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Just booked first solo trip - Paris, here I come!

Just booked first solo trip - Paris, here I come!

Mar 4th, 2005, 09:09 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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Hey, maybe we'll bump into each other and just give each other the "thumbs up", I'll also be there in October by myself. My first time in Paris, but not my first time traveling alone. Years ago, I went to Hawaii, Tahiti, Martha's Vineyard, and most recently London by myself. But then again, I've always enjoyed spending time alone, I like to do photography while traveling, and it's so much better by myself. No one asking me why I'm taking the 20th different shot of this one flower, etc.. Since you've already been to Paris, you won't have that obstacle, I'm sure you'll have a great time.
lyb is offline  
Mar 4th, 2005, 09:33 AM
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Richard: Thank you so much for taking the time to post those restaurants. I will definitely make a point of trying a couple of them. And I've already decided to try the food hall at Galleries Lafayette.

ggnga and lyb: How cool that you will both be solo in Paris in October too! I'll be there from the 5th through the 12th, so if either of you are there during that time, perhaps we could meet for a drink.

Now that I'm getting my mind wrapped around doing this trip alone, I am getting so excited. Right after I hit the "enter" button to complete my flight reservation, I thought "What am I doing?" But with all the encouragement I've gotten on this thread, I know it will all be good and I expect to have the time of my life!
TravelerGina is offline  
Mar 4th, 2005, 09:39 AM
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Life is too short...
richardab is offline  
Mar 4th, 2005, 09:49 AM
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Hello, I leave on the 6th, but would really like to meet for a drink on the 5th if that would work. Hope lyb could join.

ggnga is offline  
Mar 4th, 2005, 10:15 AM
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You go girl! I have been to Paris several times and always with my husband. He is a wanderful travel partner and loves Paris but my secret desire is to go to Paris once alone! What a treat to experience things as you would like! Be sure and buy some wonderful French bath products and enjoy an evening of luxury in the bath (a bottle of wine would be a nice addition)!
aj is offline  
Mar 4th, 2005, 10:22 AM
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aj: I like the way you think - a girl after my own heart!

ggnga: A drink on the 5th sounds great - we can toast to your last night and my first night in the City of Light. If lyb can join us, all the better. We'll have to work something out as the time gets closer.
TravelerGina is offline  
Mar 4th, 2005, 10:45 AM
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Congratulations! And I think Paris is a great city for a first solo trip.

Since you specifically mention the dining alone issue, here are a few tips from my experience. Eating at more casual family style places is often more comfortable (cafes, bistros, ethnic restaurants). For nicer restaurants go early in the dinner hour. Take a paperback novel (to read or as a prop to make you more comfortable) or better yet a local newspaper or entertainment listings magazine (practice reading French even if you don't).

Look for to-go foods. I've had some fabulous dinners in my hotel room when I was too tired to go back out, having bought a bottle of wine and gourmet items from a deli or bakery earlier (clean up neatly as some hotels frown on food in the room).

Not sure the weather in October but eating lunch in any of the beautiful parks with a pre-made sandwich from a bakery or bread and cheese from a shop.
suze is offline  
Mar 4th, 2005, 11:22 AM
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I sort of agree with the above poster....

-eating in the parks is fun.

-bistros, brasseries, cafes are best for solo. "restaurants" are fancy and pretentious anyway....

-eating in your hotel room sucks, unless its a yummy pastry you bought at a local boulangerie. I always buy on in the middle of the day and keep it in my room til night for a snack.

-get the book BISTROS OF PARIS by Barbara Hamberger. Its the best book for bistro recommendations that I have seen.
richardab is offline  
Mar 4th, 2005, 11:39 AM
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good for you Gina, I did three weeks in Provence alone, one of my best trips but not Paris YET!
My first trip to Paris was with a girlfriend and that was a disaster, tho she brought home a bigger paycheck and inherited money, all she wanted to eat was yogurt and crepes, wouldn't spend money in a good restaurant but would spend lavishly shopping. I was miserable and was grateful when she came down with a bug for two days so I could dine properly. I don't go to Paris to eat yogurt.
cigalechanta is online now  
Mar 4th, 2005, 11:44 AM
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I never heard of the Hotel du College de France that you are staying in but it gets decent recommendations from Trip Advisor. I stayed in the Hotel Jeanne d'Arc last November and thought is was a good value, but horrid hotel even though it gets good reviews. I think its so cheap that people put up with the thin towels, scratchy sheets and old furniture. Have you stayed there before?

In the past I have also stayed at the Britannique (loved it and the location), Relais du Louvre (small rooms, good staff, nice location) and Castex (interesting location near the Bastille, decent rooms, budget property).

Perhaps you have a preference to staying in the Latin Quarter, which is a fine location. I don't really like this area because when I was a student traveling in Paris I stayed here and did not enjoy my stay very much. Bad memories. Of course I was much poorer and couldn't enjoy Paris for what it was worth.

Although I hated the Jeanne d'Arc (I stayed in better hotels when I was poor), I LOVED staying in the Marais because of its character and charm. I always felt like I was part of the neighborhood.

Just a tip....

While staying at the Jeanne d'Arc I popped into the Libertel Grand Turenne which was right around the corner to view a room and I was pleasantly surprised. They seemed compact but very clean. This hotel is part of the Accor chain which also runs Sofitels, Novotels and Red Rood Inns!

If you book at accorhotels.com I have seen special internet rates at this hotel as low as 79 euro a night (for a single) which is a great deal.

richardab is offline  
Mar 4th, 2005, 11:48 AM
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Oh I forgot one small catch...

The low internet rates at the Libertel Grand Turenne must be paid in full and are NON REFUNDABLE.
richardab is offline  
Mar 4th, 2005, 12:15 PM
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Richard: Both times in Paris, we stayed on the Right Bank, in the Opera area - our metro station was Richelieu Drouot. This time I wanted to be in the Latin Quartier, preferably on a small side street, so Hotel du College de France seemed to fit the bill, and the staff has been very pleasant to deal with. Next time I think I'd like to try the Marais area, somewhere near the lovely Place des Vosges.
TravelerGina is offline  
Mar 4th, 2005, 12:35 PM
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i believe richard has disagreed with me on that one before (joys of eating in a hotel room).

sometimes i simply prefer the solitude and maybe watching local TV or reading the local paper while eating, not having to dress up, not having to interact, not having to walk one more step, at the end of a long hard day (!) exploring a new city.
suze is offline  
Mar 4th, 2005, 01:19 PM
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To each his own, right? Damn, I sit in front of the TV everynight with my plate on my lap. When I am on vacation I like to be served!
richardab is offline  
Mar 15th, 2005, 08:26 AM
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Well, since I'm the "expert" who wrote the new book that Fodors is featuring on fodors.com home page--Solo Traveler--I think I'll add my two euros to this wonderful thread.
The advice so far is just great. I would add that if you're uneasy about dining solo, just take it in stages. Start at informal places like cafes. Go on to dining rooms or restaurants in your lodging (book with that in mind). When you're ready for a big-deal restaurant, use the previous ideas about keeping busy, but I'd add one more thing. Enjoy the fact that people will notice you. Play the diva! It can be great fun. (I like to wear sunglasses!)
Lea_Lane is offline  
Mar 17th, 2005, 11:13 AM
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TravelerGina, I just want you to know that you are my inspiration! After reading your post, I couldn't take it anymore! I found a great August airfare from Los Angeles and I, too, am going solo to Paris! THANKS!!!

BTW, my husband thanks you, too!
Iregeo is offline  
Mar 17th, 2005, 11:32 AM
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Irego! Yaaay! That's great news too.

As to the Hotel du College de France,
I believe that that hotel was "tooted" very favorably by Rudi Maxa in one of his diatribes on Paris. Nice pictures were in the article too.

I am starting to seeth with envy... mmmmm... how to get me over there. I wonder how much change is down in the cushions? Mmmmm...
SuzieC is offline  
Mar 17th, 2005, 11:50 AM
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Back off, Ira - she's a Fodors editor, running her own thread on the site on solo travel.

Gina: You must get the book "Without Reservations" by Alice Steinbach. She's a Pulitzer-prize winning Baltimore newspaper columnist who decided to take off on her own for a sojurn in Europe (Paris, London, Italy) and the book is the chronicle of that trip. I think you will love it (I did!) and it'll encourage you in this exciting solo venture!

(I know, I know - I've made this recommendation on a few other threads, but I just can't help sharing my enthusiasm for a really good read.)
tuckerdc is offline  
Mar 17th, 2005, 12:22 PM
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Lea_Lane: Playing the diva sounds like fun. I'll have to get some new stylish sunglasses to peer from behind!

Iregeo: Congratulations! I'm so glad if I was in part responsible for you booking your trip! I don't know about you, but it makes me feel "so grown up" to be taking such a big step by myself. I've been reading everyone's trip reports this week (and there are quite a few), picturing myself walking two steps behind them as they wandered the streets of Paris. I just know we're both going to have a grand time!

tuckerdc: I've written down your suggestion of "Without Reservations" and will be picking it up this weekend at Barnes & Noble. Thanks so much for the recommendation!

I must say, without the Fodors board and the people on it, I never would have dreamed of taking a trip such as this. You guys are the best!!!
TravelerGina is offline  
Mar 17th, 2005, 07:58 PM
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TravelerGina, good for you! I did my first solo trip to Paris in October of 2001, for 12 days. I was hooked, so went back in May the same year, another 12 days. I could never tire of it - and being solo is a real treat! Since then I've been (still solo, as I love it that way) to the Loire Valley, Provence, and Alsace - and am going in May to the Dordogne. I think taking that first step of "going alone" can be daunting - but you'll never regret it, I'm sure!
Sue4 is offline  

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