For a long time my dream was to go to Europe alone. Aside from being on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette and having a lot of people watching my every move, I had never traveled outside of the United States, nor had I traveled alone. It was really important to me to be able to provide that to myself and do it without a man or a girlfriend.
I decided to shoot the Special Forces filmed in Jordan and then go to Italy. As I continued to experience things, I knew that I would soon be on this dream trip.
My friend Stacy Cousineau is planning a fancy trip and I reached out to her to find out the best places to go. Traveling alone as a woman can seem daunting, so I wanted safety. I also really wanted my first stop to be relaxing. We decided to do Italy all by ourselves, and then I was working at Men’s Fashion Week in Paris, so I went to France with my boyfriend. decided to meet with Adam Woolard of
First we went to Positano and stayed at Villa Franca which is literally on the top floor. It was gorgeous. I have seen pictures of Positano many times on Pinterest and Instagram and it is truly breathtaking. I lay by the pool, had an amazing massage and wore a beautiful Missoni dress. We ate at Chez Black twice and became good friends with the owner. They were so sweet to me.
“My first morning out of the desert,” says Brown, who stayed at Villa Franca in Positano, Italy, after finishing his special forces in Jordan.
courtesy of the subject
Then it’s time to go explore. Because what I’ve learned is the beauty of traveling, being completely immersed without a plan. I am very comfortable in silence and I love people watching.
Next up was Florence, possibly one of my favorite cities I’ve ever been to. I loved the energy there. I loved walking around at sunset. I found Florence very easy to do on my own for walking around, exploring, and stopping at cute little shops. I made friends with the concierge at the Hotel Continental Firenze who helped me get to good restaurants and good areas. I had cacio e pepe everywhere I went. I was hooked. Pasta usually gives me a stomach ache, but I was fine with it and ate it every meal. But one night I had a steak the size of my face. I ate a lot of protein and a lot of carbs – not many vegetables.
“We ate cacio e pepe at Castel Monastero many nights,” says Brown.
The last time I went alone was at the Castel Monastero Resort on the outskirts of Siena. An old monastery in the most beautiful location. It has a lot of history and felt really special. It felt like my own little magical castle. They helped us book a really cool hot air balloon over Tuscany. We also went truffle hunting! We literally chased this dog through the woods to get some black truffles and then had pizza with the truffles we got. I didn’t know I had that kind of experience, but what I learned about myself is that I really like having these kinds of interesting new adventures wherever I go.
Brown having a picnic in the countryside after a hot air balloon ride in Tuscany.
courtesy of the subject
I slept on a mud pillow in Jordan and my skin was very swollen. I was very self-conscious about it. I booked a facial at the Castel Abbey spa, I went there because I had acne and my acne was gone. Some kind of Italian witch magic happened there. My skin has never looked better. The facialist doesn’t speak English, but he knows what he’s doing.
I was thrilled to meet my boyfriend when we met in Nice, France. We stayed at a very famous hotel called Le Negresco and we loved it. The hotel is basically a museum. Each floor has hundreds of artworks on display, so walk through each floor to see all the artworks. They have a beach club on a pebble beach where the water is so beautiful. We had the best time and drank the best drinks. Additionally, I had to order chicken fingers and fries (my favorite food) to be seated. Service was great. We tried to explore a bit, but we loved the beach club and stayed there most of the time.
My favorite place I’ve been to and my favorite hotel was the Villa Galici in Aix-en-Provence. If I could be an ambassador for Villa Galici, it would be. This beautiful house with few rooms made me feel like a character from Beauty and the Beast. The room took us back in time. There is an outdoor terrace where you eat, a small living room space where everyone gathers, and the food by the pool was very good. I loved walking around Provence. Loved the shop, the smell and all the breads. All!
I took the train to Versailles and I love trains so I checked into the Trianon Palace Hotel which is right next to the Palace of Versailles. It was the hottest day when we visited Versailles. It’s a pity that we didn’t get to see Marie Antoinette’s space. We were unable to cross the vast grounds in time. But the guided tour was fun to hear all the history. It was getting hot, so I stopped by Ladurée in the palace and ate macaroons. Then I’m glad I went.
This nearby restaurant, La Tour, was recommended to me and has become one of my favourites. It doesn’t look like much, but we ate there every day. It was the best steak I’ve ever had and, dare I say it, the best dessert I’ve ever had in my life, like bread pudding with salted caramel ice cream.
And finally to Paris! We first stayed at Hotel Costes for a few nights. The bar is a hotspot and very cool. Next up was Hoxton, Paris, where I went exploring by myself while Adam was at work. Seeing the Eiffel Tower right in front of you is a magical experience, especially at night. It may sound touristy, but it’s honestly so beautiful. The Marmottan Monet Museum was also very beautiful. I love cabaret shows and it was definitely my highlight. I went to Moulin Rouge and Crazy Horse Paris and the dancers were amazing.
Hannah Brown at the Louvre Museum in Paris
courtesy of the subject
I also shopped a lot! We spent a few hours at the Dior Museum, La Galerie Dior, learning about the history. I got my hands on a very attractive and very special Dior bag. Don’t miss vintage shopping in Paris. My favorite store is goodJo Paris and I spent the whole day there. Women were very knowledgeable about fashion and clothing. It may sound strange, but I feel more like myself in Europe. I’ve always been conservative in how I dress and being in Europe has helped me stay true to my style. Everyone dresses classic and romantic, which made me feel more confident and put together my outfits.
Traveling alone as a woman has actually been really, really empowering. My biggest point is that the world is so big, there is so much to learn, and there is so much value in traveling. But now a big part of my life is travel, and I know that having these new experiences that give me more perspective on how different people live is the way forward. I think it’s really humbling and beautiful to understand how big is.