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The iconic Paris photo. via riaynmac

The iconic Paris photo.

At the beginning of the year I made a promise to myself, I would spend my 38th birthday alone in Paris.  Now, why on earth would I choose to spend my birthday alone instead of with my friends?  The reason was quite simple, I wanted to get over my reluctance to travel alone and I could think of no greater birthday present to myself than to become okay with being a solo traveller.

The reason why I chose Paris was threefold; 1. It is a non-English speaking country & it was important to me to become okay with travelling solo in places where I don’t speak the language, 2. I have actually been to Paris before so I wasn’t throwing myself into some place completely foreign, although the last time I was there was 6 years ago, so it wasn’t a city I knew well and 3. I have recently developed this strange love for all things French.

It turned out to be a great experience.  I loved every moment I was in Paris.  Not once was I lonely or scared.  In fact I felt very liberated and free. It was great to have an entire weekend where I could be completely selfish. If I wanted to go somewhere, then I did and if I wanted to linger longer some place else, then I did. I indulged my love of Salvador Dali’s artwork for almost the entire of Saturday.  I went to the Pompidou Museum and stood in line for almost 2 hours, just so I could see my all-time favourite piece of art.

The Persistence of Memory

Then I went to the Salvador Dali Museum in Montmartre just so I could see it in sculpture form

I couldn’t have done this if I was travelling with someone else unless of course they were also a huge Dali fan or were extremely patient, but then I would feel bad for dragging them to places I wanted to go & would not spend as long as I wanted just soaking up the art. Also on the Sunday, when I just wasn’t feeling the vibe of the Louvre and just wanted to get out into the sunshine, I couldn’t have just walked out like I did. No, I would have had to stay and would have felt restricted the entire time. I would have missed walking around in the sunshine and probably would not have climbed to the top of the Arc de Triomphe.

As much as I do love travelling with other people, after my weekend in Paris, I have become okay with solo travelling as well.  In fact, I recommend that everyone should do a spot of solo travelling, especially if it is to a city where there are things they want to see and their usual travelling companions do not.

I do warn you that if you go to Paris you will come away hating English tourists, who it seems can barely stop complaining long enough to take a breath and you will also find small children speaking French one of the cutest things ever (I really can’t explain this).

If you are interested in my photos from my weekend in Paris, they can be found here.

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