Easy Ways to Get Around in Paris – Best Public Transportation Options
As one of the most popular destinations in the world, Paris, France, continues to be a place where over 6 million people visit each year. From The Louvre to the Eiffel Tower, there is plenty to see and do in the city. When it comes to getting around, there are a few different modes of transportation that are available to make it easy and convenient to explore the city. Here’s a look at the easiest ways to get around Paris without getting stuck in traffic.
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RER Regional Trains are ideal if you’re traveling to the outlying suburbs of Paris. When you want to visit the top attractions in the area or are heading to the airport, RER trains are also reliable to use when getting around. Electronic ramps are also offered, making the transportation wheelchair accessible. The trains are the best way to travel when you plan to visit the top attractions that include Disneyland, Versailles, Chateau de Vincennes and La Défense. Although the Paris metro system only covers two zones, the RER regional trains cover a more extensive area and reach five different suburban zones, making it easier to reach a wider area.
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The Tramway line is divided into two different sections and is often used by tourists who are exploring the southern part of the city. They start running early in the morning until late in the evening and require RATP tickets and passes. They can be easy to access for those who are in a wheelchair due to their modern design and accommodations.
Perhaps the most popular way to travel in Paris, the metro is the largest subway station in the world. With 300 stations available on 16 lines, the subway runs from 5:30 a.m. to 12:40 a.m. on Sunday thru Thursday and 5:30 a.m. to 1:40 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Each train picks up passengers every two minutes, making it easy to get to different parts of the city quickly without long waits. Single ride tickets and books of 10 or 20 passes are available, which can be purchased at ticket windows at each stop.
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Paris buses are preferred by travelers who enjoy getting a look at the city by looking out of a window rather than going underground and riding the metro. RATP operates the transit buses, and bus maps are available at both tourist offices and Métro stations. Riding on buses is one of the most affordable ways of obtaining transportation in Paris and won’t require you to deal with a driver or tip. Children who are under the age of four can ride for free.
You can get a ride by finding a bus stop after obtaining a T+ ticket. You may have to wait a few minutes for the next bus to arrive and will need to follow the schedule each day to get around.
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Similar to any other city in the world, taxis are a common mode of transportation that has been used for many decades. Taxis run 24 hours a day with 18,000 licensed taxis available in Paris. It’s not only easy to find a cab in all of the districts in Paris, but the drivers are extremely familiar with the area and will allow you to arrive promptly to your destination by taking the quickest route. Tourists can hire a taxi at any of the 500 cab stands or taxi ranks by making a call at a cab stand or by waving one down. Payment is often made in cash, and debit or credit cards are rarely used. Pricing is moderate in the city, but longer trips can be expensive, making taxis more ideal when you need to get to a nearby attraction or your hotel.
You can also find a taxi by walking to the taxi stand and taking the first cab that is in line.
UBER allows you to travel without other passengers in a ride that is similar to a taxi service and will pick you up at any location in Paris. You can request an UBER ride by downloading the app on your smartphone and will be picked up within minutes. The cost of the ride depends on the number of miles that you travel. The car will come directly to you once a request is submitted with a push of a button. Payment is also completely cashless because the app will charge a debit or credit card that is connected to your account, making it easy to tip or obtain a receipt directly on your phone.
Rides are available at any time of the day or night from independent contractors who work for the company. You can rate each driver at the end of the ride.
The shuttle buses are one of the most common ways of getting around in Paris because they’re affordable and run throughout the day. Shuttles are easy to book when you need to get to your hotel from the airport or are headed home and need a ride to the Beauvais–Tillé Airport (BVA), Paris Orly Airport (ORY), or the Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG). Many people choose to have a seat on a shuttle bus because it prevents them from having to have to find parking at the airport or lug their bags through public transit.
For example, Le Bus Direct provides shuttles which connect Paris ORLY and CDG airports to a few major hubs of the city like Etoile Champs Elysées, the Eiffel Tower, the Trocadéro, Gare Montparnasse, and Gare de Lyon. With this shuttle bus you have access to different onboard services. It even includes a baggage handling service for added convenience.
Other shuttle services offer both shared and direct rides, and they can also be used for around-town service and when traveling to non-airport destinations.
You can also find tour shuttle buses which are used inside the city for touristic purpose only.
Shuttle buses are considered to be convenient because hourly service is available 24/7, making it easy to book a ride at any time of the day or night without having to wait.
The tour boats that are available in Paris are one of the most serene and relaxing ways of getting around in the city. Dozens of tour boats are available and travel on the Seine River, highlighting the top landmarks and attractions in the city that you can see from the water. Tour boats enhance the romance that can be experienced while visiting Paris and will allow you to learn the history of each attraction while taking unobstructed photos. Many of the tours also serve dinner and offer fresh air while getting a unique glimpse of the most notable buildings in the area.
The tour boats vary in price depending on the amenities that are available and can often be combined with tickets to nearby attractions. They even have specific themes on certain holidays throughout the year.
Going out of Paris?
If you’re in France for long holidays, you might be tempted to see some other famous regions of France, to taste some wine in Bordeaux, champagne in Reims, crepes in Bretagne, to get some sun on the south coast beaches near Marseille or Nice on the Côte d’Azur.
To reach those places, you have a few options. You can take the plane if you can afford it. If you choose this option, it’s better to book way before in order to reduce the price. A last-minute booking can cost you a lot, especially in the summertime.
Trains or buses can be a good option as well, especially for small budget, as you can find some cheap tickets with companies such as Ouigo (train) or Flixbus and Ouibus. Buses will of course take a longer time to reach their destinations, so try to avoid them for long trips.
For example, you will reach distant Marseille in 3:20 hours and Bordeaux in 2:30 hours with the fastest train (TGV) whereas you can choose the bus to reach nearby destinations such as Reims (2 hours), Lille (3 hours) or even Angers (4 hours).
Everything will depend on the time and the money you have left after your Paris trip. Because you have to remember that, Paris is expensive.