Is a weekend in Paris enough to see all the sights on your BUCKiTDREAM planner? Some would say non but we say oui!. It’s even better if you’re going to be in Paris by yourself; who needs a significant other when there are handsome French strangers found on every street to make eyes at and parle francais as best you can?
Even if they don’t want to parle back, that doesn’t mean those traveling alone in this romantic city can’t enjoy all the thrilling attractions Paris has to offer. In fact, Paris is an ideal place to pamper yourself on a weekend break and get in some well deserved ‘me time’.
Without another person in tow, you can linger over a coffee in a sidewalk cafe, people-watch for as long as you like, go shopping or see the museums that appeal to you and you alone. Dining by yourself in Paris at a restaurant is not considered strange at all, but actually kind of mysterious and beguiling to passersby.
Here are our recommendations for things to do on a weekend trip to Paris as a singleton and not feel stared at (or have to wait in a queue).
Stay In a Boutique Hotel
Paris is one of the most overpriced cities in the world when it comes to accommodation; it’s also one of the most popular holiday destinations for…romantic couples. With that firmly in mind, you can still stay in a decent boutique hotel that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg – you just have to do your research and book at least six months in advance. Alternatively, staying in a private Airbnb room can give you more of a local feel plus save you a fair few euro at the same time.
Take In a Few Quirky Museums
While the Louvre is considered a must-see in Paris if you only have a weekend then you’ll want something far less time-consuming. Luckily, Paris has plenty of small, quirky and yes, we’re happy to say, cheaper, museums on hand that won’t suck up most of your precious time (and funds). Here are a couple for starters, but there are lots more if you do your research.
Paris and perfume have been synonymous since the 17th century, so visiting a museum to learn about one of its perfumeries makes perfect sense. Occupying two floors of a 19th-century townhouse on rue Scribe in the 9th arrondissement is the Fragonard Musée du Parfum. It’s chock-full of interesting displays (some inviting interactive sniffing) and historic devices for measuring and testing fragrances. The museum is free and offers guided tours (also free) which exit through the shop where you can sample different perfumes with a view to buying if you wish.
If you’re interested in art and seeing how the other half lived in 18th century Paris then the Musee Jacquemart-Andre will tick both boxes. This mansion-now-museum was the private home of a couple of art collectors and is filled to the brim with their collection of artworks and sculptures and has been lavishly decorated with period furnishings. You can easily dedicate a couple of hours here.
Savor The Pastries
Paris is overrun with incredible patisseries, so make sure you take time out to sample a few of their delicious wares in between sightseeing (just to keep your strength up). You can’t say that you’ve been to Paris unless you’ve dug into a creamy, buttery mille-feuille from La Patisserie des Reves, munched on a macaroon from Paul’s Boulangerie et Patisserie or finished off one (or maybe two?) heavenly crème-filled éclairs from Angelina.
Here are the names of some more recommended patisseries to keep on the tip of your tongue:
- La Grande Epicerie de Paris
- Des Gâteaux et du Pain
- Hugo & Victor
- Jacques Genin
- Un Dimanche à Paris
- Café Pouchkine
- Pierre Hermé
- Jean-Paul Hévin
From brand name clothing on the Champs Elysees to high-end streetwear in the Marais, Paris has something for every kind of shopper. Scheduling in a few hours shopping time over a weekend means you can’t do too much damage to your credit card unless you decide to go on a spree. If a spree is likely, take note that the sales in Paris happen twice a year; January to February and June to August.
If you don’t have a wallet brimming with euro, second-hand opportunity shops and vintage stores might be more your thing and Paris can deliver on those too. Browse at your leisure but don’t touch clothes too much unless you’re somewhere like Guerrisol, a charity shop in avenue de Clichy where you’ll need to dig for a bargain.
For a history lesson with your shopping trip, visit Bon Marche, the oldest department store in Paris, and built by none other than Gustave Eiffel. It has floor upon floor of beauty products, luxury fashion, and accessories. If nothing else, it’s great to just wander around and enjoy the elegant decor.
Explore the Parks and Gardens
With over 400 parks and gardens in Paris, you’re spoiled for choice if you want to take some time out from sightseeing on your solo weekend. Many Parisian parks are historical gems that not only give you a chance to reconnect with nature but will give you a deeper insight into the Paris of times gone by. A top pick would be the Tuileries Gardens for atmospheric value, room to move (it’s over 20 hectares) and its variety of pathways, gorgeous sculptures, and statues. It’s also easily reached if you’re visiting the Louvre or Musée d’Orsay.
For a park to pique the curiosity, then Buttes Chaumont is a charming diversion, created by Napoleon III, with waterfalls, grottos, a lake and an ancient Roman temple. The panoramic views from here are some of the best in Paris.
If the weather’s behaving itself then Belleville Park with its open greenery and gentle grassy slopes is the ideal spot for lunching on takeout snacks and soaking up the sunshine. This park is off-the-beaten track so it’s generally not crowded.
Stroll the Seine
In Paris, strolling is an art form, and you don’t even need to do it arm-in-arm. Walking between sights is a wonderful way to get a feel for the city and its locals. One of the best things about visiting Paris solo is the chance to just wander and take photographs of whatever takes your fancy.
If in doubt, head to the Seine, this is where you’ll find intriguing bookshops such as the 17th century Shakespeare & Co, with nooks and crannies filled with books, easy reading chairs, and a resident cat. Used-book sellers, aka bouquinistes, also line the Seine making for fascinating browsing.
Soak Up the Views
While you’re wandering the Seine, then you might want to head to the Notre Dame; its 200 ft towers offer breathtaking views of central Paris and the Seine and are adorned with crouching gargoyles to keep you company. Note that there are 387 steps so pace yourself (alternatively, do this after a sugar fix from a patisserie).
Other noteworthy views of Paris are from the Sacre Coeur and the Eiffel Tower but be warned with the latter you might be amongst kissing couples and marriage proposals!
It is never too early to start talking about and planning your weekend in Paris by yourself. The beauty of being a BUCKiTDREAMER and a lone traveler is that you can constantly dream up new adventures to go on. If you are interested in any of these Paris tips then be sure to put these in your BUCKiTDREAM planner for safe keeping. Don’t forget to take some suave selfies when you’re solo in Paris and be sure to share them with your friends on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.