The Ultimate Guide for your first solo trip to Paris

Maria James

When I first moved to Paris, I was excited to finally live it up as a twenty-something without my parents. But the reality quickly sank in when I realised all the logistics: finding an apartment, navigating public transportation and grocery shopping! But after my first solo trip, I knew that this is what life is about. You can’t expect to see or learn everything when you’re stuck with someone else. So I decided to embark on my own solo trip abroad!

While many of you may think that a solo trip would be a waste of time, trust me, it’s not! It’s essential for your independence and personal growth. Also, Paris is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I hope you’ll be excited to take your first solo trip by the end of this guide!

Before I get into my main ideas, let me give you a few valuable tips:

  • The metro map is not well-designed, so I recommend downloading the Google Transit map. It has route lines, colour coding, and even gives directions for the bus.
  • It’s essential to pack light. You never know what the weather will be like. I wouldn’t bring heels, especially if you’re on weekend travel!
  • Always carry a small package of tissues if you need to clean up. Especially if you’re walking all day, you’ll want to keep your nose and hands clean!
  • If you’re out sightseeing at night, it’s very important to have some sort of light. Whether that be a phone light or keychain flashlight (I personally use this one from Amazon).
  • It’s also essential to have a little lip balm with you. You can really tell the quality of the weather by your lips, and this is something that will keep you moisturised!
  • Bring a rain jacket for a little extra protection. Paris can be rainy, so this is very important.
  • If you are staying away from home for 4 consecutive days, it’s better to go on the first day and leave from the airport at 6PM, so you don’t have to wait in lines at the airport.
  • When flying into Paris, getting a ticket for a later flight is very important. You can leave earlier if you need to.
  • Before going on your first solo trip, ensure your textbooks are ready and packed. This will save thousands of Euros!

RELIGION:   Things are pretty open in Paris regarding religion, but I have a few favourite churches: Notre Dame Cathedral, Saint Chapelle, Sacre Coeur Basilica and the Eglise de la Madeleine. These are packed with beautiful art and unique architecture because they were built to be used as royal Chapels.

If it’s on Sunday, I’ll visit one of these places. If it’s fast-paced and I need to get somewhere that day, I’ll take the Métro.

SHOPPING:   If you’re like me, you are somewhat obsessed with shopping. I love shopping at art markets the most because there are so many unique pieces and ways to express your own creativity.

I usually make too many stops along the way, so I don’t get lost in the city! I recommend staying on a metro line for a few stops or taking a bus or RER.

I usually visit the Place du Trocadéro, Galeries Lafayette (sometimes I go to the one at Les Halles) and La Grande Epicerie. I also sometimes stop by Printemps or Galeries Lafayette Haussmann .

There is a lot of beautiful art in Paris… if you’re willing to pay for it! So be sure to check out these places: Centre Pompidou ; Musée d’Orsay   and Musée de l’Orangerie.

I highly recommend going to at least one of these places because they all have different types of art and architecture. The only costly thing is the entrance fee… some are free on certain days. I love to take boat rides as I booked by Seine River Tour, which includes day food and wine.

If you’re looking for something to do in the evening, you can try a wine tour. I’ve heard that this is a great way to educate yourself about French wines, and it’s a lot more cost-effective than buying the wine itself! There are also plenty of sites that offer guided tours of Paris. But I would only recommend those if the weather is terrible.

MUSEUMS:   Paris has a ton of awesome museums… but you have to get there early! I’ve gotten to the Louvre as early as 4AM and only had 10 other people in front of me in line! This is amazing because hundreds of people usually lined up before it opened.

I usually don’t go to many museums on my own because it takes a lot more time than going on my own. But I have found a few favourites:

  • Musee d’Orsay   (if you like art)
  • Musee de l’Erotism e (for a laugh)
  • Musée de l’Orangerie (purely because of the fantastic sculptures)

If you’re looking for a guided tour, I recommend taking a Louvre Museum Tour.

CULTURAL ATTRACTIONS:   Paris has a lot of free museums. You just have to be willing to walk around a lot. You can either go to the Louvre, Musée Picasso (free access from 7-9PM on Fridays) or Musée Rodin.

Suppose you’re looking for something smaller and more local. In that case, I recommend walking through Jardins du Luxembourg or taking a tour of the Catacombs.

Finally, if you have time and are willing to spend a little money… I recommend a night out at the Moulin Rouge or Crazy Horse. I’ve done both, and they are tons of fun. Just be sure you know what you’re getting into because there are a lot of tourists!

FOOD:   Paris has my favourite food in the world! Regarding eating out, it’s extremely important to do your research. Google and TripAdvisor are your best friends when finding good food.

I usually go to a bakery for breakfast and get a croissant and hot chocolate. I’ll usually take my book for lunch and head to a park or the river to read. I usually take my own lunch or buy something small.

Most people post how good Paris is based on what they’ve experienced and what areas they enjoy. I don’t do this… but I can’t say I wouldn’t want to live there!

Living in Paris for a few months would be awesome. But it’s such a HUGE city with many different sights to see, experiences, and things to do.

So many people say, “If you like cheese… then you’ll like Paris.


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