Getting Around in Paris

Being one of the most beautiful cities in the world, it is essential for any visitor to Paris to be able to make the best of the opportunity and see as much of the city as possible. And getting around Paris is much easier than any other populated city.

Walking would be the best option, provided one has a good idea of the city layout, as it gives a visitor ample time to breathe in and absorb the beauty the city has to offer. Also, Paris proper is actually very compact, about 6km wide, and walking is reasonably easy. Of course if it’s too tiring there are always plenty of other travel options to choose from.

For safe and fast transportation the Paris Metro is the best option. Comprising of 200 kilometres of rail track it covers 370 stations. Lines are numbered 1-15 direction of which is indicated by the last station on the line. In order to reach a specified destination it might be necessary to change lines although this does not involve purchasing of additional tickets.

The RER trains extend public transport to the suburbs of Paris. The five lines A-E operate from about five thirty in the morning till about half past midnight (like the Metro) and Metro tickets can be used when travelling inside Paris. For travels outside the Paris area, such as to the airport and Disneyland Paris, special RER fares and tickets apply.

For a more entertaining journey try the Paris bus system; this offers better views of the city and makes it easier to get accustomed to the city layout. Maps indicating bus routes are available at bus shelters as well as the Metro stations. Buses generally function from 6:30 am till 8:30 pm with a few extending their services till past mid-night. Metro tickets can be used to travel in the buses as well.

Tickets for the Metro, bus and RER can be purchased at subway stations, bus terminals and registered retailers displaying the RATP sign, and a booklet of ten offers a good saving. And although using the Metro requires only one ticket the bus would require more than one depending on the number of stages of the journey. Special buses such as the Noctambus or the Roissybus have higher fares and ticket for these busses can be purchased only on the specific bus. A Paris Visit, a special pass, offers an unlimited number of trips on all types of Parisian public transport. So for those who wish to travel around a lot using the public transport system, this would be the best option.

A taxi is a good option if you are pressed for time or if privacy is preferred. Otherwise it’s not the most convenient option as it’s difficult to just hail one on the street. Taxis are generally found in multitudes outside train stations and airports and outside restaurants and nightclubs in the evenings. Taxis charge additional fees at train station ramps, for extra luggage and even for a fourth passenger.

A Paris L’Open bus tour is an easy way to see the city. It provides commentaries in English and French and offers the flexibility of descending and ascending the next bus when the passenger is ready to continue with the journey. The full journey lasts two hours fifteen minutes and Paris Visit cardholders receive a discount.

Lastly, avoid the Metro and the RER during the rush hour: 8:00-10:00am and 5:00-8:00pm. Best option is to walk as even some bus lines can get really crowded. The most over crowded Metro lines are 1,2,4,11,12 and 13 and Metro lines 6 and 2 offer an added advantage of impressive views of the city as they run mostly above ground.

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