Paris is the city of light, the biggest city of France and the 3rd most visited city in the world in 2017 according to a Mastercard study. But most of all, it’s a beautiful and legendary city, famous for its awesome history, its marvelous monuments and museums and its immensely rich culture. It’s everyone’s dream to go to Paris one day. And even if French people and more specifically Parisians are not really known for the most friendly and happy people in the world – which is not that true – Paris is always a good idea. And knowing the ins and outs of getting around in Paris will make any trip less stressful.
If you decide to go there, whether it’s only for one week-end or for a longer period, there are some things you can’t miss, such as the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, the Moulin Rouge, the Catacombs, the Père Lachaise cemetery and so many other places. Know that even if you stay an entire month as a tourist in Paris, there will still be things that you won’t have time to see. Paris is full of magnificent and interesting places. In almost every street you can find something special. Nevertheless, this article is not here to present all the interested activities that you can do in Paris. To find some original things to do and places to see, I recommend you to click here.
When you finally get the chance to go to this magnificent city, one of the main thing to take care of is how you plan to travel when you’ll be there, depending on the airport you’re landing in, on your hotel location. You can find all the information you need online, on the RATP website or on parisinfo.com. If you decide not to plan those things before arriving in the city, they’re of course places you can go to like stations of any kind, tourism information centers and more… To help you not to be lost at the beginning of your stay, here are the main means of transport which you can find in Paris. Paris is an expensive city, so consider a budget flight to start off your trip!
Transportation in Paris
How to Get Around Like a Pro
The Paris metro is the most practical vehicle to move inside Paris in the shortest time. The train schedule is given and numbered of trains run in various directions. It’s the oldest way to move along the city as well as all it covers all the neighborhood areas by moving on 14 different lines. It’s simple: you can go everywhere with the metro. Moreover, it’s the best way to see how Parisian people travel and not just to stay with tourists. It’s hard to get lost in the metro stations because of all the signs guiding users. The metro is mostly underground but some parts are elevated and offer great views of Paris such as line n°6 which crosses the Seine and drives you close to the Eiffel tower.
The map for the entire network is available on the RATP website for the customer convenient. You can also find maps in every station and RATP employees are here to help until late in the evening. Concerning prices, you should know that tickets are the same for metro, tramway, buses and suburban trains, which makes it very convenient. One ticket costs 1,90€, and you have the possibility to buy books of 10 tickets or unlimited passes for a day, a week or a month…
Tramway is a more recent transport network which circulates on a rail. Tramway lines go around Paris’ city center and allow to reach destinations such as Porte de Vincennes or Porte de Versailles. Therefore, most of the famous places of Paris are not reachable by tramway, but from tramway stations, you can easily take the metro or go outside Paris by train or bus. For now, 8 lines are available, but the network is growing and soon Paris will be entirely surrounded by tramway lines. Since tramways were recently constructed, they are modern, clean and even have air conditioning. Besides, they are circulating next to main roads and by taking one of them you have a chance to see less famous areas of Paris.
Suburban Train: RER
Connected to Paris metro in many stations, the suburban train or RER (Réseau Express Régional) allows to go way further outside the city’s heart than the other transport means. It’s made to reach all the suburbs of Paris to permit people who live there to reach the heart of the city and their offices in a minimum of time. Today it covers 587 kilometers and it’s still expanding. There are a lot of RER stations inside the city and you can reach easily and quickly (RER is a train so it’s faster than tramway, bus or metro) some famous destinations which are quite distant from the city such as Disneyland, the Stade de France or the castle of Versailles. So even if you don’t use the RER so often, know that it can be a good alternative solution, especially if you want to reach farther destinations.
Buses are also available so that the 2.2 million people living in the city and the 30 million tourists who come every year can be driven from one place to another. Paris bus network is also managed by the RATP (Regie Autonome des Transport Parisiens) and is constituted of 353 lines. It’s the biggest transport network of the city. Bus stops are available anywhere and anytime, even. Traveling by bus is the best option when you‘re discovering the city, because you can see all the places, streets you are crossing through the window of the vehicle, which is not possible with the metro. If you don’t stay for too long, the bus will be your main alternative to the Metro to see the less touristic places which make the essence of the city.
Boats are the most amazing and enjoyable way to visit a part of Paris. The Seine is Paris’ best avenue. It is a distinctive and special way to travel and joy. You have several possibilities:
First, you can take shuttle boats which can drop you at 8 different stops such as the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Champs Elysees… All the best places, monuments and buildings are located along the banks of the Seine, and traveling from one place to another by taking a boat brings a supplement of beauty and charm to your stay, especially in Paris. You can get an unlimited 2 days pass for 19€ and 10€ for children from 3 to 15 years. All the information is available on the website batobus.com.
Secondly, the other kind of boats are the famous “Bateaux Mouches”. Taking these boats seems like an inescapable activity for tourists in Paris. They are a symbol of the French elegance and way of life.
Other Means: Shuttle Bus, Taxi, UBER
Like in most of the cities in the world, Paris has its Taxis. If they are not as mythical as London taxis, there are very numerous (17924 taxis in 2016) and can still be very useful in some situations. UBER drivers are also available all over the cities, withe cheapest prices and more options: uberPOOL, uberX, uberVAN… Other companies such as Taxify, Lyft, and Chauffeur privé provide the same kind of services. You can also find affordable shuttle bus services such as Le Bus Direct, especially to drive you from or to Parisians airports (Orly or Roissy Charles de Gaulle) when you arrive or when you leave the city.