1. People watch
The best part about being unaccompanied in Paris is that it feels like you’re living rather than visiting. So do as the Parisians do and take part in one of their sacred pastimes – people watching. Make yourself at home at one of their many cafes, order a cafe au lait or une glass of champagne s'il vous plaît and fall in love with every single, scarf-wearing French dude that passes #swoon. Being alone and free of any judgements or expectations means that your ‘identity’ won’t get in the way of doing whatever you’re doing (but if you’re still feeling self conscious take a book or a notebook along.)
2. Watch the sunset on the steps of the Sacré Cœur
One bonus of riding solo is that it’s way easier to score a highly-coveted spot on the steps below the Basilica (you know, before all the hawkers approach you selling Heinekens for vastly-inflated prices). It is however, the perfect spot to watch the sun set over Paris to the acoustic tunes of a local busker.
3. Take in the world-class galleries
This one almost goes without saying, Musée du Louvre and Musee d'Orsay are essential viewing. I mean, if you didn’t battle the hoards of tourists to get an awkward, blurry selfie with Mona Lisa were you even in Paris?! But if you have time Centre Georges Pompidou, Jardin des Plantes Musée, Marmottan-Claude Monet and Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris should all be next on your list.
4. Picnic at the base of the Eiffel Tower
After making the trek up with Eiffel Tower (come on, it’s an essential bucket list experience) recoup lost energy with a packed picnic. In the morning stop by the boulangerie for a fresh baguette, drop into a fromagerie for some of that classic stinky cheese and finish up at a charcuterie to pick up some prosciutto. Oh, and some cheap French vino of course. Set yourself up in the Champ de Mars, the iconic stretch of park beneath the structure, and after watching the sun go down, marvel at the glittering lights on the tower.
Other stunning picnic spots include the Jardin du Luxembourg, Quai De La Tournelle on the Seine, Square du Vert Galant, Jardin Des Tuileries and the banks of Canal Saint-Martin.
5. Take part in a supper club
When you’re travelling alone you’re so much more open to interacting with strangers and locals without the barrier of a big group or clingy partner. But also, you don’t have to. You have the freedom to choose who you want to spend time with and on what terms. One really excellent way to meet new and diverse people in Paris is to take part in a supper club; these are gatherings that bring together perfect strangers who love both food and making friends. The proclaimed godfather of supper clubs, Jim Haynes, hosts one each Sunday welcoming 60 locals and travellers to chow down on an eclectic menu for a reasonable donation.
6. Tumbleweed at the Shakespeare and Company
Founded by George Whitman in 1951, the Shakespeare and Company bookstore on the banks of the Seine calls itself home to self proclaimed ‘tumbleweeds’, inviting anyone ‘blowing by’ to sleep amongst the shop’s piles and shelves of books. Three things are asked of each guest: read a book a day, help at the shop for a few hours a day and produce a one-page autobiography. It’s the ideal spot for solo travellers looking to have a seriously authentic French experience and get lost in the magic of a good book or two.
7. Do a cooking class
You know what’s better than eating French food? Learning how to cook it so you can eat it at home FOREVER. Au revoir, waistline. Whether it’s macarons, chocolate éclairs or boeuf bourguignon, immerse yourself in culinary experts’ skills and you’ll be reppin’ Julia Child in no time.
8. Browse the Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen
Peruse the aisles of this world-famous flea market without a significant other huffing and puffing about the pointlessness of shopping. Heaven.