Last updated on February 9th, 2022
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Paris is safe for solo women
by Evelyn Hannon, Founder, JourneyWoman
Singles traveling to Paris have nothing to worry about. Paris is a great destination for everyone. Families, couples and yes, even a woman traveling solo. French life is not solely é deux (couples only). As a matter of fact, many people report that they have had some of their best adventures while on French soil. Just being able to walk the city and drop into a café (and there is one on practically every Paris block) is a great luxury.
Coffee, newspaper, and a chat…
One can stand at the bar and order a petit crème (coffee with steaming hot milk) and not feel like an interloper. C’est tout a fait normale (usual), and, depending on the café and the time of day, one is often able to strike up a conversation. The idea that the French don’t like Americans is ludicrous. Maybe some would prefer to stick to their own. But others are dying to speak English. I have made more than one acquaintance while reading the International Herald Tribune. As a matter of fact, there is a regular group that gravitates to La Coupole (102, Blvd. du Montparnasse, Paris 75014) to scan the morning newspapers since a vrai café (espresso) costs little more than the selection of papers the restaurant stocks for its patrons.
One does not have to stand to meet people. Head to the Café Flore (172 Bv. St. Germaine) or Deux Magots (170 Bv. St. Germaine) and invariably you will find a lot of singles who would like to make contact. One knows immediately who they are. Many are habitués (regulars) but these two “literary” (and very expensive) cafes attract tourists from throughout the world. Some of them are delighted to join up with others to explore a bit of Paris or simply take a walk.
Sushi, wine, and music in the park…
Sushi bars are a good way to meet single diners. The new “in” sushi hangout is Lo Sushi (8, rue de Berri 75008) Designed by French designer Andree Putman, it has a Tokyo-syle revolving sushi bar where diners help themselves. The decor is better than the sushi, but the restaurant is a very big hit! Solo travellers should also consider popping into a wine bar where people have the same taste preferences or share a sense of sipping adventure. Try woman-friendly Juveniles (47 rue de Richelieu, 75001). Coffee Parisien (4 rue Princesse 75006) is another place where one can “eat American” at the bar and probably meet others suffering a chili or burger attack! Food and wine in France tend to be a universal bond. Take note — the action starts about 9 pm here and the weekend brunches attract tout Paris.
There are numerous reports of people meeting while strolling through parks and gardens. My favorite pick would be the Luxembourg Garden. During the summer season, there are late afternoon concerts which attract singles. Sitting on the edge of the fountain and renting a tiny sailboat (try not to have it capsize too many times) is an easy way to invite a pleasant chat.
Tennis, walking tours and boat rides …
If you are a good tennis player, the Luxembourg Gardens is a great place to pick up a game. Many Americans say that they have even been invited home for a drink by their French tennis partners. But one probably needs to be a better-than-average player to garner that honor! (And female invitees might want to proceed with caution).
More structured ways of meeting people are to go on walking tours (they are listed in each week’s Pariscope guide) and many are conducted in English. In addition, there are numerous private groups who make a business out of conducting tours for Anglophone visitors.
A pre-dinner ride on a Bateaux Mouches is a sure way to meet people with whom to tour or at the very least, spend some pleasant time. Ditto for the numerous guided bus tours offered by Cityrama and other companies. English-language guided museum tours are an excellent way to encounter like-minded people and simultaneously get a bit of culture. All of these companies are listed in the Pariscope guide available at news kiosks.
Bookstores, libraries, and cultural classrooms…
Some other good meeting places: The frequent Tuesday night and Sunday afternoon readings at the woman-owned Village Voice Bookstore (6, rue Princesse on Paris’s Left Bank) which attracts a lot of Paris-based Americans. Call to see if there is a reading when you are in Paris. Tel. 01 46 33 36 47.
Don’t forget Shakespeare and Co. (37 rue de la Bucherie 75005) where it’s hard not to fall over another person who is trying to find a specific book (which can be a challenge in this charming but cluttered Left Bank Librairie). For bookworms The American Library (10, rue du General Camou) is another institution worth checking out.
WICE is a popular non-profit organization that offers excellent and diverse activities. Some are six-week classes but there are many others available where you can register for the day. WICE attracts a group of interesting people who share English as a common language although many of their participants are French. To enroll at WICE or to register for courses, contact the WICE office Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The complete catalog with application form may be acquired at the office.
Address: 20 boulevard du Montparnasse 75015 Paris, France.
Tel: 33 (0)1 45 66 75 50 Fax: 33(0)1 40 65 96 53
Cyberspace, poetry, and dance…
Finally, what better place to meet other solo travellers (and locals) than at a cybercafe. The latest “in” spot is The Web Bar (32 rue de Picardie 75003 ) Not only will you find computers here but also a full schedule of poetry nights, dance displays, concerts, short films, and art exhibits. M-m-m-m. Who is that lovely man at the next computer? A perfect opportunity for Journeywoman to exchange e-mail addresses!
Bonjour Paris — an excellent internet resource!
Heading off to Paris and want to read as much about your destination as you possibly can? Take a peek at https://bonjourparis.com/. Filled with all kinds of perfectly pertinent info, this site’s a winner. There are arts and entertainment, restaurants, wine bars, things to do, French lessons, Paris-centered tips, tips, tips and a whole lot more. Sign up for your Bonjour Paris newsletter and the info will just keep coming and coming and coming.
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