What do you think of when you hear “solo travel?” A few years ago, my answer may have been fear, but today, it is freedom! When I tell someone my plans to go to Destination XYZ by myself, they first ask who I am going with and then this follows: “You’re going ALONE?” Like that’s a shocking or horrible thing. Then they think they can do me a favor by pairing me up with someone. Why would I want to travel with someone I don’t know? What if I don’t get along with this person and I’m locked into a week long trip? I don’t think so. Thankfully, with only three solo trips behind me, the pair up conversations are done. Yes, I’m going alone. I want to keep it that way, besides, with how slow I walk, no one would want me slowing them down. Less than a decade ago in 2009, I was traveling to Amsterdam with two other friends. On our same flight was a flight attendant co-worker who decided to take advantage of her flight benefits and head overseas. I was amazed that she was traveling alone. Yes, I knew people did it, but I didn’t think I could be one of them. That was 2009, and my first international solo trip was in 2015 to Paris. Last year I went to Germany, Prague, Vienna and Budapest, and this year, I went to Australia. Loving it!!! Below is a picture of me with my pre-departure champagne on my recent flight home from Sydney, in United’s new Polaris Business Class. That was a nice treat, I ate, drank, napped, watched movies, napped again, you get the idea. Much better than coach and made the long flight so much better!
Enjoying my champagne on my flight home from Sydney!
When most people think of visiting Paris, the common attractions that come to mind are the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame or a cruise on the Seine. These were on my list as well, but along with that, I wanted to visit the catacombs. Some may find this a bit macabre, me too. It is sad enough visiting cemeteries, but to see the skeletal remains of more than six million people is a little eerie. I had to visit.
Traveling back to Paris was my first international solo trip, so I wanted to splurge on a nice hotel with a view, and within walking distance from the Eiffel Tower. After searching the internet, I found where I wanted to stay, The Pullman Hotel near the Eiffel Tower. No, this isn’t a sponsored post, I paid for my room, and it was well worth it. Being a female, alone in a city I hadn’t been to in almost thirty years (and the first time with my fluent French speaking aunt), I wanted to feel safe. At my age, I’m wasn’t doing a hostel and or sharing a bathroom. Since I also have some hip problems and arthritis, I wanted to be close of my main attraction. Only a few blocks away from the Eiffel Tower was just perfect for me. After I bought my plane ticket, I booked my hotel and upgraded to a room with a view.
An overcast day in Paris is still a fabulous day to visit the City of Light. The weather became a little moody on my last afternoon, which really helped with the lines to the top of the tower. This is a view of the Eiffel Tower from the Pont de la Concorde with Pont Alexandre III in the distance.
Well, like I posted last winter in “A Promise to Myself”, I was quite ready to move out of Minnesota and become a snowbird, which just wasn’t realistic right at this point. As the title of this post shows…that didn’t happen! The snow last year was such an issue, my tiny little Chevrolet Aveo got stuck about 5 times. I know it’s not the most realistic car to own in Minnesota, but when we pay for plowing, I should be able to get out to the highway. So, this fall, with the fear and dread of getting stuck again this year, I bought a new vehicle. Did I really need it? No, but it was a nice treat, and now I can get through even if the plow guy doesn’t make it.
Have you ever thought about what’s behind what they call “La vie en rose”? The City of Light is made of glorious stories behind a glass of wine. Romantic and sophisticated, the French capital offers hundreds of wine bars across its 20 districts. From the friendly Amelie Montmartre to the chic Saint-Germain-des-Prés, the city knows how to engage travellers thanks to its charming and local wine bars (sometimes half bar, half restaurant) where it will be easy to lose track of time. Because I love this city and happiness, this is my personal guide to the first 10 Parisian arrondissements — I left the selection for the other 10 districts in case anyone wants to discover them by themselves.