I just returned from my first solo visit to Paris and will give a--fairly brief--account of my experiences, with a particular emphasis on apartment-ing and dining alone. My pre-trip anxiety centered on possible problems with both.
Thanks go to Nikki, cigalechanta, plafield, kerouac, Anselm and Margriet, mariarosa, Apres_Londee, schnauzer and all the other Fodor's Paris-philes for the great ideas and inspiring trip reports. Your writings get me through the many months between holidays.
And of course thanks to Monica and elsiejune for arranging two fun GTGs.
After an exciting but exhausting trip with family to Rome and Assisi over the New Year, I really craved a relaxing holiday--by myself. As soon as I got a cheap fare email in February, I bought a ticket to Paris. This trip, I told myself, would involve relaxation, treats, sleeping late and eating well.
I haven't done much solo travel, however, and speak basically no French beyond the courtesies, though I'm dangerously good at reading a menu.
I'm going to try to write objectively/factually about the apartment in and then later I might go wild with subjective opinions and impressions about the rest of the trip.
I had had some trouble with Internet access in Rome, and so wanted an apartment with both wifi and a computer with Internet. I wanted to be able to contact family and friends at home very easily.
In early March I contacted Thierry at Paris Best Lodge about a few of his places with computers and Internet connections. They were all booked. He suggested a friend's apartment, newly renovated and just on the rental market.
I am familiar with that area, so I booked it. I paid 800 € for eight nights. Not a huge bargain but I felt it was a very good value because it had exactly what I needed and wanted.
The location is ideal for a solo traveler. You can walk anywhere at all hours of the day and night. There's a taxi rank at Bastille and also at Saint Paul. Chemin Vert, Bastille and Saint Paul are the closest metro stops.
It's a 1930s building, quiet and well-kept with nice potted plants in the courtyard. There are two key codes to enter, then you walk through the courtyard to the building in the back. The apartment is on the third (French) floor. There is an elevator that goes to the fourth and then you can walk down one flight. I only used the elevator when I first arrived with luggage.
The apartment itself is not a view place at all--it's on the courtyard--and pretty IKEA-cized, but very clean and convenient. There are thin walls to somewhere--I am not sure where, but I never heard anything other than someone moving around in another apartment and this was during daytime hours only.
I think Lucas, the owner, would do well to add a coat rack or hooks. There's room for one in the entry. The closet in the bedroom is not entirely full-length, so in winter someone's long coat might not exactly fit. Otherwise, everything was great. The kitchen looked fairly well-equipped but I did not cook at all.
I would recommend this place as long as someone didn't want view/lots of light. I'll post a few photos of my own later today because the photos on the website actually make it look darker than it is.
There is a new Gerard Mulot outpost right on the corner. Every morning I went down and picked up a croissant. Well, mostly I indulged in pain au chocolat.
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Paris Is for Pleasure: Eight Days of Solo Dining, Wandering and Decadence