The first time I ever traveled to Paris, I went solo. It was a life changing experience for me. I discovered quite a bit about myself in those ten days. I learned to be comfortable in my own skin, overcame the fear of eating alone, practiced quite a bit of French and filled up parts of my soul I never knew were empty. The other wonderful thing that happened was that I put myself out there. I chatted up the locals, I was able to observe and take in things that I would have overlooked had I been engaged with a traveling companion. All of these things helped me to see myself and the city of Paris in a totally different light.
I am a huge fan of women traveling solo, as long as they keep their wits about them and choose a safe location. I think every woman should try it at least once. I can’t think of a better city to travel solo in than Paris.
I’d like to share what would be a perfect solo day in the City of Light.
Upon waking very early, I’d fling open my floor length windows in my hotel, lean out over my balcony and breathe in that sweet Paris air.
With my camera and journal at hand, I’d set out to stroll the streets before the rest of Paris was awake, getting lost in the back streets or near the Seine. I would spend some time snapping photos as the sun rises and I would watch the city come to life.
When my hunger pangs kick in, it would be time for breakfast at my favorite neighborhood cafe, that I would frequent every morning. Here, I would have already established a relationship with the barista – so he would greet me with a melodic “Bonjour!” and proceed to serve my typical French breakfast – a warm croissant and a cafe crème. Relocating to an outside table on the terrace, I’d watch the Parisians strut by and write in my journal to my heart’s content.
A visit to the Musée Rodin would be my next stop. I’d spend a few hours wandering the floors in this intimate museum, mingling with Balzac, The Thinker or perhaps my favorite – the clasped hands. After touring the museum, a visit to the lovely garden would be in order.
A short walk away is the Rue Cler, which is a street lined with shops and markets and here I would gather the makings of a picnic lunch – wine, cheese, fruit, bread and perhaps some chocolate as a treat. I’d stroll to the Eiffel Tower, plop myself on the Champ du Mars and spread out my picnic lunch and eat in peace. A little snooze on the lawn would be a great way to rejuvenate for what comes next.
No day in Paris would be complete without macarons and the ones at Ladurée are some of the best. And though I would love to sit down and enjoy my treats, I just can’t resist their fabulous French packaging, so I’d have to take mine to-go.
About this time, money would be burning a hole in my pocket, and there is something so charming about the tiny shops on the île Saint-Louis. This quaint little neighborhood is a quiet oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the city. I would practice the art of window shopping at the galleries, gourmet food shops and boutiques. A little scoop of salted butter caramel ice cream at the famed Berthillon would be my reward for such hard work.
A quick trip across the Pont de la Tournelle would bring me over to the left bank where the Bouquinistes would be waiting for me. I’d spend a little time leafing through the rare old books, pictures, postcards, magazines and other French memorablia.
A perfect spot for an early evening aperitif would be the nearby Kiosque Flottant, which happens to be a floating barge that sits atop the Seine and offers lovely views of Notre Dame.
A late dinner would most likely be a simple meal at a traditional Paris bistro.
My day would end with an evening stroll along the Seine. I’d pause on a bridge to see monuments like the Eiffel Tower, Hotel de Ville and Notre Dame shining brightly in the night sky while taking in the splendor and grandeur of a city I fell deeply in love with.
Note: All photos used in this post are copyright Robin Locker.
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Robin (@MyMelange) is a Travel Consultant, a freelance travel writer and photographer with a passion for France, Italy, food and travel. On her blog, My Melange, she shares a mix of those passions while offering up tips for traveling on a budget.