An Introvert’s Guide to Paris: Introduction
Everyone knows that Paris is one of the prettiest cities in the world — but fewer people realize that it’s also introvert-friendly! If you’re a solo traveler who thrives on getting enough alone time, the City of Lights might make for your perfect getaway. Our introvert’s guide to Paris is here to help.
Beyond the obvious draws (the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre…), here are a few ways that introverts can recharge on their solo trips to Paris.
Going on long walks
Flânerie has been the quintessential Parisian pastime since the 19th century. In a nutshell, “flâner” is a French verb that means “to stroll” or “to wander,” and a flâneur or flâneuse is a person who explores the city and tries to see past its surface. As naturally observant individuals, introverts often make great flâneurs and flâneuses.
You can practice flânerie by walking whenever possible, paying attention to details, and putting your people-watching skills to use. Just remember to stay safe and show respect for others: don’t take unreasonable risks, don’t get in the locals’ way, and don’t photograph strangers without their consent.
Below, you’ll find a few incredible neighborhoods that make flânerie easy.
This hilly area offers some of the best views in Paris. As you roam, you’ll probably spot sights like the Sacré-Coeur (the beautiful white basilica on a hilltop) and the Place du Tertre (a square where artists converge to paint portraits and sell cityscapes). You might also come across the Maison Rose (a restaurant painted bubble-gum pink) or lovely ivy-draped buildings.
Le Marais is one of the most dynamic, multi-faceted areas in Paris. It’s a historic quarter that houses several museums (including the Musée Picasso and the Paris history museum) and gorgeous public squares (including the red-bricked Places des Vosges). It also offers many shopping and dining options, and it’s a major hub for the local Jewish and LGBTQ communities. Once you start wandering these streets, you won’t want to stop.
The sixth arrondissement
Paris is divided into 20 semi-autonomous districts called arrondissements, and the sixth has captured more hearts than perhaps any other. Here, you’ll find the Jardin du Luxembourg, the city’s oldest church, a few museums, and the cafés once frequented by 20th-century intellectuals. Add all of these ingredients together, and the sixth arrondissement makes for the stroll of your dreams.
Enjoying a picnic
Parisians have perfected the art of the picnic, and when you visit their city, you’ll want to dine al fresco too. You don’t necessarily need company to make a picnic fun — as an introvert, you know how to enjoy a good meal and a beautiful setting all by yourself.
Even simple foods like bread and cheese taste better in Paris, so stock up on your picnicking favorites at a local market or shop, then head to one of these spots.
With their classic French landscaping and laidback atmosphere, Paris’s parks make a great place to enjoy good food. Whether you choose a famous green space like the Jardin du Luxembourg or the Jardin des Tuileries, or a locals’ favorite like the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, you’re bound to have a good time.
Bords de Seine
On summer nights, Parisians often meet up with their friends on the banks of the Seine. If you enjoy people-watching, you can make your way to the Seine in the evening, when the locals have gotten off work and congregated en masse. If you’d prefer to have the riverbank more or less to yourself, you’ll want to show up earlier, when you’ll probably just encounter joggers and dog-walkers. A word to the wise: some of the prettiest places on the Seine are located below the Quai de Gesvres and the Quai de la Mégisserie.
Bois de Vincennes or Bois de Boulogne
On the outskirts of Paris, you’ll find massive green spaces that were set aside as the city modernized in the 19th century. The Bois de Vincennes is located on the eastern side of Paris, and the Bois de Boulogne on the western side. Both green spaces are leafy, refreshing, and fairly quiet. The Bois de Vincennes houses a few man-made lakes and the medieval Château de Vincennes, and the Bois de Boulogne plays host to the Fondation Louis Vuitton and several sporting venues.
Indulging your interests
Solo travel lets women make their own decisions about how they’ll spend their vacation time, and fortunately, Paris offers its visitors hundreds of ways to stay busy! No matter what your passions are, the French capital knows just how to cater to your interests. You can use those interests to meet new people or to do something just for yourself — the choice is yours.
Paris for history buffs
If you love learning about history, you’re in for a treat! Paris offers a wide variety of museums, including powerhouses like the Louvre and the Orsay, as well as oddball options dedicated to subjects like perfume-making. The city has also played an important role in literary history, so if you’d like to follow in the footsteps of writers like James Baldwin, Gertrude Stein, or Ernest Hemingway, you’re in luck. What’s more, the Cimetière du Père Lachaise is the final resting place of notable people like Molière, Edith Piaf, and Oscar Wilde.
Paris for foodies
At the risk of stating the obvious, Paris is a foodie’s paradise. If you’re exploring the City of Lights for the first time, you’ll probably want to take cooking classes and visit wine bars. You can also sample a wide variety of pastries (we recommend the pain au chocolat aux amandes, as well as Pierre Hermé’s uniquely flavored macarons) and buy crêpes from street vendors. No matter what, we can guarantee that you’ll love feasting on some of the finest fare in France. Bon appétit!
Paris for shoppers
As you might already know, Paris can turn a shopping day into an adventure.
Located immediately north of the city, the Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen reportedly brings together the world’s largest concentration of antique dealers and secondhand shops. Here, you can find vintage clothing, furniture, records, books, postcards, and practically anything else you can imagine — that is, if you’re willing to put in the time!
Within the city itself, you’ll find many more options. For example, you might want to go window-shopping at luxury brands on the Rue Saint-Honoré. Alternatively, you might like to wander the many floors of Galeries Lafayette (a department store where shoppers browse beneath a magnificent Art Nouveau cupola).
The adventure of a lifetime awaits in Paris. Comment to let us know if you’ve traveled solo in France — or if you’d like to visit any of the places we’ve mentioned. If our introvert’s guide to Paris has inspired you, make sure to check out our post on 50 things to see in Paris.