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Paris is one of the most popular cities in the world and for good reason! It is full of world-class attractions and great food. Paris is also great for solo travellers! But there are a few important things to know before you take a solo trip to Paris.
Taking a solo trip to Paris is a great introduction to solo travel. It is (mostly) safe, English is widely spoken, and it is easy to get around. But that doesn’t mean it is always smooth sailing. Travelling alone in Paris can be overwhelming at times, but if you know the 10 tips in this article, your solo trip to Paris will be nothing short of amazing!
You will learn how to save money in Paris, how to stay safe, and how to avoid the crowds.
It is all important information for any tourist visiting Paris, but it is extra important for people visiting Paris alone.
You are 100% responsible for your and your trip and don’t have anybody to rely on. That’s not a bad thing though! In fact, it is one of my favourite parts of solo travel!
Be sure to give number 6 a good read. It is really important!
1. Eat Outside Main Tourist Hubs
This could be generic advice for any city, but it is even more important advice for Paris.
The restaurants around major tourist attractions should be avoided at all costs!
They are painfully overpriced and tend to serve barely edible food (from my experience).
Restaurants around Notre Dame, the Louvre, and especially the Eiffel Tower should be avoided unless you want to pay three times more for a bad meal.
It can be tempting to just pop into the closest restaurant but resist the urge!
You are way better off walking 10 or 15 minutes away from the attraction or eating in the neighbourhood near your accommodation than eating at restaurants near tourist attractions.
I know you’re hungry, tired, and alone in Paris, but grab a quick snack and head over to a more local restaurant.
That’s where you’ll find the French food everybody raves about!
Disclaimer: This is a general statement. I’m sure there are some restaurants next to tourist attractions that are great. These are the exception and not the norm. If you want to dine with a view of that tourist attractions, be sure to research a decent spot beforehand and don’t just show up and pick a restaurant at random.
2. Free Wifi is Hard to Find
It pains me to tell you this, but free public wifi in Paris is hard to find.
There isn’t a city-wide public wifi system like there is in Taiwan, so it is up to each individual location to decide whether or not to provide guests with complimentary wifi.
And most places choose not to.
I haven an entire post about wifi in Paris you can read here.
It goes in-depth about where you can find complimentary wifi in Paris and some tips to help you find free wifi.
But just know that if you don’t have a Skyroam or similar product, you will be without wifi for the majority of the time you’re out exploring Paris.
I wish free public wifi was more prevalent in Paris, but we aren’t that lucky (yet).
Please Promise Me You’ll be Internet Safe!
One of my top goals in the travel-sphere is to bring more awareness to the need to be internet safe when travelling!
You need to protect yourself and your online data/privacy when you use public wifi networks.
Anybody can access public wifi networks (yes even hotel wifi and public wifi networks that are password protected).
While 99.99999% of people who access public wifi networks are average people like you, there are a few people that have bad intentions.
You do not want to leave your online information exposed to people who may want to steal it.
Seriously! You do not want to deal with trying to freeze a bank account while abroad because someone stole your information when you could have easily protected yourself.
The only way to protect yourself when using public wifi networks is to install a VPN on your devices.
A VPN essentially puts a forcefield around your devices and cloaks them.
It makes using a public wifi network as safe as using your private home wifi where you’re the only person who knows the password.
There is no excuse for not spending a few dollars a month to protect your online data and privacy with a VPN.
If you can afford to travel, you can afford to protect your online information!
My Favourite VPN
I’ve used a lot of different VPNs in my day and canceled all but one of them after the first year.
VPNs are notorious for slowing down your phone, tablet, or laptop.
Most VPNs are so slow that I end up turning them off and just using my devices without them. Which, of course, leaves me open to having my information stolen.
That cycle of slow VPNs and frustration ended when I found NordVPN!
It is the fastest VPN on the market, and you barely notice a difference in the speed.
You also have the ability to change your location in the app and make it seem like you’re in a different country. This allows you to access the Netflix library from that country and watch shows and movies you don’t normally have access to!
I honesty love my NordVPN. It is the only VPN I’ve used and actually enjoyed.
Plus the monthly subscription fee is less than that cost of a latte, so there is no excuse not to get one!
Oh. You can also protect up to six devices with a single subscription!
3. Pick Pockets are Everywhere
Solo travellers are often targeted by pick pockets, and Paris is known for being a city where pick pocketing is a major issue.
It is so important when you’re alone in Paris to be aware of your surroundings and watch out for potential pick pocketers.
Easier said than done though!
The pick pocketing game has gotten pretty advanced. A lot of the times you don’t even realize that someone is trying to pick pocket you.
And that is where so many people get in trouble.
I’m not saying you have to do anything extreme to protect yourself from potential pick pocketers. Nor am I suggesting that a lot of Parisians are bad.
Pick pocketing happens in every major city. With Paris being such a huge tourist hub, it just makes sense that pick pocketing is increasingly becoming more and more of a problem.
Here are a few quick tips to help you avoid getting pick pocketed:
- Don’t leave money or valuables in a place where they are easy for someone to quickly grab
- Keep your purse (if you have one) as close to the front of your body as possible. If you’re carrying it on your side near your back pocket, it is super easy for people to quickly grab something out of it without you knowing. (Trust me- I’ve had it happen to me before!)
- Don’t keep your cash all in one place. If you have your money in multiple locations, even if you do get pick pocketed, you don’t lose everything.
- Occasionally look behind you. Pick pocketers normally approach from behind. A slight glance back once in a while can deter potential pick pocketers from targeting you.
- Pay attention to signs. A lot of tourist attractions have signs warning you that it is a popular place for pick pocketers to target. When you see one of those signs, be extra cautious and be even more aware.
Again, pick pocketing happens in every city in the world, and this isn’t just an issue in Paris.
You should always be as aware of your surroundings as possible when you travel alone.
But I couldn’t let you plan a solo trip to Paris without warning you about pick pocketing and giving you some tips!
4. Book Tickets Online in Advance
If you’re not keen on standing outside in a long line, then it is in your best interest to purchase attraction tickets online in advance.
I know it takes some of the spontaneity out of your solo trip to Paris, but it is well worth it.
No matter what time of year you visit Paris, the major tourist attractions are always busy, and there is always a line to get in.
I’m not talking about a short line either. You can wait well over an hour even during off-peak times.
Tickets to the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, and Versailles should be purchased in advance.
It is such a nice feeling walking past the long line of people waiting to purchase tickets and get right into the attraction!
During peak season (a.k.a. summer and spring break), you need to purchase your tickets well in advance. Perhaps even up to a month in advance.
You don’t need to plan too far in advance if you’re visiting Paris alone during off-peak season.
3 to 7 days in advance should be sufficient for most tourist attractions, but that isn’t a guarantee.
The earlier you can purchase tickets, the better.
The longer you wait to purchase tickets, the less choice you have. You may not get the time slot you want, but any time slot is better than waiting in the normal line!
I know one of the exciting parts of planning a solo trip to Paris is being adventurous and doing whatever you want.
But I highly recommend buying tickets in advance for the most popular attractions and being as spontaneous as you want the rest of the time.
Also, think how dreadfully boring it would be to stand in a long ticket line alone without another human to chat with!
5. Paris is More Walkable than it Seems
You might not realize it, but Paris is a fairly walkable city!
I certainly did not realize that the first time I visited Paris and spent too much time and money on the metro when I could have walked places!
You can walk from Notre Dame to the Louvre in less than 20 minutes or from the Eiffel Tower to the Champs-Elysées in less than 25 minutes.
Not many people talk about how walkable Paris is, so most tourists don’t realize they can walk between sights and rarely use the metro if they plan their trip strategically.
I love walking when I travel. It is the perfect way to see different parts of a city that you wouldn’t see if you took public transportation everywhere.
Walking is especially fun when you’re visiting Paris alone!
You can wander as quickly or slowly as you want, stop to take as many photos as you want, and pop into any café that has a delectable pastry you can’t pass up!
So strap on your best walking shoes and plan to walk the city when you’re planning your solo trip to Paris.
One of the best parts of Paris is how beautiful it is!
You never know what you’ll stumble on when you’re walking from one attraction to the next!
6. But it Can be Sketchy at Night
I’ve been all over the world and normally feel pretty comfortable walking alone at night. I never feel as comfortable as I do during the day, but most of the time I can find my way home without my heart pumping out of my chest.
There are a few exceptions to that though (including my home city of Edmonton), and, unfortunately, Paris is one of them.
It isn’t that it isn’t safe to walk alone in Paris at night.
You just might feel a little uneasy.
I can’t explain why. It isn’t like the city changes, but it just has an eerie feeling to it when you’re not a local.
But tourists can often feel more on alert than normal when walking in Paris when it is dark. Keep your wits about you, keep your head on a swivel, and you should be safe.
Just be sure to avoid dark alleys. 😉
I’ve talked to a lot of other travellers who have had the same experience.
I’m by no means trying to deter you from being out at night and having the solo trip to Paris of your dreams.
The night might just be the time to hop on the metro to get home rather than walking.
7. Save on Metro Tickets
Paris is a walkable city, but you’ll still be using the metro system.
It is unavoidable!
The metro in Paris is decently priced and certainly more affordable than London!
But there is still a way to save a little money and time!
I recommend you picking up a Carnet when in Paris. It is a book of ten metro tickets that can be used inside central Paris.
The book lowers the cost of each ticket, so you save some money!
It also saves you a lot of time!
You don’t have to stand in line at a ticket counter or machine to purchase a ticket every time you use the metro.
That is annoying, and the ticket lines can be painfully long. Especially during rush hour or during peak tourist times!
Grab a Carnet the first time you use the metro and just pull a ticket out of the book every time you hop on the metro.
This is a lesser known tip, but it can be a life saver.
I also think this is a fun tip people visiting Paris alone. Sometimes the times notice that they’re travelling alone the most are quiet moments like buying a metro ticket.
You’re waiting in a line and don’t have anyone to talk to, and it can feel a bit uncomfortable or awkward at times.
Purchasing your metro tickets in bulk totally eliminates that possibility, and I think that’s pretty cool!
Plus it means you have a better chance of catching that train before it leaves and not have to wait for the next one! 😉
8. Have Cash on Hand
You can navigate Paris pretty well with just a credit card, but you should still have some cash on hand.
It is a safety precaution in the event your credit card is stolen or your bank has to freeze your account.
It also comes in very handy when making small purchases.
Some street food vendors don’t even accept credit cards, and it would be a shame to miss out on a Crêpe just because you didn’t have a little cash on hand.
I like to exchange some money before I arrive in Europe. I don’t have to hunt for an ATM, and I don’t have to risk paying high ATM fees.
France uses the Euro, so even if you don’t use all the cash you bring to Paris, there is ample opportunity to keep it and use it next time you’re in Europe!
How much cash you should have depends on how long you solo trip to Paris is, your spending habits, and how much you intend to use your credit card.
Don’t forget about the currency conversion and potential pesky foreign transaction fees! It may be beneficial to rely more on cash than cards while in Paris.
I recommend having no less than €50 cash when you visit Paris.
And because you’re travelling to Paris alone, you probably want to have even more cash than that!
You are, again, 100% responsible for everything.
If you lose your bank card, it is on you to figure out how to survive. Since the Euro is so widely accepted, it doesn’t hurt to have a little more cash than you think you need!
9. Make Time for a Day Trip
It is so important to take the time and take a day trip from Paris.
Paris is such a small part of France, and it is a shame if you don’t get to see a different part of the country. Even if it is only an hour outside of Paris!
Some people (especially if they’re new to solo travel) may find it intimidating to take a day trip outside Paris.
You have to pick a place, figure out how to get there, find your way around once you arrive, and get yourself back to Paris.
It can seem like a lot of work and effort!
But it is so worth it!
If you’re a big kid like me, you may want to check out Disneyland Paris! I even have an entire post on visiting Disney alone you may want to check out.
No matter where you choose to go, I highly, highly, highly recommend you take a day trip outside of Paris.
You get to see a nice part of France and build up and exercise those solo travel skills!
10. Accommodation will Kill Your Budget
One of the worst parts about solo travel is that you’re 100% responsible for every expense.
You don’t have a travel buddy to split the cost of accommodation with, and that is honestly one of the most painful parts of travelling alone in Paris.
Paris is a popular city in Western Europe, so it makes sense that accommodation isn’t inexpensive.
But it still hurts!
It can be difficult to find decent budget-friendly accommodation in central Paris when planning a solo trip to Paris.
Hostels are an option, but they will still run you about €50 a night for someplace worth staying. Plus not everybody (me included) enjoy staying in hostels.
I don’t really have any tips to help you out with this one. I just want to make you aware before you commit to a solo trip to Paris that accommodation will eat up a large portion of your budget.
While I don’t have any tips to help you save money on your accommodation, I will say that I think it is worth spending an appropriate amount of money on your accommodation.
Accommodation is not the place to cheap out!
I think it is worthwhile spending a little bit more on a room in a safe area in central Paris.
You don’t want to stay in the suburbs and spend over an hour every morning and evening commuting to and from the city.
You also don’t want to pick the cheapest place in central Paris.
It pays to spend some extra money per night to feel safe and comfortable.
There is hardly anything worse than staying in a place you don’t feel comfortable or safe. It destroys your sleep and raises your anxiety.
Trust me. I’ve cheaped out on too many accommodations over the years. Learn from my experience and book a place to stay that is in a decent area and you think looks safe.
How I Book Hotels
I personally use Hotels.com to book 90% of my hotels/hostels.
They have a great rewards program that gives you a free night’s stay after staying 10 nights at hotels you book through their website.
Hotels.com also has a great search function and competitive prices.
I find it easy to use. Even if you only use it to browse for hotels and book on another site, I think they make searching for hotels super easy.
Paris is a fantastic city.
Travelling to Paris alone is very easy, and you don’t need to be an experienced solo traveller to plan a solo trip to Paris and have a good time!
English is widely spoken, it is easy to get around, and the only trouble you’re likely to run into is some petty crime.
But you know how to protect yourself from that now!
If you’re thinking about planning a solo trip to Paris and just aren’t quite sure yet, I hope this post helped you decide whether or not Paris is the right choice for your solo trip.
I think it is a great European destination for solo travel!
I think you’ll have an amazing solo trip to Paris if you take the leap and book that trip!