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Young Woman Solo Travel to Paris

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I am a young woman in my mid twenties and I decided that I would like to take a trip to Paris. It has been my dream to travel there my entire life and I decided (perhaps after reading Eat, Pray, Love) that I shouldn't wait to find the perfect travel buddy to go traveling.

I would like to stay between 5 and 8 days. I have never traveled anywhere by myself besides the occasional business trip (but that's really not the same). I had about 8 years of french lessons but would definitely need to spruce up on my vocab before I left.

I would like to go in April partly because it is more convenient for work but mostly because I've always dreamed of seeing Paris in the Spring time. I have many questions and could use a lot of help so any input would be greatly appreciated.

Hotel vs. Apartment - Should I rent an apartment for a week or should I stay at a hotel? My budget is $150 a night but would definitely like to shoot for less. I'm not sure if this is possible. I really just want a place that is safe, clean, and in a good location. I don't need anything big or luxurious.

Tour vs. solo - I like the idea of a tour but I really would like to see most of the city by myself. I wouldn't mind doing smaller tours throughout. I would love to see the old stomping grounds of my favorite philosophers and writers and have some wonderful food and wine. Museums aren't as important to me.

Safety - Any recommendations for safely traveling at night? I hear the metro can be a little dodgey in the evening.

Days of the week - I have flexibility for when I leave vs. when I come back. Is less expensive to book on certain days of the week?

Any recommendations would be much appreciated. If you have any great tips for saving on this trip it would be great. I'd like to do this trip in the most affordable way possible without sacrificing cleanliness or safety.

Merci!

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