March 23, 2017 / 15:04
GIRL ABOUT THE GLOBE...
SOLO TRAVEL IN PARIS
It claims to be one of the most romantic cities on Earth and I had chosen to spend five days in the French capital…as a solo.
7 June 2014 Saturday 08:02
It claims to be one of the most romantic cities on Earth and I had chosen to spend five days in the French capital…as a solo. Being the very last stop on my sixteen week tour of Europe, I had hoped that I had saved the best for last.
Paris was somewhere I had dreamed about going for a romantic weekend and having lived just a ferry ride away in the south of England for so long, I really had no excuse not to have visited sooner, except that I was of course – single. Being single and romantic European breaks don’t usually go hand in hand, or so I thought…
Arriving into Paris at night, I felt it – the tingling of excitement as we drove past the Louvre, then the Effiel Tower. The magical feelings that London had once captured, now replaced by the draw of Paris. Okay, so the French accent may have been a plus and the fact that I think French men are the most charming men on the planet but this city was not how I imagined. I had envisaged couples everywhere, kissing at iconic monuments, holding hands in French brasseries and gazing lovingly at each other on boat trips along the River Seine but there were hardly any couples in sight.
What do I love about it?
Everything, but here are my absolute favourite things to do in this amazing city.
In the entertainment district is one of the most famous shows of all, with semi-naked dancers, girls swimming with snakes and a fab ventriloquist to keep you entertained in-between the shows. Did I also mention that you get to drink champagne if you take the package? It’s a treat and a night to remember.
Originally built for the World Exhibition in 1889, the Eiffel Tower was designed to be seen from any viewpoint. Take the elevator up the steel frame for a view of Paris or just watch the tower from afar as it lights up and twinkles across the city on every hour.
Arc de Triomphe
Standing in the centre of a junction known as the Place Charles de Gaulle is the giant Arc de Triomphe, built to honour those who fought for France. Did you know there’s a nightclub underneath it too!
Shop at the Champs-Elysees
One of the most famous avenues in the world. Take some comfortable shoes to walk along the wide boulevards, street cafes and Parisian buildings as the avenue is 2 kilometres long!
It’s not all about the Mona Lisa (which is really small when you get a chance to see it through the crowds). There are so many rooms in this palace that you can spend hours and hours here and if you love art and Roman sculptures, you will literally be in your element. It does get very busy so be prepared to queue or buy advance tickets to save you waiting in line.
Try a Pierre Herme chocolate.
This French pastry chef is famous for his macarons and each year he surprises and surpasses his previous chocolate delicacies with fusions of new flavours such as apricot and pistachio or olive oil and vanilla. Although most people visit Laudree, a famous patisserie along the Champs Elysees, Pierre Herme’s should definitely be tried. (Address – 72 rue Bonaparte).
If you enjoy sculptures then you will love Rodin’s Museum – my favourite sculptor and probably one of the most famous sculptors of our time. The world-renowned works of Auguste Rodin include The Kiss, and The Age of Bronze. Stroll through the sculpture garden for giant sculptures of The Gates of Hell and my favourite; The Thinker.
The most well known of the French Rivers, the river Seine is 800 km long and flows from Dijon in the Alps. A mile and a half of the riverfront is now traffic free with floating gardens. Walk across one of the bridges or take a leisurely boat cruise along it.
Notre Dame Cathedral
Take in the magnificence of this 850 year old cathedral with its unusual, dark columns. I spent hours just wandering around in awe admiring this iconic church. If you’re lucky there may be a service taking place with the dulcet sounds of a French choir boy to mesmorise you, just as it did to me.
The Sacre Coeur is a stunning basilica and one of the most iconic monuments in Paris. Originally built from contributions by Parisian Catholics, the Sacre Coeur is on the top of Montmarte hill, with lots of tourist shops for those Parisian gifts (and prints of the Mona Lisa). A visit here is definitely worth the climb up the hill.
Admire the view
You can’t come to Paris without seeing a panoramic view of the city and there’s a few different places to view the city. I chose to climb the spiral staircase of the Sacre Coeur for just €6. There are 300 steps but the view is absolutely worth it.
Visit the Pere Lachaise Graveyard
Walking around a graveyard may seem like a strange thing to do but I can guarantee you won’t be the only one doing it. It is one of the largest cemeteries in France and with fifteen famous people such as Jim Morrison and Edith Piaf buried here, it is definitely worth the spooky visit. It is huge though and very easy to get lost. I actually spent three hours here and left without seeing the tombstones I had come to see.
Walk around Paris at night
Exploring Paris at night just highlights how amazing this city really is. If you don’t fancy walking around in the evening by yourself then I recommend Discover Walks. Meeting at the Louvre palace, you get the chance to see a different side of the capital and walk around the truly Parisian area of Saint-Germain where the artists and intelligent people hang out.
Five days in this city really isn’t enough. There is SO much to see that you will be walking for hours (so wear comfy shoes).
The conclusion – J’adore Paris! I have totally fallen in love with this city and you really shouldn’t let being alone stop you from travelling here. It’s so easy to get to from the UK with Megabus or Eurolines. Along with London, Shanghai and Dubai, Paris is up there for me.
It’s not often I say this but: Paris, I will be back, only next time, it will definitely be on a romantic break – oh la la.
I travelled to Paris from Munich for my very last stop on my Busabout pass – a hop-on hop-off service which I used for most of Western Europe. The hostel the bus drops you at is St Christopher’s Canal which is a really clean, sociable hostel with your own curtain for extra privacy! I then stayed at The Loft Hostel, a funky boutique hostel with a fab design.
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