Paris is one of the best places in the world to travel to under any circumstances, but I particularly love to visit the city of lights solo, too. The city offers so much for solo travelers and today I’m sharing my best travel tips for soaking up Paris when you’re traveling alone.
Solo travelers in Paris won’t have a hard time spending their time enjoying the city. A lot of the city’s best attractions can be enjoyed alone. Paris is the place I’ve personally traveled to the most solo and I absolutely love wandering the streets soaking up the culture, the food & the scenery and I truly love the clarity I get in doing so. I truly love how invigorating solo travel can be.
I love taking in a variety of museums when in Paris alone, shopping in the Marais and Saint Germain, sitting in cafes reading and frankly it’s really wonderful to be the master of your own schedule. You don’t have to spend any time in Paris doing something or anything you don’t personally want to do! (As often is the case when traveling with others).
There’s so much to soak up and enjoy as a solo traveler visiting Paris so read on for tips on how to travel to the City of Love and City of Lights alone and make the most of your time in Paris.
12 Tips for Traveling to Paris Alone
Don’t just pack your bags and go. If you’re not prepared, you’re opening yourself up to unforeseen and potentially unsafe situations. Be sure to share your itinerary with loved ones (hotel reservations, flights, etc.), have the U.S embassies contact info on file and you can also register your trip with the State Department. Taking a few minutes to do this will give you and your loved ones some added peace of mind.
And overall, do your research. Get context for Paris and understand cultural differences before you arrive.
Consider hotels over airbnbs.
I’m actually a huge fan of staying in apartments when I travel to Paris but you have to be careful about the company you choose to do so with. Most Airbnb’s in Paris aren’t technically legal and after an Airbnb experience a couple of years ago where not once but twice someone was trying to get into the apartment I was staying in, I no longer stay in Airbnbs when traveling solo.
So for solo travel – especially to a city you may not be super familiar with), I’d recommend staying in a hotel. Hotels can also be great assets for securing cabs, providing directions and booking you restaurant reservations and I find this to be particularly helpful when there is a language barrier.
Where to Stay in Paris.
Bring a wifi hotspot.
In today’s day in age sometimes we really need wifi to solve a problem so we don’t get lost or end up having to ask the wrong person for help. I always travel with a mobile wifi hotspot that I can turn on at a moment’s notice to be able to get online and look up directions, check if something is open, figure out how to best get home at night, etc.
My favorite Mobile Hot Spot
Just buy data to top up the hot spot whenever you need wifi access.
Have an extra charger on you.
You don’t want to run out of battery on your phone when you’re traveling alone in Paris. So I recommend always having an extra charger on you to give your phone some power when you don’t have easy access to an outlet.
My favorite Battery Pack
Use Google offline maps.
While I’m all for getting lost on purpose when in a new place, if you’re alone it’s best to at least be somewhat familiar with where you are. Once you have a destination (in this case “Paris”), put it into Google maps on your phone, click on the destination and then select to download the area. (You’ll need to be on Wifi to successfully do this!)
Google will save it for you within Maps so you can “walk around” the area even without data or wifi. You’ll see most street names and the infamous blue dot will be able to follow you. You can also easily look up addresses of places you’re looking to get to because Google has the area saved and is able to recall destinations. This tip is a lifesaver!
Use common sense.
You may feel fine walking home late at night in your home city or town. But when you’re in a foreign place, spend the $10 and take an Uber or cab and ensure you’ll get home safely. Be aware of your surroundings and conscious of common scams in Paris for pickpocketing and avoid having your phone out while riding the subway or walking around when possible as iPhone thefts can be common in Paris. This tip is particularly important for solo female travelers.
Pick places appropriately.
Thus far I have stuck to solo travel in Europe and North America because they are easy and not too intimidating. When it comes to picking places, I’d recommend going places that you’re going to feel safe exploring. I personally wouldn’t go anywhere too exotic or with a huge language barrier by myself.
France has a lot of english speaking residents however and Paris is, in general, a safe place. Be sure you keep in the know of any big events or planned protests happening in the city while there though and avoid those areas.
Get over feeling awkward.
I’ve had so many people inquire after how I feel eating by myself saying they would feel too awkward to do so but frankly, I don’t mind it. Studying abroad in Paris taught me the normalcy of solo dining and when I travel alone nowadays I bring a book or I saddle up to a bar seat to enjoy a meal and chat with the bartender or guests surrounding me.
And truly there’s no place better than Paris to be when solo dining! Their culture is built around eating at cafes solo – particularly for breakfast so trust me when I say that no one will think twice if you’re doing so. Want some of the best restaurants to eat at solo in Paris? Book a Paris, Perfected itinerary with me and I’ll steer you in the right direction.
Don’t draw attention to yourself.
Wearing clothing with American destinations plastered on them or wearing loads of branded American gear and talking too loudly will instantly have you picked out of the crowd as a tourist and could make you a target for pickpocketing. The French as a group of people are often subdued and speak softly and politely so follow suit and try and blend in with the locals as much as possible when traveling solo.
And of course, leave your valuables at home or in the hotel safe when venturing out and don’t broadcast that you’re traveling alone.
Lose the headphones.
I am not a person who always has headphones in but I know a lot of people are addicted to doing so. When you’re traveling solo it is best to be more aware of your surroundings and not distracted so I recommend ditching your headphones when walking around. Plus, it is so much better to enjoy both the sights and sounds of Paris when experiencing a new place in my opinion!
Avoid spending lots of time solo in Paris at night.
In general I think a good rule of thumb is to avoid being out late or in other circumstances in the evening when you may not have your full bearings or be able to access help as easily so when I travel alone I tend to make early dinner reservations and head home early. Paris at night is beautiful so definitely enjoy an evening stroll by the Seine, be sure to see the Eiffel Tower sparkle and walk by the Louvre when you can to see it all lit up at night but you may want to save the longer evening time walks for when you have a companion.
In the summer Paris is light out until about 10PM so I love doing solo travel to Paris in the summer so that you can maximize the day without worrying about darkness.
Consider Travel Insurance.
If you’re someone who gets stressed easily when things go awry, you may want to consider getting travelers insurance so you can better protect your trip.
Be prepared with a few key phrases in French.
Speaking English is rather commonplace in Paris these days but having a few phrases like “Do you speak English” and “where are the toilets” or “where is ____” will make your life a lot easier. Through my Paris trip planning service Paris, Perfected, I offer a handy print out for your next trip to Paris.
Consider group activities.
I love doing guided tours or group activities like cooking classes when I travel solo in Paris. It’s fun to meet others and have some new people to speak with. Signing up for a day trip with a group is also a great way to be able to experience popular attractions outside of Paris such as Versailles or Giverny.
Keep friends & loved ones in the loop.
Let friends know how you’re doing via text from time to time or post on social media so that those loved ones in your life can keep tabs on you from afar.
. . .
Honestly in the end, life is short and there’s so much of the world to see…so take the trip!
Hope you found this helpful! Tell me…do you travel solo? If so, I’d love to hear about your experience in the Comments below.
And if you’re feeling inspired to travel solo but Paris isn’t your thing – check out Conde Nast Traveler’s Solo Travel Destinations list.
Want even more help planning a solo trip to Paris? I specialize in helping making your next trip to Paris, Perfected and I particularly like working with solo travelers so check out Paris, Perfected and book with me to make your next trip one you won’t forget!
Years ago, I took a bus tour of San Francisco when I was traveling alone. I ended up being the only solo traveler among ten couples. The women told me their men would never “let” them travel on their own yet they longed to do so. The men told me they wished their women would travel alone! The experience made me forevermore comfortable traveling alone even in a sea of couples!
Too funny!! Thank you for sharing, Judy!
The longest solo travel I have done so far is an overnight layover at Heathrow airport – I took advantage of the close proximity and visited Windsor Castle. I would LOVE to travel to Paris by myself – I’ve been several times but always with someone else. Hopefully soon!
Hope it can happen for you!
It is a goal of mine to return to Paris for a solo trip next year (I haven’t been since I studied abroad in college a decade ago!) This is a perfect guide, and I’ll be saving it for when I plan my trip!
YAY! So hope it happens for you
I had no idea Google offline maps was a thing – that’s an awesome tip for any trip abroad! It’s great that in this day and age women can feel more comfortable traveling solo. I love traveling and I’d hate to miss out on trips I want to take just because I don’t have anyone to go with (especially as a single female). Hoping to plan another Europe trip as things (hopefully) improve with COVID!
I love solo travel! In my 20s I boldly booked a flight to Koh Samui for a Thai beach vacay by myself. I also went to NYC without knowing anyone when I was still living in London. Even a quick beach trip to Malaysia. My kids now also get dragged around the world by us but sometimes I long for a flight where I don’t have to entertain a kid! Never thought I’d long for flying solo – I didn’t know how good I had it then 😉
The one most important thing you left out is : say bonjour before you say anything else .
This is the best way to be treated well by any Parisian.
Also, I have stayed in Airbnb for many years alone and never had a problem, especially one of an intruder trying to access the apt I rented. I am a single woman and have had only safe , wonderful experiences in Paris.
You are correct in all your advice mostly.