Paris is a prime destination on the travel wish lists for many people. While writing about Paris these past two weeks several readers shared their fears with me that they may never visit the City of Light because they have no one to go with. My advice is “Go Alone.” I can almost hear the shocked responses already. Most will probably fall along the lines of “Easy for you to say….” I’ll let you in on a little secret, all of the Parisian experiences that I have written about these past few weeks I did….ALONE. And, I loved it.
(My French adventures with my cousin will begin this next week when we head to…Monet’s Garden.)
Paris is beautiful and wonderful but be forewarned that the popular sight seeing spots are generally crowded by mid morning continuing on until early evening. I often find that the magical hours in Paris occur in the early morning. There still is enough hustle and bustle, as people prepare for the day, that you feel safe. It is the perfect time to capture photos without a million other people in them.
As the shop owners hose down their sidewalks there are special moments you will encounter and possibly capture only as an early riser such as these Jewish men heading to temple.
The locals are fresh from a good nights sleep and are happy to provide directions, offer helpful hints or play a song just for you.
When traveling alone in Paris a more intimate experience can be had. Instead of being distracted by group conversation you see little things that perhaps you might not otherwise notice. A good example is this door handle on a restaurant I was walking past. A glimmer caught my eye and I stopped. After a closer inspection I found that it was created by soldering copper pot lids together. The French are so clever. I’m so happy to have not missed such delight.
A huge benefit of traveling in Paris alone is that a chair for one (table or concert seat) is often quite easy to find.
Yes, I also dine alone. I normally have a guide book to read, photos to review on my camera or notes to jot down which keep me occupied and not looking forlorn at the table. On one occasion, while having a bit of afternoon tea, my darling waiter said “Vous êtes un écrivain! (You are a writer!)” “Oui (Yes)” I replied. Our delightful conversation continued in a mix of French and English.
He wanted to know what I wrote and I explained that I was an interior designer who loved to travel and often shared my adventures on a blog. He then said, “You must come upstairs with me. They just refurbished the private dining space.” I can say for certain that this opportunity would not have happened if I had had a table mate. I could tell you of many more similar experiences that I have had over the years. But please know that being by oneself opens doors to magical experiences you might not otherwise have.
(I now am desperate for peacock walls enhanced with fabric trim paired with leopard carpeting!)
But of course there are doors you should not enter. Safety is always first. There was no danger present in the situation above. But one must always be aware of their surroundings. I try to return to my hotel or rented apartment before the sun sets in the evening. As my days start early, and there is generally quite a bit of walking involved, this is not a sacrifice. If I do go out for a evening meal I travel to a well lit location close by or hire a taxi to take me door to door.
I mentioned before in my packing post that I prefer to use a cross body bag that zips closed. Thieves prefer flaps and buttons as access is easier. I also keep my bag in front of me when riding on the subway or walking through crowds. This photo was taken by an American couple that first asked if I would take their photo and entrusted me with their expensive camera. Weighing the situation, (they had a small child in a stroller, so probably would not outrun me :) I felt confident to do the same.
There was only one occasion that I felt uncomfortable during my latest visit to Paris. The gypsies are famous for working in pairs. While one distracts you by asking a question another will swoop in and lift your wallet. They use different guises such as asking you if you have lost something, perhaps while holding out an expensive watch. In my case I was admiring the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall) and was approached by a women with a clipboard wanting to ask me questions. Each situation can seem innocent enough if you aren’t paying attention. I caught the eye of a man close by who instantly made me wary. I told her “No, thank you” and began to walk away. She re approached me a bit more aggressively and I looked her in the eye and VERY firmly said “No!” Both individuals immediately moved on. Even though I’m small they knew I meant business.
Keeping safety in mind, seeing Paris by yourself can be bliss. The opportunity affords you time to smell whatever roses you wish.
So what are you waiting for?
This post is part of the ongoing Décor To Adore Summer Travel Series 2014. You can find all of the posts located on the sidebar of the blog under the June archives.
Between Naps On The Porch, Classy Clutter, A Stroll Thru Life, Not Just A Housewife, A Bowl Full of Lemons, We Are That Family,Someday Crafts,The 36th Avenue, Ivy and Elephants, Savvy Southern Style, Katherine’s Corner, Posed Perfection,Craftberry Bush, Stonegable, Jennifer Rizzo, Country Cottage, The Shabby Nest, Imparting Grace,My Romantic Home,The Charm of Home,Tatertots and Jello, Funky Junk Interiors, My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia,The Dedicated House