June 29, 2023

My Solo Trip to Paris

If there is something about travel that I know for certain, it’s to go with the flow, at least as much as you can. We all have our threshold of tolerance, but the ups and downs of travel can really weigh on you if you’re not careful, easily ruining a hard-earned travel adventure. The word “adventure” could be the theme for most of my travels, because each trip is so different. Whenever you decide you want to go somewhere new, or even somewhere familiar, there is a chance that there will be shifts in schedule, illness, or surprise comes up. What does all of this have to do with my solo trip to Paris? Everything. My husband and I had planned a trip to Paris, only to discover that he wasn’t able to leave on our scheduled departure date due to logistics. France had some different rules than the USA regarding vaccination shots, and it was only the week before that we found out he couldn’t fly with me. There was no way I was delaying my trip, so we decided to re-book his ticket, extend the trip on the back end, and I got to take my first solo trip to Paris. Win-win-win.
How My Adventures Were Beginning

The Adventure Begins

Since I’ve traveled abroad alone before, I wasn’t nervous at all. The language “barrier” was a tiny bit concerning, but I brushed up on some key phrases, packed my favorite travel items, and headed to the airport. As I said in my first paragraph, consider your travels as extraordinary adventures with all kinds of twists and turns. It also helps to be fully prepared with your favorite travel items for a long flight. You will be much less distressed when, say, your original premium seat that you paid for is suddenly downgraded to main cabin. And you get stuck in the seat on the smaller plane next to the man you were watching at the gate literally lose his mind because he was also downgraded. If you can just view these hiccups as part of the spirit of adventure, your solo trip to Paris will be off to a good start. My attitude was not poor, surprisingly, despite this sorry turn of events. Why? I was about to be in one of my favorite cities in the world, on my own for a few glorious days. Wait until I tell you how it went. It’s where the term “making lemons out of lemonade” really comes into play.

My Room Inside My Host's Residence

Bed and Breakfasts in Paris - HA!

My flight touched down at Charles DeGaulle airport sometime in the morning. I had booked a room in the Marais (my favorite neighborhood in Paris thus far) at a bed and breakfast. The directions were odd, I was dropped off by the cab on a tiny street, and hauling a larger suitcase up and down, up and down. The host that I was staying with couldn’t understand what was so difficult about finding her personal apartment (because that is what my accommodations were, not a bed and breakfast), and came down to retrieve me. For future reference, bed and breakfasts really do not exist in Paris. If you see one, run the other way. Alas, this room located within this person’s personal residence was my home for the next several days. I made do, despite my regrets upon meeting her. Again, part of the adventure. I won’t dwell on this piece of the trip too long, but I do recommend a boutique hotel in the future. I recommend it to you and to myself.
Daryl and Me - Post Massage

Beautiful Flower Shop in Paris

Change Those Old Underwear and Plane Clothes

While I was hot to trot to start discovering Paris again, I decided it best to rest a bit and shower. Staying in stale underwear and plane clothes is gross, so I made quick work of showering and freshening up. After I got my new delicious and clean look, I began hoofing it around the Marais. One of the restaurants my host suggested was one I found to be quite lovely and delicious: L’Ange 20. A table for one, I ordered onion soup as an appetizer, and lamb with haricots as my entree. I devoured the entire thing, as well as getting dessert. Starting off the trip with a healthy appetite and zest for the finer things is what I’m all about. I’m so thankful to have gotten that meal in, because my next dinner was going to be quite the opposite. Suspense!

Stunning Gates Near Saint Chapelle

A Little Bonjour and Merci Go a Long Way

I love roaming around Paris on my own, with no agenda and no one else interjecting an agenda. A person obviously has to enjoy this sort of independence, and for me, it’s like a gift to myself. My walks are filled with wonder, awe, and delight. Turning down random streets when I see something photographable is one of my favorite things to do. At times I got shy about going into shops and trying to communicate, but overall Parisians are open to helping you if you just try a little with the language. A simple “bonjour” or “merci” goes a long way with them, and that puts the situation at ease. Many speak English, which is a huge benefit, and are willing to help how they can. Am I convincing you yet to take a solo trip to Paris? I hope so.

Me at Cafe St Regis

No More Crevettes

One of the best things about Paris is how safe I feel everywhere, even late at night. On my second night there, I attended an evening mass at a church located across the Seine from where I was staying. Afterwards, I walked back, and this would’ve been in the almost 9 pm timeframe. I still hadn’t eaten dinner! Another benefit of traveling alone is you can eat whenever the hell you want. I love eating later in the days, especially in an energetic city like Paris. There is nothing like being out and about in the later hours of the evening, watching the city come to life on almost any night of the week. It’s truly a magical place to be on your own. Back to my late-night dinner, I popped into a restaurant called Robert & Louise, found the last seat at the bar, and devoured enough food for 3 people. It ended up being a regrettable decision, as I believe I got food poisoning from the crevettes. It was a humbling experience. The entire night was spent hanging over a toilet bowl and hydrating in between. Yes, the adventures just keep coming.

Notre Dame is Looking Good!

I Laugh in the Face of Food Poisoning

The sickness knocked me down for most of the next day, but I managed to get a little food in me and set about walking. In fact, I ended up walking more miles that day than any other that trip. I’m pretty sure I would be damned to let a simple thing like food poisoning spoil my solo trip to Paris. Pun intended. Paris has the most beautiful architecture, gardens galore, and bridges for days. I couldn’t have been more pleased than to walk through that city at a slower pace and take it all in. Stopping where I wanted to stop, photographing what I wanted to photograph. These are treasures when you decide to go it alone on a trip. Solo travel is all around good for the soul. Even though it can be uncomfortable, it’s worth every ounce of discomfort because it’s healing and gives you time with the best person in your life: you. So, another day, another hiccup. It’s just how travel goes.

At the Tuileries

Shopping the Day Away

A favorite activity to do when I travel is to shop for some local flair. Since Le Bon Marche is a large department store with tons of designers and shops, I thought it would be an efficient way to grab some items I “needed.” I hit the Sezane section and bought a few items, got myself some Jimmy Fairly sunglasses that I adore, and grabbed an item for a friend at Estee Lauder that is not sold in the US. Setting up, and knocking down. Since Sezane is a brand that is hard to find in the US, I hit their other stand-alone store in a different location and, of course, bought more clothes there. The best part? No one was watching the clock to see if I was done and how much the bill was. Solo travel in general is just the best. While I love a trip with others, I also love a solo trip. The freedom is immense.

Time for My Solo Trip to Paris to End

After all my jaunts around town, and my recovery from the food poisoning, it was time for my husband to meet me. His vaccine had kicked in and Paris was ready to welcome him. That trip was a fabulous combination of solo and coupled. Because I own my business and get to set my hours, combining trips like this gives me the opportunity to flex my creativity muscle and desire for solitude for a bit. It’s enjoyable to be met after experiencing a place alone so you can share the highlights. Or knock out what you want to do while you’re on your own (like shopping) and do the things like climb the Eiffel Tower together. If you’re in the market for a solo trip to Paris, I highly recommend making it happen. It’s the perfect place to get to know yourself better and enjoy a city that exceeds the expectations. Merci for reading, and au revoir for now.

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