My Paris trip was another solo one! My parents were concerned since it’s a city that has been in the news a lot about terrorism and so they weren’t happy that I was going to be alone in this city. I had also heard a lot about scams and pickpockets that tourists will often fall for their traps.
I won’t lie when I say that I was more nervous to go to Paris alone than I was Amsterdam or Reykjavik, but I’m really glad I didn’t allow that to dissuade me from this trip.
I flew in and out of Orly Airport with Transavia. They’re a small airline and a budget one I believe so you have to pay for any beverages on the flight, but it’s a short one and wasn’t an issue for me. Orly Airport is the smaller Paris airport compared to Charles de Gaulle and was the city’s primary one before Charles de Gaulle was built.
There were no issues getting through customs and I was soon able to take the Orlybus from the airport into the city. It drops you off at Denfert-Rochereau Station in the southern part of the city and from there you can take the metro pretty much anywhere.
Tip: Buy your ticket for the Orlybus at the ticket booth next to the actual bus. I bought mine from the information tourist services inside the airport building and they charged me 8,40 euros. It’s 8 euros at the booth. This is one way too! So a roundtrip will cost you 16 euros.
Another Tip: Depending on how long you’re staying in Paris, do your research about what metro pass will be best for you. There are one or two day visitor passes or ones that’ll include discounts to the museums and such. I would recommend the Carte Mobilis though. It’s applicable for one day and is cheaper than the passes that tourists typically go for. It’s 7,50 while the visitor ones are like 9 euros. The thing to be aware of for the Carte Mobilis though is that it’s not 24 hours that it’s valid for, it’s for that calendar date. However, if you buy it in the morning and use it enough it’ll save you so much. It only takes four uses to buy it back. The metro is also so accessible and easy to use that it enables you to do so much in one day.
I took the metro from Denfert-Rochereau to the Notre Dame station. My first stop was Shakespeare and Company.
The famous bookstore was a must for a booklover like me. I even met another girl from Illinois there! As it was getting darker, the lights were on and giving it an ethereal look. After an annoying girl next to me on the flight and a crowded bus and metro ride, this was heaven. I immediately felt calm and the Parisian atmosphere was hitting me.
I bought a book from the secondhand section that was outside and they stamped it with their logo! It was really cool and if you’re near Notre Dame, then why not check it out?
Notre Dame is basically right across the street and I made my way to the cathedral next.
It was closed by this time to go inside, but it was beautiful on the outside and my finally calm self was beginning to enjoy Paris.
I soon continued on my way though. I grabbed a quick dinner at one of the restaurants I was walking by before getting to my hostel. Walking by the Seine was beautiful and I never felt unsafe, even though it was dark by this point.
I decided to book a private room with MIJE. They’re a hostel company and they own three properties in Paris. They’re all in the same area though and you book with them before they assign you to which one you’ll actually be staying in. They’re all ten to fifteen minutes from Notre Dame and are in a great area. I was assigned to MIJI Maubuisson. They’re also the least expensive hostel to get a private room in Paris.
It was small of course, but I did have my own shower and a sink. You share the two toilets with the rest of the floor. You have to be buzzed in to enter the building and there’s somebody at the desk at all times so I felt really safe here and didn’t worry about a thing. You also get free breakfast!
One thing I will say is that the little toilet rooms don’t have sinks. So you wash your hands in your room. Except they don’t give you soap? I don’t know if that was just my room or something that they just don’t do, but I felt uncomfortable about it. Luckily though, I’m not hugely germ conscious and the purell that I brought with me was enough as a replacement.
I decided to do an early night in to make sure I was rested up for my next day.