I am excited to be writing again about my latest travel adventure. This time I challenged myself and took a solo trip to Paris. Why did I go alone? Well I eventually realized over the years that I will be waiting forever if I wait on others to go. With that being said, I immediately booked a flight in early February for my birthday in April. More excited then nervous the next day I started to plan out my itinerary. Weeks flew by and I began to see my itinerary fill more and more with things to do and sights to see.
It was now the month of March and I was researching for a hotel. Of course since I was traveling solo I knew that I would be pinching out quite a penny for a 7 night stay. I had a choice to either book a lavish hotel or go with a hostel. For those of you who are not familiar with a hostel it is basically like being in a college dorm with other women from all over the world. Most solo travelers take this route if they want to save on the cost. An advantage of a hostel is that you meet other cool people and make friends to last a lifetime. I was torn between booking a hostel or a hotel at this point.
Here it was now the second week of April and I have yet to book where I would be staying. Mind the fact my flight was April 22nd and right around the corner. Facing a tough decision I quickly narrowed down that I would give up staying at a luxurious hotel and go with a hostel for the first time. The rates sky rocketed for the hotels anyway so it made it rather easy to go with the hostel. I researched a popular renovated hostel called The Generator and after four days of research and reading reviews I booked my room at the rate of $339.25 for 7 nights. Couldn’t beat that!
Its the day before my flight and my bags were packed and ready for takeoff. I still could not believe I was headed out of the country, alone at that! The longest I have flown was back and forth to Los Angeles so this experience was all so new. Not to mention I had an 8 hour layover in Madrid! I will get to that later though 🙂 The next day I arrived at JFK Airport by 4pm but my departure was not until 8:45pm. With time to kill, I went to exchange US dollars for Euros and then waited by my gate until departure time.
Day 1: April 24th
Entering the hostel I felt a little out of my element and did not know what to expect, but once I entered my room it was actually very nice with a beautiful view. There was even a rooftop as well as a restaurant on site. I was rather tired from the flight that I went to a local restaurant next door and picked up something quick to eat for the night. By the time I went back to my hostel I was greeted by one of my roomates named Karla who was from Brazil. Instantly I felt welcomed and she was such a joy to talk to. She told me all about herself as I did the same. I then showered and got comfy in my bed as I looked forward to the next morning.
Rue de l’universitie
My first stop was to this little street to take my birthday photos. The Haussman style homes and cobblestone street was absolutely gorgeous. I arrived here at around 10am and shot pictures for about 30 minutes. The best time to get photos is early in morning before others make their way to take in the amazing view.
There was a nearby bakery that I came across while in route, I decided that I would go inside and try one. It was so good and fresh out of the oven! The baguette is a traditon in Paris and you will see a ton of locals walking around with them under their arms.
The night before I booked a boat tour to sail across the Seine River. It cost about 20 Euros ($24usd) and you were able to hop on and off each stop. Some of these stops included the Eiffel Tower, Musee d’ Orsay, Notre Dame Cathedral, Champs Elysees, and The Lourve. It was a pretty beautiful day to hop on a boat and enjoy these scenic views
Nina’s Tea House
My next destination was in the heart of the 1st arrondissement. I had the pleasure of going to Nina’s tea house. It was here where I indulged in their signature tea along with a slice of cake. The cake complimented the tea very well with rose and apple flavors straight from the King’s Kitchen Garden in Versailles. The décor was beyond beautiful and just sitting there made you feel as if I was entering a Marie Antoinette room. I enjoyed the tea so much that I decided to bring some home with me 🙂
Discovering Parisian Doors
While strolling along Paris streets, I came across the most beautiful doors. In fact, I may have just fallen in love with them all. Each one that I came across had beautiful vibrant or rustic colors. Even just walking along you can find them in each arrondissement.
Exploring Paris by foot
It was such a beautiful day out that I decided to explore Paris by walking around and getting lost for a few hours. I didn’t have an exact location, but I knew I wanted to enjoy everything around. I discovered Cafe’s with locals enjoying an afternoon coffee, monuments, and a classic book stand located on the left bank.
Day 2: April 25th
The next morning I slept in a little later. Jet lag was definitely catching up with me. I hopped out of bed around 11am and looked out of my window at the beautiful view. I showered and dressed for the day. It was then time for me to make my way to my first destination.
I started my day by going to the Luxembourg Gardens. It is located in the heart of Paris on the left bank. I found it to be absolutely breathtaking and a great way to escape the crowds and busy streets. The landscaping was out of this world and the smell of the flowers filled the air with a perfumed fragrance. I would recommend coming here if you are ever in Paris. It is a must see!
My next stop was to a mini size restaurant where they specialize in meats and an assortment of cheeses. I am always looking for a great place to try cheese platters when I travel and this particular place was amazing! From the service to the quality of the cheese everything was great and I highly recommend. My waiter instructed me to eat the cheese from left to right so that the taste matched accordingly.
Of course it was time for me to head to a museum, so I went to the Lourve and spent the rest of the afternoon here. This is where the original Mona Lisa painting is. I would recommend going here at the start of the morning to assure that you have enough time to view everything. I had a great time viewing the artwork, although, I have seen a lot of these pieces in the MET museum in NYC. Overall my experience was great! I even stopped for a snack, and ate a pan au chocolat and a hot drink.
My first two days were filled with adventure and taking in all of the beautiful views. I must say though, when traveling to Paris make sure to research the hours for all restaurants and local cafe’s. It took me awhile to adjust to everything being closed during what I would consider business hours. I missed out on experiencing certain restaurants because they were closed when I wanted to eat. If you enjoyed the first part of my Paris adventure stay tuned for Part 2 🙂