This epic solo weekend in Paris has made it to my list of favorite travel experiences of 2023. Since it was my 3rd trip to the city of love, I dedicated it to exploring the lesser-known museums in Paris. It was an absolute joy to spend 3 days in the city on my own…

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Solo Weekend in Paris

Traveling to Paris

Visiting the city solo

While this epic solo weekend in Paris took place in January 2023, I should admit that my wanderlust still keeps fueling every time I think of it.

The old cliche tells you that Paris is meant to be a romantic couple’s experience, but somehow I ended up enjoying the city solo way more.

Since it was my third time in the French capital, I dedicated this weekend to the lesser-known museums, and cute local cafes&shops, and simply walked around the city as much as I possibly could: just one glance at the charming streets of Paris – and you already feel it running through your veins!

Someone once said that waking up alone in a new city is the most beautiful feeling in the world. However, I have never truly got it before this solo weekend in Paris.

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First selfy of my solo weekend in Paris (at Motel One Paris Porte Doree)

Thank God my husband is not reading my blog to find out Paris without him felt more inspiring than the one we discovered together lol. What could feel more uncomfortable? – Your family is on the phone complaining about how much they miss you, and you sip a cup of morning coffee at the French bistro, and secretly pray to stay in Paris forever.

It all has made me realize the importance of occasional solo travel experiences. Especially, since no one from my inner circle got the idea of me traveling to Paris alone (even though I had a clear reason to go: I was meeting there a childhood friend, who lives in Canada – we have not seen each other for 10 years). But in my conservative family, no one travels solo for pleasure: neither my husband nor his parents or mine. My in-laws probably thought we were close to divorce if I dared to go somewhere on my own.

I don´t know about you, but for me, it all sounds, like an extra reason to embrace traveling solo …

Going with the flow

When you travel with someone, planning always prevails over spontaneous decisions. But the real wanderlust of new places is about going with the flow, especially when it comes to unmatched European capitals, like Paris.

Cute local shops and secret cafes are waiting for you around every corner. Therefore, for this trip, I have only researched a few lesser-known museums in Paris, the rest of the places on this post have simply crossed my way on the go.

A few times during this solo weekend in Paris I got off at a random metro station and searched online for the nearest high-ranked cafes. Making irrational, intuitive decisions and simply owning those is the best part of any solo travel experience.

By and large, I have spent in Paris 3 days, but the unique experiences of this city break outnumbered those of all my Mediterranean Cruises together. You can check more details via my IG highlight Paris.

Where to stay solo in Paris

I really loved my hotel for this solo weekend in Paris – Motel One Paris Porte Doree: it was both budget-friendly and beautifully decorated. The location was not extremely central, but I felt like it was more of an advantage (since right on the other side of the road there was a huge park Bois de Vincennes, perfect for jogging or having a relaxing morning walk). Also, the metro station was close to the hotel, so sightseeing in Paris was easy anyway.

The last time in Paris with my husband, we stayed at Hotel Notre-Dame Saint Michel a cute boutique hotel with views of the Notre Dame Cathedral. We haven´t used the metro at all (only a taxi several times), because every major landmark was close to our hotel. Living in the heart of Paris felt way less quiet, but had its perks too.

For my future trips to Paris, I have been eyeing Maison Albar – Le Diamand, Hotel Vinci Due & Spa, Hotel Jardins de Cluny, Hotel du Petit Moulin, and Hotel Louis II.

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Floors at Motel One Paris Porte Doree
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A serene park near Motel One Paris Porte Doree

All About My Solo Weekend in Paris

My Epic Paris Weekend – Day 1

Coffee & Croissants

Since my flight from Valencia to Paris Orly arrived in the morning, I left the suitcase at Motel One Paris- Porte Doree and headed to the Paris city center.

After a quick research, I have discovered that the easiest way to get to the city center from Orly Airport was by taking the Orly Bus Shuttle to Place Denfert-Rochereau and then switching to the metro towards Porte Doree (near my hotel). This itinerary has worked perfectly for me.

Once my suitcase was taken care of, I couldn’t miss a chance to have a blue latte with a croissant at a popular Parisian Boulangerie Creative Bo & Mie Louvre Rivoli (address: 91 Rue de Rivoli). I ordered a cup of coffee to go and enjoyed a promenade along the Seine River.

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Parisian Boulangerie Creative Bo & Mie Louvre Rivoli

Passages of Paris

My next stop was Galerie Vero-Dodat, one of the popular Parisian passages from the first half of the 19th century.

These were the French ancestors of malls and were supposed to offer the clientele a comfortable shopping experience. Nowadays, most of the passages have been renovated and are located right in the city center. All of them feel so Parisian and chic.

Other unique passages to check out are Passage des Panoramas, Passage Jouffroy, Passage Verdeau, Gallerie Vivienne, and Passage du Grand-Cerf.

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Galerie Vero-Dodat, one of the popular Parisian passages

Bourse de Commerce – Pinault Collection

While I generally prefer the classy museums of Paris, I really enjoyed the Pinault collection at Bourse de Commerce.

This place used to be a grain exchange, but it´s been restored by the Japanese architect Tadao Ando to showcase the collection of Francois Pinault, one of the world’s biggest collectors of contemporary art.

At this museum, I was also meeting my friend from Canada. After a brief modern-art tour, we headed together to Musée des Arts Décoratifs and the gardens Jardins du Palais Royal (a wonderful place to stroll in spring/summer; in January it was quite average).

Musée des Arts Décoratifs

Located in a wing of the famous Louvre, this museum houses one of the world’s largest collection of decorative arts, organized by different periods: the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the 17 and the 18th centuries, the 19th century, the Art Nouveau, and Art Deco.

We only had an hour and a half to explore Musée des Arts Décoratifs before the closure, but one could easily spend the whole afternoon inside. What I especially enjoyed about this place was the vintage haute couture outfits of the iconic French designers.

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Musée des Arts Décoratifs

Dinner at Grand Cafe Capucines

For dinner, we headed to the nearest Grand Cafe Capucines, a French restaurant with the traditional brasserie spirit. The menu was a bit overpriced, but the food was good. The Parisian-style onion soup and Normandy scallops were both delicious.

Paris Weekend – Day 2

Montmartre

On the 2nd day of my solo weekend in Paris, I was excited to spend the whole morning around the artsy Montmartre.

After visiting the Wall of Love (near Abbesses metro stop), I walked across the charming streets of one of the most iconic Parisian neighborhoods towards Musee de Montmartre. On the go, I had a delicious coffee at Clove Coffee Shop (address: 14 Rue Chappe).

The Montmartre museum is fully dedicated to the centuries of life in this artsy area of Paris: Montmartre used to be a creative hub for all the painters and writers in Paris from the 1870s onward. The museum walls are full of unique paintings and have known famous visitors, like Auguste Renoir, Raoul Dufy, Emile Bernard, Suzanne Valadon, and Maurice Utrillo. At the museum souvenir shop, I bought a cute Paris guidebook So Parisian and Maison Bourgeon Tea La Vie En Rose.

Also, I was lucky to spot a temporary exposition dedicated to Fernande Olivier, a figure of the Parisian avant-garde. She posed as a model for many Montmartre painters and was the companion of Pablo Picasso from 1905 to 1911.

I was honestly surprised that the Montmartre museum was not crowded at all. Then, I passed by Sacré Coeur Basilica and saw where all the tourists were.

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Walking across the charming streets of one of the most iconic Parisian neighborhoodsMontmartre
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A quiet artsy morning at Musee de Montmartre

A la Mere de Famille

My next stop for the day was a delicious chocolate shop A la Mere de Famille (address: 35 Rue de Faubourg-Montmartre).

It is one of the most emblematic (and oldest) Paris chocolate shops for those with a sweet tooth. The store at Montmartre was opened back in 1761 under the reign of Louis XV. I bought a few different boxes of chocolates (as Paris gifts for the family) and one exclusively for myself.

For lunch, I made a quick stop at the cute local cafe La Compagnie du Café (address: 19 Rue Notre Dame de Lorette) and enjoyed their delicious French quiche.

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The oldest Paris chocolate shop – A la Mere de Famille

Musee Gustave Moreau

The whole afternoon was dedicated to Musee Gustave Moreau.

It is probably one one my favorite lesser-known museums in Paris so far. This studio home of the French painter Gustave Moreau is full of unique artworks and interior objects.

The painter lived and worked here from 1852 to 1898. One of the most mysterious things in the museum is the graceful spiral staircase. Again, I was really surprised that Musee Gustave Moreau had only a few visitors, since I found it extremely unique and charming.

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Musee Gustave Moreau – one of my favorite lesser-known museums in Paris

Paris Weekend – Day 3

The last day of my solo weekend in Paris started with a coffee and croissant at Au Bois Doree (address: 270 Av. Daumesnil ) near my hotel. Then I took a metro towards Musee Maillol.

Musee Maillol

This museum contains the largest in the world collection of works of Aristide Maillol. It was opened back in 1995 thanks to the enthusiasm and determination of the artist´s muse Dina Vierny. Part of the museum is dedicated to temporary expositions (during my visit it was a peculiar hyper-realism expo).

Musee Rodin

Right after visiting Musee Maillol, I headed to another popular museum nearby – Musee Rodin.

This art space was probably the most visited one of all the museums I discovered during this Paris weekend. Still, I could easily get in without a previous booking to marvel at the works of the famous French sculptor Auguste Rodin.

The artist used Hotel Biron (where the museum is located) as his workshop from 1908 and then donated it all to the French State. Some of the most emblematic sculptures of Rodin are The Thinker, The Kiss, and The Gates of Hell.

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Visiting Musee Rodin during my solo weekend in Paris

The French Bistro

For lunch, I made a stop at Bistro du Perigord (address: 71 rue Saint-Jaques). I initially picked this place since it was close to my next stop the Cluny Museum. But the food was so delicious and homemade: I ordered the goat cheese salad and duck breast.

Cluny Museum

Cluny Museum is dedicated to Medieval art, which I always enjoy while traveling across Europe. It is mostly famous for the iconic series of six giant tapestries from the 15th century, known as The Lady and the Unicorn.

But to my surprise, at Cluny Museum I have also found some unique ceramic pottery from Manises.

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Unique tapestries of Cluny Museum in Paris

Emily in Paris Filming Locations

While I would not build the whole of my 3-day Paris itinerary around Emily in Paris filming locations, I could not resist a chance to visit a few of them on the go: 5 pl. De L´Estrapade (Emily´s flat) and the nearest Restaurant Terra Nera at 18 Rue des Fosses Saint Jaques (Gabriel´s Restaurant). Needless to say, the area was full of tourists taking pictures everywhere.

On the way back to the hotel, I stopped by the Boulangerie Anthony Bosson (address: 254 av. Daumesnil) to buy my last Paris sweet treat before going back to Spain the next morning.

Also, in the evening I met up for dinner with a friend at JusteLa Brasserie (address: 66 av. du Marechal de Lattre de Tassigny), where I enjoyed a delicious truffle pasta Mafalda.

emily in paris locations
Emily in Paris filming locations

Inspiring Paris Books

Free magazine download

In the airport, I discovered a free Paris magazine with local events and restaurants that one can easily download online for free – Paris Vous Aimes.

Guidebooks and Coffee Table Books about Paris

The Paris Guidebooks I loved at the Montmartre Museum were So Parisian and Quiet Corners of Paris. Afterward, I researched the author Jean-Christophe Napias, and came across his other cute books: The World According to Coco Chanel, Everything (or Almost Everything) About Paris: A Petite Encyclopedia, and Paris au Calme – Calm Paris Guide (French Edition).

Even though my collection of Spain Coffee Table Books is huge, after this solo weekend in Paris I felt inspired to have more French visual inspiration at home. The books I plan to get before visiting Paris next time: The Little(r) Museums of Paris: An Illustrated Guide to the City’s Hidden Gems, Doorways of Paris, Timeless Paris: Ateliers Emporiums Savoir Faire, Paris: From the Air, Paris in Bloom, and Literary Paris.

Cute bookshops in Paris

  • Shakespeare and Company (address: 37 Rue de la Bûcherie)
  • Artazart (address: 83 Quai de Valmy)
  • Sur le Fil de Paris (address: 2 Rue de l’Ave Maria)
  • Librairie Jousseaume (address: 45-46-47 Gal Vivienne)
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Book shops in Paris

Cool Things to Do Solo in Paris:

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Flowers on the streets of Paris

More lesser-known museums in Paris

It´s definitely not my last solo weekend in Paris. Even if you skip the popular landmarks and focus on visiting the lesser-known museums in Paris – you´d need weeks to see it all.

So, these are the secret Paris museums I would love to check out next time:

  • Musee Cognacq-Jay ( a beautiful 16th-century mansion, full of unique objects collected by Ernest and Louise Cognacq-Jay in the 18th century)
  • Musee de la Chasse et de la Nature ( a museum of hunting weapons, costumes, and trophies from the 17th-18th centuries)
  • Maison de Victor Hugo ( the apartment where the famous French writer lived with his family for 16 years)
  • Musee de la Prefecture de Police ( a museum of the Paris Police history with more than 2000 rare documents starting from the 17th century)
  • Muse Zadkine ( a museum dedicated to a Russsian-born artist Ossip Zadkine, who is known for the unique sculptures from wood and stone)
  • Musee Cernuschi ( a unique collection of Asian art of the Italian-born politician Henri Cernuschi)
  • Musee Nissim de Camondo (the house-museum of the Count Moise de Camondo, which reflects the typical luxury interior of 18th century France)
  • Musee de la Vie Romantique (the house museum of the 19th-century portraitist Ary Scheffer)
  • Musee Marmottan Monet ( the Parisian museum housing the largest collection of Claude Monet in the world, set inside a former 18th-century hunting lodge)
  • Musee Yves Saint Laurent Paris (a relatively-new museum, inaugurated in 2017, and dedicated to the French designer Yves Saint-Laurent)
  • Musee National Jean-Jacques Henner ( a museum dedicated to the French painter Jean-Jacques Henner)
  • Maison Caillebotte in Yerres ( a large country estate of the painter Gustave Caillebotte)

How about you? Would you like to experience Paris solo?

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For more Paris travel tips check my Pinterest board France Travel Stories & Tips.

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