Making Magique

Paris is for lovers. Unless you’re single. Like I was for the nearly two years I lived there. It was always a jab to my heart, like a deliberate and personally directed taunt, to see couples canoodling in dark café corners, pressed intimately together along the quais of the Seine, or just shopping at an outdoor market on a Sunday afternoon. Oh lovers, how very nice for you.

Lost in Cheeseland

Then a year after I left Paris, I returned. With a man. And indeed it was a different experience. But as happy and, oui, sometimes smug, as I felt during that week of amour, I also realized that the old adage is true: the grass is always greener.


Every moment I basked in my City of Loooove romance was rudely followed by the memory of something I was missing from my solo days. It made me realize: no relationship is perfect.


Strolling arm in arm v. zipping about on a Velib
Not to state the obvious, but Paris is a city for flaneurs. With details to absorb, facades to admire, and gardens to step into, the streets are made for walking. And if you can do it by someone’s side, it’s all the more enchanting.

MjYj & ribo26

But speaking of enchanting, have you ever pedaled through the Marais on a Velib with no one but the midnight moon as your companion? Trust me, it’s pretty magical.

Carin Olsson

Staring into each other’s eyes v. watching the world go by
There’s no better feeling than being the apple of someone’s eye. You feel beautiful, smart and witty—like there’s no one else in the world who compares. Paris encourages these blatant displays of being fascinated with one another. Couples sit in cafes and restaurants all the time as if their attraction is the evening’s entertainment.

Burlap Jacket

And, finally! I got to sit across the table from my man, and feel that “well, aren’t we special” spotlight on me. But it also made me realize how fun (and funny) it is to be on your own, observing all those silly couples fawning over each other.


Spontaneous ducking behind statues and shrubs for gross PDA v. spontaneous popping into vernissages, cute shops and wine bars just because
Of all the things I pined for while living a solo life in Paris, it was that moment of being reckless, giddy and throwing all caution (and dignity) to the wind for a public make-out session. That’s what Paris is there for, right?!

Making Magique

The flip side, I realized, is all those days and nights that I strolled, sauntered and absorbed Paris on my own, I could do anything I wanted on a whim. I didn’t have to take anyone else’s desires, feelings or preferences into account. Which led to more than one single girl’s memorable adventure.

clok_moitie & Making Magique

Having someone to share half the calories v. eating anything and everything you want
It was a beautiful discovery while I was in Paris with my man that he was willing to split every pastry I ogled, every cheese plate I eyed, and every carafe of wine I couldn’t finish. I got to indulge in twice as many almond croissants, sample five instead of three cheeses, and order more than my modest pichet of wine.

Carin Olsson

Then again, I had to show some restraint. There were days in Paris during which all I ate for 24 hours were croissants and cheese… and there’s nothing terribly sexy about those aftereffects.


Written by Amy Thomas for the HiP Paris Blog. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, London, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.


Amy Thomas

Amy Thomas is a sweets-obsessed writer based between New York and Paris. She published her best-selling “foodoir” (food writing meets memoir), Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate). This was followed up with the 2018 book Brooklyn in Love: A Memoir of Food, Family and Finding Yourself. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, T Magazine, New York Post, National Geographic Traveler, New York Magazine, Town & Country, Bust, Every Day with Rachel Ray and others.


  1. Hey.
    Thank you for having mentioned my name by using one of my photos. And for linking it to my Flickr gallery.
    One last effort: ask for the authorization of the photographer beforehand! It’s nothing at all.
    Especially in this particular case, of a commercial purpose: you sell your own services but you use free of charge the others images — or am I the only one?

    1. Hi there, we apologise for not having asked beforehand – we usually do. Would you prefer that we take it down? Thanks!

  2. Thank you again for this post, Amy! There are definite pros to both sides of the relationship coin while in Paris.

  3. So very true!

    My husband is posted to Paris for work and when I initially arrived, with zilch knowledge of French, I was always envious of those who had someone to explore the city with for my husband was at work and I had to move around on my own.

    Although now I still enjoy finding new places to eat, and shopping with my husband, i am beginning to enjoy the times I am alone in the jardins, marchés and quaint streets

  4. Ahh yes… Paris and all its romance. I arrived here 1.5 years ago with a boy who never really enjoying living here and hence I have now been a single girl in Paris for 4 months! Both have their advantages but I am still trying to get into those ‘carefree’ activities you mentioned. It’s always easier if you have someone to drag along with you!!

  5. I hear you, Amy! Definitely had my greatest romance in Paris, but I feel like it almost distracted me from the city itself. At the end of the day, I think I prefer to lone-wolf it there.

  6. Nice post, Amy. You have a way with words. In fact I’d say you have several ways with them, each more impressive than the last.
    You made me feel very lucky that I have someone with whom I can share being together without the world while watching the world go by at the same time.

  7. I’ve done Paris by myself, with girlfriends, with a best guy friend and had one short but sweet fling–I can’t wait for the day when I can go on a “romantic weekend away” in Paris, but I don’t know if it will ever quite match up to all the other amazing experiences I’ve had in the city. And what if he doesn’t like Paris? Mon dieu!

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