Karen Fawcett is an American travel journalist who has been in love with Paris since the age of 13. As an adult she�s made her dream come true and now lives in Paris full time. She writes...
Singles traveling to Paris have nothing to worry about. Paris is a great destination for everyone. Families, couples and yes, even a woman traveling solo. French life is not solely � deux (couples only). As a matter of fact, many people report that they have had some of their best adventures while on French soil. Just being able to walk the city and drop into a caf� (and there is one on practically every Paris block) is a great luxury.
newspaper and a chat...
can stand at the bar and order a petit
crème (coffee with steaming hot
milk) and not feel like an interloper.
C'est tout a fait normale (usual), and,
depending on the café and the
time of day, one is often able to strike
up a conversation. The idea that the
French don't like Americans is ludicrous.
Maybe some would prefer to stick to
their own. But others are dying to speak
English. I have made more than one acquaintance
while reading the International Herald
Tribune. As a matter of fact, there
is a regular group which gravitates
to La Coupole (102, Blvd. du
Montparnasse, Paris 75014) to scan the
morning newspapers since a vrai café
(espresso) costs little more than the
selection of papers the restaurant stocks
for its patrons.
does not have to stand to meet people. Head
to the Café Flore (172 Bv.
St. Germaine) or Deux Magots (170
Bv. St. Germaine) and invariably you will
find a lot of singles who would like to
make contact. One knows immediately who
they are. Many are habitués (regulars)
but these two "literary" (and
very expensive) cafes attract tourists from
throughout the world. Some of them are delighted
to join up with others to explore a bit
of Paris or simply take a walk.
wine and music in the park...
bars are a good way to meet single diners.
The new "in" sushi hangout is
Lo Sushi (8, rue de Berri 75008)
Designed by French designer Andree Putman,
it has a Tokyo-syle revolving sushi bar
where diners help themselves. The decor
is better than the sushi, but the restaurant
is a very big hit! Solo travellers should
also consider popping into a wine bar where
people have the same taste preferences or
share a sense of sipping adventure. Try
woman-friendly Juveniles (47 rue
de Richelieu, 75001). Coffee Parisien
(4 rue Princesse 75006) is another place
where one can "eat American" at
the bar and probably meet others suffering
a chili or burger attack! Food and wine
in France tend to be a universal bond. Take
note -- the action starts about 9 pm here
and the weekend brunches attract tout Paris.
are numerous reports of people meeting while
strolling through parks and gardens. My
favorite pick would be the Luxembourg
Garden. During the summer season, there
are late afternoon concerts which attract
singles. Sitting on the edge of the fountain
and renting a tiny sail boat (try not to
have it capsize too many times) is an easy
way to invite a pleasant chat.
walking tours and boat rides ...
you are a good tennis player, the Luxembourg
Gardens is a great place to pick up
a game. Many Americans say that they have
even been invited home for a drink by their
French tennis partners. But one probably
needs to be a better than average player
to garner that honor! (And female invitees
might want to proceed with caution).
structured ways of meeting people are to
go on walking tours (they are listed in
each week's Pariscope guide) and
many are conducted in English. In addition,
there are numerous private groups who make
a business out of conducting tours for Anglophone
ride on a Bateaux Mouches is a sure
way to meet people with whom to tour or
at the very least, spend some pleasant time.
Ditto for the numerous guided bus tours
offered by Cityrama and other companies.
English-language guided museum tours are
an excellent way to encounter like-minded
people and simultaneously get a bit of culture.
All of these companies are listed in the
Pariscope guide available at news kiosks.
libraries and cultural classrooms...
other good meeting places: The frequent
Tuesday night and Sunday afternoon readings
at the woman-owned Village Voice Bookstore
(6, rue Princesse on Paris's Left Bank)
which attracts a lot of Paris-based Americans.
Call to see if there is a reading when you
are in Paris. Tel. 01 46 33 36 47.
forget Shakespeare and Co. (37 rue
de la Bucherie 75005) where it's hard not
to fall over another person who is trying
to find a specific book (which can be a
challenge in this charming but cluttered
Left Bank librairie). For bookworms The
American Library (10, rue du General
Camou) is another institution worth checking
a popular non-profit organization which
offers excellent and diverse activities.
Some are six-week classes but there are
many others available where you can register
for the day. WICE attracks a group of interesting
people who share English as a common language
although many of their participants are
French. To enroll at WICE or to register
for courses, contact the WICE office Monday
- Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The complete
catalog with application form may be acquired
at the office.
Address: 20 boulevard du Montparnasse 75015
Tel: 33 (0)1 45 66 75 50 Fax: 33(0)1 40
65 96 53
poetry and dance...
what better place to meet other solo travellers
(and locals) than at a cybercafe. The latest
in spot is The Web Bar
(32 rue de Picardie 75003 ) Not only will
you find computers here but also a full
schedule of poetry nights, dance displays,
concerts, short films and art exhibits.
M-m-m-m. Who is that lovely man at the next
computer? A perfect opportunity for Journeywoman
to exchange e-mail addresses!
Paris -- an excellent internet resource!
off to Paris and want to read as much about
your destination as you possibly can? Take
a peek at http://www.bparis.com.
Filled with all kinds of perfectly pertinent
info, this sites a winner. Theres
arts and entertainment, restaurants, wine
bars, things to do, French lessons, Paris
centered tips, tips, tips and a whole lot
more. Sign up for your Bonjour Paris newsletter
and the info will just keep coming and coming
Ed. note: Don't go yet. There's still
more to read...
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