of the best ways to start your vacation. Typically, you can choose from several different types of free walking tours in Paris. For example, Montmartre, Latin Quarter, and Le Marais are all wonderful areas of Paris that you can explore on foot via a tour. Plus, more than a few tour companies offer an intro to Paris overview (via Free Tours by Foot).
There are also self-guided, private, small group, and standard tours. If you prefer to go at it alone, a self-guided tour (free or paid) is perfectly fine. However, going on a walkabout with a local or tour guide can help answer any questions you may have along the way. Though regardless of the tour type, you can ultimately check off some, if not all, of the iconic sights like the Eiffel Tower and Palais Garnier (Opéra National de Paris) while simultaneously getting a better sense of the city (via Girl With The Passport).
Treat yourself to some shopping
Once you know your way around the city a little bit better, why not reward yourself with some shopping? Whether it is classic vintage pieces and beautifully handcrafted ensembles you love or the designer brands that make you swoon, there’s definitely a shop or market for you in Paris. Of course, for those who prefer to splurge a little on some luxury goods, Avenue des Champs-Élysées or the Louvre and Tuileries District are the places to be (via CNN).
Alternatively, if you don’t have anything particular in mind you want to buy or aren’t a fan of shopping, then you should consider stopping by Galeries Lafayette Department Stores. This old-world Parisian fashion institute and shopping center is a sight to behold. Here, you can enjoy awe-inspiring Belle Époque architecture and the latest fashions (via Trip Savvy). But that’s not all — Galeries Lafayette also has delicious gourmet food markets, home furnishings, jewelry, cosmetics, accessories, and more.
Check out the museums
Paris has over 150 incredible museums brimming with exhibits, artwork, artifacts, and history (via France Hotel Guide). Clearly, seeing them all during one solo trip is next to impossible, but there are more than a few museums that are must-sees. From the prestigious Louvre Museum and Musée d’Orsay (home to the world’s most extensive collection of impressionist and post-impressionist artwork) to the Petit Palais or Musée Moreau — exploring these multi-level wonders is a great solo activity that is as enjoyable as it is insightful.
Checking out the various museums you happen upon is also a pleasant alternative for when the weather isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. These odes to the past are full of incredible things, multiple-media exhibitions, and classic artwork by Monet, Van Gogh, Picasso, and others (via Culture Tourist). So, it shouldn’t be too surprising that museums in Paris, like The Louvre, attract countless visitors from all over the world. However, it is worth noting that if you opt to stop by the Louvre, it isn’t open on Tuesdays.
Cruise down the Seine River
In addition to admiring all the art and fashion Paris has to offer, you should continually cultivate an itinerary filled with unique experiences as a solo traveler. So a boat ride definitely seems in order. After all, there’s nothing quite like going for a relaxing cruise down the Seine River. The Seine River is regarded as the third longest river in France and has quite the backstory — but you won’t find any spoiler alerts here (via Travel France Online).
That said, this seemingly central waterway that runs through the City of Lights is many things, including a wonderful way to see the city. Here, you can catch incredible views of the Notre Dame Cathedral and get in some people-watching from a new perspective. Plus, there are a variety of tours, dinners, lunches, and more that you can enjoy as you float along this lovely and iconic river (via Come To Paris).
Take the train to the region of Champagne
Of course, travelers can get their bubbly in a variety of locations and at fine establishments in Paris. But if you’ve always wanted to see how your favorite fizzy drink was made or explore the province that gave it its name, now is a perfect time. A quick and easy TGV train ride (high-speed train) to the refreshing region of Champagne is a little over an hour, depending on where you hop off — the popular option is either Reims or Épernay.
The region of Champagne actually consists of five separate areas. However, the towns of Reims and Épernay are at the center of it all (via Whiskied Wonderlust). In the interest of time, you should decide which spot to visit before heading to the station. Though sipping champagne in both famous destinations is an option, if you plan for the added distance, you must travel via train. Overall, this is a fun and slightly boozy (or rather bubbly) day trip worth taking while in Paris. A bonus here is you can enjoy breathtakingly scenic views from the train car and sip on some of the local vintages along the way. But don’t forget to drink responsibly during this solo excursion.
Sample the delicious fanfare
Much like with their Champagne, Parisians are very serious about their magnificent cuisine and delicious pâtisseries (pastries) — and honestly, who can blame them? French food is wonderful and world-renowned for a reason. But before you clutch your dining-alone pearls, there’s no need to fear the stares or shame often associated with reserving a table for one out in the world. Solo diners are often the norm, if not a form of art here, and no one bats an eye at a lady lunching on her own (via Adventurous Kate).
Moreover, Paris is practically littered with must-try cafes, world-renowned restaurants, tasty bakeries, delectable confectioneries, and yummy goodness (via Devour Tours). So there really is no reason to only eat in the hotel or at the café closest to where you are staying. Instead, be adventurous and dine your way through the city of Paris — making it a point to sample as much French cuisine, pastries, and mouthwatering fanfare as possible.
Take a cooking class or food tour
Speaking of incredible French cuisine, you can absolutely take things to the next level and learn how to make some of your new favorite dishes and desserts. Taking a cooking class in one of the most revered food capitals of the world is not only fun, but it also has a nice ring to it. So if you happen to be the kind of solo traveler who likes to recount their experiences in the grandest of storytelling fashion, be our guest (via Spoon University).
All sorts of cooking classes (ranging from beginners to advanced) and French gastronomy tours are available in the City of Love. So if you’ve been dreaming of making those delicious macarons, refining your bread-making skills, or venturing into the wonderful world of classic French cuisine, this is the perfect opportunity to hone your craft (via Dreamer At Heart). Even if you haven’t fallen in love with French food to the point that you’re ready to don your best cooking attire and practice your "yes, chefs," you can still start small by booking a foodie tour.
Bike around town
Yet another leisure activity in Paris that is both fun and functional for solo wanders is renting a city bike. No matter the season, a nice bike ride around the city can be refreshing and allow you to see a side of Paris you never knew existed before (via Dreamer At Heart). There are other reasons to rent a bike while in town as well, like getting you from point A to point B a lot faster, giving your tired feet a break, and burning off some of those calories from dining your way through Paris, which were totally worth it.
Cycling around Paris is also good for your travel budget and safer than driving if you’re not used to Parisian drivers. In fact, every year, Paris becomes more cyclist-friendly, with an abundance of bike lanes and winding paths that showcase this city’s beauty. Plus, the nice thing here is that you don’t have to go at it alone. You can book a city cycling tour or use the various mapped-out routes online, including the Classic Paris route, the Parisians’ Paris cycle tour, the Left Bank cycle excursion, and the Off The Beaten Path Paris track (via Paris Info).
Explore quaint little villages around Paris
Paris clearly has so much to offer solo travelers in the way of activities. But there are still a few more items you can add to the itinerary, like exploring the quaint little villages around Paris. Fair warning — visitors who spend even a few hours wandering just outside the city often find it difficult to tear themselves away from these beautiful and charming towns (via World In Paris).
Places like Butte-aux-Cailles and Batignolles aren’t far from the heart of the City of Love. In fact, the village of Batignolles is only 15 minutes from Paris. This hidden gem is full of cobblestone streets, wonderful cafes, boutiques, and quintessential village shops. Butte-aux-Cailles, on the other hand, is roughly 25 minutes away and offers its visitors more of an old-world vibe. In this lovely little town, you can treat yourself to a lazy afternoon in one of its many English gardens — maybe even with a nice bottle of wine and a croissant (via Make My Trip).
Other unique villages, such as simply stunning Noyers-Sur-Serein, could easily be a half-day trip as it is a little over two hours away (via Make My Trip). Here, artsy types who do opt for Noyers-Sur-Serein should grab their camera and make a nice afternoon of it while strolling down these lovely Parisian streets.
Discover the hidden passages
For visitors who prefer to stay local, the city of Paris is also full of hidden gems and, more specifically, alluring passages. With more than 20 secret passageways around the city, you can spend your entire solo vacation finding these corridors where you least expect them (via Solo Sophie). Originally established as shopping alleys or arcades in the 18th and 19th centuries, many of these covered walkways feel like something out of "Harry Potter." These once bustling pathways were lined with bookstores, cafes, boutiques, and other interesting finds.
Sadly, many of these hidden passages were demolished to make way for the future of shopping, at the time, also known as the department store (via Follow Me Away). As a result, these hidden gems aren’t as easy to find anymore. But a handful of these doorways to another time and place still exist if you know where to look. A select few even have quaint yet fully-operational boutiques, bakeries, and bookstores. So why not put on a comfortable pair of walking shoes and ignite your childlike wonder as you explore the many covered passages throughout the city?
See The Catacombs of Paris
You’ve explored the villages and scoured the city for "Harry Potter"-like portals. So how could you possibly top that? Well, you can head on over to your neighborhood Catacombs (all joking aside, only certain sections are open to the public). The Catacombs of Paris are legendary and really need no introduction, especially for thrill seekers, history lovers, or dark tourists. Just ask anyone who appreciates the macabre side of things, and they will tell you these expansive underground ossuaries are basically repurposed quarries and tunnels that just happen to be the final resting spot for over 6 million people (via The Catacombs of Paris).
Horror movies, novels, artwork, and more have been made in honor of the Catacombs of Paris. This eerie yet thrilling excursion should be with a tour, possibly a group tour at that. But if you’re up for it, you can marvel at these infamous and ancient burial grounds that are downright fascinating. The Catacombs of Paris, in many respects, are one of the many incredible architectural wonders of this city (be it creepy) that are definitely worth seeing if only to cross it off your bucket list (via Jessie On A Journey).
Enjoy Paris at your leisure
Visiting the City of Lights can truly be an exciting experience, even for solo travelers of the world. However, with ample adventures on your trip to-do list, you might forget to stop and smell the roses. Don’t be that person. Instead, carve out some leisure time to see where the day takes you (via Jessie On A Journey).
Of course, what works for one traveler might not work for another when it comes to some rest and relaxation or exploring such a lively city at one’s leisure. So only you can determine what activities suit you best. But if you have the time, why not get out there and try something off the beaten path? This could be anything your heart desires, like becoming mesmerized by an old-world bookshop, picnicking by breathtaking canals, or booking a fancy Parisian spa day. Even if you end up only sipping a full-bodied wine in the park and getting in a good people-watch session under blooming cherry blossom trees, that just might be what you need that day, and that’s okay (via World of Wanderlust).