Last fall (2015) I planned a trip to Paris with the company STA Travel. As I had been familiar with their services and really admired what they do for students, I felt confident in what I was getting into. They made me feel a little bit more secure with traveling alone as well. I would conclude my semester abroad by visiting France for a week and then return to England to fly home.
Sadly the attacks that occurred in Paris really discouraged me from going. I never forgave myself for backing out of the opportunity and instead promised I'd be intentional about traveling there again.
Knowing my time in Dublin would conclude and I'd have how ever long I wanted to travel elsewhere, I seized this moment to get to Paris after Madrid! I was more than paranoid about going and going alone. Once I booked the flight, I spent hours vetting hostels and studying various routes getting to and from CDG to my chosen hostel. Using transportation in Ireland and Madrid helped me not be so fearful of it. Madrid really helped me understand the metro as well. It couldn't be more simplified.
I left Madrid on the plane to Paris around 7:00am. It wasn't long before we landed and I couldn't believe I was there. Many fears I had about Paris were still present but it evolved into such a positive experience. Regrettably I paid a cab 50 euros to get to my hostel. (I knew better but was being impatient and lazy). I stayed with Generator Hostels which is an awesome hostel chain expanding around Europe. I made friends with my hostelmate and also some people on a group tour. I felt like I knew them before or something.
I was in Paris from August 25th - August 28th. I wouldn't recommend visiting every major attraction Paris has to offer in one day. I wanted to cut my legs off! Three days was definitely not enough time, but I am genuinely pleased with every moment spent there.
I also would like to say what an amazing feeling it is to fight against living in fear. I know that political terror and social issues could really impact the way someone travels. Having done it alone showed me that we don't have time to waste on being afraid of the world and the selfish violent people in it.