Solo travel Paris sounds crazy right?
I get it. Traveling to Paris alone and conquering solo female in Paris are two things that don’t match the mystique that surrounds this enchanting city.
Paris, France has a reputation for being one of the world’s most romantic cities; a stereotype that has been accentuated by such cartoon icons as my good old friend Pepe LePue, who was a lover and a skunk with a distinctly French accent.
Coincidence? I think not.
So it should come as no surprise that when I hear the word “Paris”, Paris solo travel doesn’t really come to mind.
Images of couples holding hands and smoking cigarettes along the Seine, mystically dance through my head.
Or even worse:
My mind conjures up thoughts of the love lock tradition. You know, the one where a couple buys a lock, fastens it on a bridge, and then throws the lock in the Seine so that their love will last forever? Yeah super cute, if I could just find my knight in shining armor and wasn’t doing solo travel Paris style.
Dude, did you get lost? Use your GPS to find this Paris solo female traveler.
But alas, I have not found my prince who is probably not so charming. That’s why all this love and romance talk while doing solo female travel Paris, had me a little bummed.
Okay, in fairness my solo trip to Paris wasn’t that bad.
And as my time alone in Paris went on, I started to realize that I can enjoy solo female travel in Paris. Heck, I even begin to love traveling to Paris alone, and it wasn’t because I was trolling along the locks of love bridge, looking for Mr. Right Now.
I saw Paris as my partner in crime. I mean, this is an iconic city that is full of beauty, history, and an intriguing amount of charm. With all that Paris has to offer, I was swept away by the intangible magic of this city and the plethora of sites that won’t make you run for the hills, screaming, “Make all the overtly romantic gestures stop and enough with all the PDA. For the love of God, can someone please play all the single ladies, stat.”
That’s why I created a Paris solo itinerary that won’t force you to binge watch romantic comedies on Netflix while sobbing into a gallon jug of ice cream, 2 boxes of chocolate, and an assortment of fresh, gourmet French pastries and macarons.
These are the sites that don’t suck while exploring Paris alone. Actually, these places are even better when you’re visiting Paris alone because Paris itself is the only significant other that you really need.
So here’s my abbreviated list of things to do in Paris alone and; a list that is filled with helpful Paris solo travel tips like things to do alone in Paris at night, how to meet solo travelers in Paris, and information about the best hostel in Paris for solo travelers.
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***Planning to backpack Paris or travel solo in Paris? If you’re a solo female traveler in Paris, like me, then be aware that catcalling is a huge problem in Paris. I was literally followed down the Champs Elysees by two men and it was downright scary. Therefore. be cautious and aware of your surroundings at all times. Also, have the police on speed dial just in case you need to quickly call for help. Oh, and you can also check out this handy list of “what not to do in Paris“***
1. The Catacombs
Is there anything LESS romantic than walking through a series of cavernous, underground tunnels, studded with human skulls, and various other human remains?
Exactly, making this the perfect Paris attraction for solo travelers.
Throw in some dark, damp, and uber creepy tunnels and you begin to feel like you are in a horror movie where the serial killer is just wanting to jump out at you while you are innocently listening to your audioguide (insert creepy yet suspenseful horror music here).
Now in case you don’t know what the catacombs are, they are a series of tunnels and quarries that were used to house human remains from the Cemetery of the Innocents when the Cemetery became a source of infection for local residents in 1785..
To address the issue:
The Council of State decided to prohibit further use of the Cemetery and instead, had the brilliant idea of housing these remains in the disused quarries that later became known as the Catacombs.
But the bottom line is that the Catacombs are super fun and interesting. Just make sure that you get the audio guide because some of the information placards are easily overlooked in the dark and cavernous tunnels.
***The catacombs are on the way to the airport so you can explore them before you head home. They also only took
me an hour and a half to go through so a good half day trip.
***You can also shorten your wait by purchasing a Paris Catacombs SKIP THE LINE TICKET. So worth it.
2. Père Lachaise Cemetery
Père Lachaise Cemetery is one of the best sights for females traveling alone in Paris since it’s a beautiful place to take a walk and marvel at the ornate gravestones of the multitude of celebrities buried here.
It’s a cemetery, so you don’t feel this compelling need to hold anyone’s hand. I also love the quaint feel of this picturesque space, with a series of cobbled paths that line an avenue of intricately carved gravestones.
The cemetery is also quite large, at 110 acres and is actually the biggest cemetery in all of Paris.
And while there are many entrances into the cemetery:
I suggest using the main entrance on the Boulevard de Ménilmontant since this is where the cemetery office is. Here you can find such essentials as bathrooms, maps, and even guided tours.
Now I cannot emphasize this enough:
Use the restrooms before you enter the cemetery because there is literally nowhere else to use the bathroom. Trust me, you don’t want to end up like me, ducking and diving behind a bush and a gravestone as copious amounts of tourists filter through the cobbled paths.
Make sure you grab a free map from the administration building since this cemetery is easy to get lost in.
All the most famous graves in the cemetery are labeled on this map. So this means that you can have your own little cemetery style scavenger hunt as you find the final resting place of celebrities like Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, Chopin, etc.
Because some of the graves are difficult to find:
I would plan to spend between two and three hours here, which seems like an eternity (pun intended) but I swear, you won’t be bored to death (Pun intended again. I like to live on the wild side. LoL).
***Be sure to visit the grave of Victor Noir, a journalist who famously died in a duel. Since then, his statue has since become something of a fertility symbol. Due to the naturalistic style of the sculpture, there is a rather prominent fold in Noir’s trousers. It is said that by rubbing this area and leaving a flower in Noir’s hat guarantees that a woman will find a husband within the year.
Another site that is high on my list of things to do while exploring Paris alone is Sainte-Chapelle.
I love it here because I just sit and admire the insanely gorgeous, awe-inspiring assortment of stained glass windows. I just close my eyes and let my soul absorb the peace and serenity that has inhabited these hollow walls.
I had never even heard of this place before I visited Paris. The only cathedral I actually associated with Paris, like everyone else on the planet, was Notre Dame.
I mean, it has a Disney movie named after it so clearly, it is something special, right (Wait, there was a book first by Victor Hugo? Just kidding. I swear I don’t get all my information from Disney movies, just 99% of it. LoL)?
Anyway, moving away from Disney:
What I love about Sainte-Chappelle is that when the sun hits the enormous and amazingly intricate stained glass windows here, the entire building sparkles.
Rainbows burst to life right before your eyes and you don’t know where to turn because there is simply too much beauty to behold. It honestly feels like the walls have been adorned with exotic gemstones that continually pulsate with color.
You’ll be so captivated by the beauty here, that you can’t even miss chatting with anyone. You’ll just be too caught up in reading the biblical tales depicted in these stained glass masterpieces to notice anything else.
***Save some money and purchase a Sainte-Chappelle and Conciergerie combined ticket which is totally worth it. Also visit early in the day to avoid the crowds. After you’re done, be sure to treat yourself to some Berthillon, a sumptuous, french ice-cream. The best Berthillon in Paris is found on the island so be sure to get some while you’re here.***
The Musee d’Orsay is hands down my favorite museum in Paris.
Not only is the museum housed in an exquisite, art-nouveau style railway station, but the paintings here literally take your breath away.
Clearly, I had no problem being alone because if someone was there, I probably would have ignored them since the art here is THAT captivating (One of the best solo trips for females).
But it’s easy to be gobsmacked by the works of such iconic masters as Van Gogh, Monet, and Degas.
This list doesn’t even account for the vast amount of refined sculptures that decorate the ground floor. To say this place is a feast for your eyes is the understatement of the century.
And while the museum is large:
It is not overbearingly so. Therefore, you can see the three floors of the museum in a day, depending on how leisurely you stroll through the artwork. But, I would get there early since the museum does get pretty crowded, especially on Tuesdays and Sundays.
This museum also has a lovely cafe with delightful food and chic decor. The room has tall ceilings, with large windows that allow the sunlight to envelop the topiary beneath.
***To save time, buy your Musee d’Orsay Reserved Access 1-Day Admission ticket before you visit. Because let’s be honest, no one likes waiting in line…EVER.
5. Walk Along the Seine
The rich culture and history of Paris make it a very walkable city, with a multitude of self-guided walking tours that you can experience.
That is why you NEED to walk along the Seine!
It’s mandatory if you come to Paris. Okay, it’s really not but if you don’t marvel at the Seine then you’ll be missing out.
Because if the people are the soul of Paris, then the Seine is the body that they rely on to breath. This river is an intricate part of Parisian culture, both past, and present, and defines who Parisians are and how they spend their time.
Simply stroll along the boulevard, by the river, and watch as people eat cheese and drink wine along the shore (there’s a fair bit of canoodling and cigarette smoking too).
Friends will laugh and rip open crusty pieces of baguette. Heck, you can even stop and get a massage along the river for only €10.
After your massage:
Meander along the shore and watch the boats cruise by. Take in the French way of life as it unfolds right before your eyes.
Shops, restaurants, and beach chairs, with beach umbrellas, all dot the shore and make the river a truly exciting and vivacious place to be.
***We interrupt your regularly scheduled program for a food break! Do you ever feel awkward while eating alone? Yeah, you and me both. To actually enjoy dining alone in Paris, I always recommend sitting at the bar, visiting a food market, or getting a table outside so that you can enjoy watching the people as they stroll by. Personally, some of my favorite restaurants for solo dining in Paris include Le Rigmarole, Clown Bar, Creperie Broceliande, Breizh Cafe, and Marché des Enfants Rouges food market.***
6. Palais de Tokyo
I’m not a HUGE modern art person. I appreciate the concept that anything can be art, but can’t muster seem to muster up the energy to get excited about a piece of rope, lying on the floor, that represents the inexplicable pain of the world’s political refugees.
When I decided to visit the Palais de Tokyo, I didn’t expect much from this Paris hidden gem.
I was gobsmacked (thanks thesaurus) by one of the most unique places in Paris and one of the best modern art museums that I’ve been to.
These exhibitions transport you into a beautifully quirky, dystopian reality where you contemplate your existence in ways you never thought possible.
There is a lovely outdoor restaurant and club area that is poppin’ things to do in Paris alone at night. Is that what the hipsters say? I’m old and crotchety and clueless
Explore the exterior of the museum, behind the main entrance because this is where you’ll get one of the best views of the Eiffel Tower, with the magnificent Seine River in the foreground.
***This museum doesn’t open until 12 pm but closes at 12 am. So if you arrive before it opens, you can come back later or check out the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris right next door.***
***If you want to meet solo travelers in Paris, there are a ton of amazing guided tours throughout Paris, like this Medieval Paris private walking tour.***
7. Laduree: Home to Some of the Best Paris Desserts!
I love Laduree. I know it’s cliche but I can’t help it. Words just fail to express the glorious deliciousness of a freshly baked, rose petal macaron.
Sigh, it tastes how love feels.
Plus, macarons always taste better in France. So consider it your civic duty to try one sine the macaron is basically a French national treasure.
This store is actually the Laduree flagship location (there are eight locations in Paris) and first opened in 1862, which is older than many countries across the globe. Yeah, let THAT sink in.
This store still has an opulent, upstairs tea room where you can sit, relax, and enjoy full table service amidst the charming, pale green, old-world decor that makes you wonder if you actually left your horse and buggy outside.
But if you feel awkward dining alone in Paris:
Not to worry since Laduree has a beautiful assortment of macarons and pastries that you can wrap up, for later, at the to go counter.
8. Musee de Montmartre
One of my favorite stops along my walking tour of Montmartre:
Musee de Montmartre is probably one of the most charming museums that I’ve ever been to since it is housed in a gorgeous, 17th-century manor house that explains the history of this Parisian neighborhood through paintings, documents, and memorabilia that all commemorate Montmartre’s Bohemian past as a haven for brooding artists.
You can even step inside the recreated studio of the famed painter Suzanne Valadon, who lived and worked along with some of the most famous artists of the age like Dali, Picasso, and more (dare I call it a Surreal experience? Get it? Okay, I’ll stop).
My Favorite Part?
The exquisite Renoir Gardens. Not only do you get panoramic views of the surrounding neighborhoods, but you’re also treated to an idyllic garden, filled with charming trees, wooden swings, and narrow, flower-lined walkways that are overgrown with vine encrusted archways.
The most fantastic part is that when you follow the pathway downhill and straight back, you’ll find a not so secret view of the Clos Montmartre vineyards, one of the last operational vineyards in all of Paris (since the vineyards are closed to the public, this is the best view you’ll get).
***If you’re a fan of wine, then you may want to try a cheese and wine walking tour through Marais, one of the prettiest areas in all of Paris. A fantastic way to experience the food culture of this amazing city.***
***If you plan to spend a few days in Paris, then get the Paris Card to help you save money in Paris. There are 2, 3, or 6 day passes that give you “free” entry to over 60 attractions. Free my fanny since you have to pay for the pass.***
9. Walk Along The Promenade Plantee (AKA Coulée Verte René-Dumont)
Since I’m from New York:
I’m a huge fan of the High Line. Maybe you’ve heard of it? LoL. If not, it’s an above ground, railroad track that was transformed into a beloved, walking promenade that is frequented by tourists and locals alike.
What do I NOT like?
The crowds of selfie-stick wielding tourists. So instead of enjoying a leisurely stroll, I feel like I’m being corraled like a herd of cattle.
But this is not the case with Promenade Plantee!
Sure, this park is also an above-ground railway track that was converted into an oasis of greenery but it’s much less crowded than the High Line and was actually created first.
Like way back in the ye olde year of 1993.
So if you’re looking for a gorgeous green space that you can enjoy by yourself, away from the crowds, then look no further than the Promenade Plantee.
***Enjoy railroad tracks? Then check out La Petite Ceinture, a hauntingly beautiful set of abandoned railroad tracks in Paris. ***
10. Discover Unicorns At The Musée Cluny
Let’s hop on the unicorn bandwagon for a moment.
And no, this isn’t another post about where to find the most Instagrammable, unicorn latte.
Instead, the Musée Cluny is a fabulous museum where you can learn all about the origin of unicorns and their historical significance in European society.
This museum is dedicated to all things Medieval and currently (until November 25, 2019) hosts an exhibit that explores the development and significance of unicorn based myths around the world.
An intellectual approach to our continued infatuation with all things unicorn.
At the heart of this exhibit?
A beautiful set of tapestries that are aptly entitled, “The Lady and the Unicorn”, all of which were woven in the 1500s, as society moved from the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance.
This museum is located at the heart of the Latin Quarter, so you can easily explore other top Paris attractions like the Pantheon, Shakespeare and Co. Bookstore, Jardin de Luxembourg, Place St. Michel, Eglise Sulpice, and more.