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Single woman travelling alone

Chicago, Illinois
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Single woman travelling alone

I am leaving for Paris at the end of the week because I am in DESPERATE need of a vacation. After 52" of snow and the longest winter I can remember since the Blizzard of '79, I feel the need to leave the continent.

The problem is, I hate to be alone. At home, I absolutely refuse to dine alone. I order out and carry it home rather than dining out by myself. I guess I am OK wandering the streets of Paris and discovering that which I did not discover during my short 2-day stay more than ten years ago. I do speak French, so I am not apprehensive about that.

I just don't want to go to dinner and be waited on for three hours all by myself. I also want some semblance of a night life. I realize that I am going during Semana Santa (or however it is said in French), but I figure that there should still be some nightlife activity.

My questions are:

1) Where should I go for a decent meal without being catered to the entire evening?

2) Where should I go for a night life? Or should I just belly up to a brasserie and chat up the locals?

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1. Re: Single woman travelling alone

Well, I rather like the fact that I'm catered to when alone in Paris just as I would be if I were with my husband, but if you'd rather be totally ignored, I think you should stay in America.

I often travel alone and I've always been well fed in Paris, whether in a restaurant, a cafe, or a brasserie. I don't plan my restaurants much ahead because I don't know much in advance what I'm going to want to eat. If you're concerned about eating alone take a book or a guide book with you, and it will keep you occupied between courses.

I have been known to fall flat on my bed asleep in Paris because of all the walking, but on occasion, I've wandered the streets to find a jazz club or two. The best kind are the ones with too few tables for the crowd they attract. You'll be seated with others and consequently be not so obviously alone, if that's a concern.

Do yourself a favour and go to Paris with the intention of enjoying yourself, then go out every day with the intention of enjoying yourself. Don't worry about the fact that you're alone, and you'll have a great time. Paris is an old city, and I'm sure you and I aren't the first women to travel there alone. It will survive us. Go and enjoy.

Bon voyage.

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2. Re: Single woman travelling alone

I tend to eat my big meal at lunchtime and eat in a bistro in the evening. I got back from Paris on Saturday and would recommend the area round Bastille as being lively and interesting and full of youngish people. You should also bear in mind that it's quite usual in France for women to eat out alone. Take a book with you.

I had a lovely lunch at the Cafe Modern on rue St Antoine between Bastille and Place des Vosges, if you're interested. Not expensive but really relaxed atmosphere.

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3. Re: Single woman travelling alone

Im sure there are probably a handful (or maybe a whole tour groups worth) of people here who are probably going at the same time as you that you could hook up with for a night or 2 at the very least.

Failing that if u get blind drunk every night u wont feel alone at all :)

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4. Re: Single woman travelling alone

Loads of threads on this subject, if you use the search box key in 'solo women' 'single women' or 'single diners' etc, etc. Here is one of my favourite threads for what to do in the evenings, to get you started:


I don't think you need to worry too much though

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5. Re: Single woman travelling alone

Don't worry, not many people in France care about the Semaine Sainte (= semana Santa) so night life will be exactly the same, they really don't care about that.

Don' t worry about dining alone, after a whole day of seeing things, sitting down on your own will give you an opportunity to think and plan your next day, nothing to be worried about. And i have never spent three hours dining, unless you go to a fancy restaurant and order a full menu. If you go to a normal restaurant or brasserie, with a main course and dessert you can be done in an hour-an hour and a half.

New York City, New...
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for Yucatan Peninsula
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6. Re: Single woman travelling alone

I'm not sure what your options are, or what you're asking....

You can certainly put together a decent picnic out of takeout foods to eat in your room or on some bridge....

You can put aside that "what will people think" attitude and figure no one knows you in Paris, so who cares what people think - and just go to a restaurant.

or, you can sit/stand at the bar and talk to other patrons (in summer, at an outdoor table - I am never alone for long! but it probably wont be that warm)

I mean this with the utmost respect coming from a middle aged woman - unless you're 22 and killer hot, no waiter is going to spend 3 hours attending to you in a restaurant, unless it comes with 3 Michelin stars!

Chicago, Illinois
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7. Re: Single woman travelling alone

Thank you everyone for your advice.

I did search for "single," "alone," "single woman." Quite frankly, I was overwhelmed at how many threads there were. I thought that I would start a new thread to get my specific concerns addressed. Whereas a lot of the other threads addressed subjects such as safety and the perception of a woman travelling alone, mine is not.

I couldn't care less what other people think. I, personally, just cannot stand to be alone in a public place for extended periods of time. I'm not fearful of chatting people up in a bar, but I don't like to sit alone in a restaurant. Perhaps I feel boredom setting in. Perhaps I feel it is a waste of my time to sit indoors staring at my own plate instead of doing something more active. I'm not so worried about breakfast or lunch; it's dinner that I worry more about because it tends to be more of an intimate and social event (and I have no one with whom to socialize). I also would like to find livelier bars that incite more socialization and mingling with the locals.

Carson City, Nevada
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8. Re: Single woman travelling alone

Too bad I didn't know you were heading for Paris two weeks ago. I would've joined you ! I've travelled all over Europe as a solo female and I do understand what you're saying.

When I go out to eat, I'll occasionally do the street cafes where the tables are pushed close together. I usually bring a paperback book to read while I eat, or I make notes in my moleskine journals.

Sometimes I am invited to sit with others, sometimes a guy will join me ( I speak a little French but am by no means fluent). BTW, although I am middle-aged, I wouldn't call myself 'hot', so I think there's a handful of fellow tourists or nice locals that have it in their hearts to take me under wing. I don't need to tell you it's important to have good judgement.

Like you, I also like going out at night. If you're close to Place St. Michel there are always street entertainers (Latin Quarter) I've had some seriously good times there. Otherwise, I duck into a small jazz club, always a bullet-proof choice.

I wish TripAdvisor had a place for single solo women to meet up. I went to Paris last year and a member from TA organized a dinner. A dozen of us got together (having never met except on this forum) and it was WONDERFUL.

Have a good trip! Breath it all in......

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9. Re: Single woman travelling alone

You could have L'As du Falafel every night for dinner and walk around eating your falafel. (That would make me happy.)

I don't know if you are staying in a hotel or apartment but you can easily pick up food in a grocery store, patisserie or boulangerie, cheese shop, etc. and eat where ever you are staying. That would avoid all of the uncomfortableness.

Here's a hint: you seem to know what you don't like and don't want. The problem with that is it doesn't say what you do like and do want. Turn it around and figure out an option, two or three which is appealing to you. That way you have the problem solved and can move ahead with enthusiasm about your trip.

Chicago, Illinois
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10. Re: Single woman travelling alone

Thank you, Delphi and InLove. You have both given me valuable advice.

Delphi, do men really just invite you to dine with them? Although I am not "smokin' hot," I do consider myself to be attractive. Never in my life has a stranger invited me to dine with him (or her) when seated alone. Were these fellow tourists who knew that you were travelling alone and they were being polite and friendly? Or were these locals? Just curious.

InLove, you're right. You hit the nail on the head. I never said what I do like. I have been worrying too much about what I don't like. What I do like is mingling with the natives at local watering holes, and I like dancing. With that in mind, I have searched some of the message threads and I have found a recommendation (albeit pretty old) for salsa dancing, which I read has become quite popular in Paris. Since I also went out salsa dancing in Madrid, I decided that that would be my new "thing" when I travel.

Salsa takes care of one night. Any recommendations on where to go out dancing the other 3-4 nights?

P.S., Delphi, maybe next time. I was restricted to next week for my travel dates. I completed my "travel map" on TA and I was horrified to see how lop-sided it is (all Caribbean and Western Europe). I'm planning Africa or Asia next.