The first couple of hours I spent wandering around the city, I thought it was the most wildly conflicted place I’d ever seen. Gritty areas of urban decay and desperate poverty would round a corner and suddenly open up onto grand plazas of opulent architecture and spectacular greenery.
Beautiful parks and gardens sat adjacent to busy streets with sleek, mirrored shopping malls. People from all walks of life mingled together on every corner while they waited for the lights to change. I wondered how it was possible for a city of such opposites to keep itself together, but the whole thing had an undeniable rhythm that seemed to be the driving force behind it.
I had been warned by popular legend that Parisians were a surly, unfriendly sort, and that in particular they had no love for the United States or the American people. As with most blanket stereotypes, I found this generalization to be complete nonsense. Although I met some people who were pretty much indifferent to tourists in general, most people were quite talkative and friendly, and none that I encountered were rude or cold toward me.
If you are on your own, your enjoyment of a place is greatly enhanced if you can manage to bond with its people, and I did not find bonding to be a challenge at all in this city. Paris seems to love the single traveler, as many of its residents are young professionals who are in exactly the same boat.
It’s not all lovey-dovey couples and fantasy romance. In fact, I saw very little of that at all, though it has to be said that I wasn’t particularly looking for it.
Instead, what I did discover was a city of excitement that is perfectly suited to the pace of a person traveling alone. There is an overwhelming amount of things to see and do, and if you want to get through any real percentage of it, you’ve got to be efficient with your movements and meticulous with your planning.
This is much easier if you’re on your own, because you don’t have to deal with the logistics of getting more than one person organized. Of course, for some the draw of Paris is not about how much you can get done, but rather how much you can take in. Many people prefer to relax and enjoy the atmosphere, strolling along the Seine or sitting at a sidewalk café.
There is nothing stopping you from going that route, either, and there are enough beautiful and interesting things going on around you that you’ll never feel alone or lonely.
Don’t get me wrong, if you’re heading to Paris with your partner in tow, you’re sure to have a fantastic time as a couple. However, those who are traveling alone can also enjoy the city for all it’s worth – a rich cultural heritage, beautiful architecture, and wonderful people all mix together in a recipe that’s sure to leave you longing to visit Paris again as soon as you possibly can.