We all know that Paris is not the average city.
Getting around Paris is everything but ordinary too. If you’re planning a short/long weekend in the “most romantic city”, you need to have the transport optimized – and we are here to help.
First, you need to know the basics – Paris is huge, divided into 20 districts. It is best to explore the map of the landmarks, gain a basic idea where you want to go and choose accommodation that will be most suitable for your vacation. If you know a starting point and an end point, it would be much easier to decide how to get around the city. Here is a list of all the acceptable means of transportation, where 1 is the best option and 8 is “crazy people only”:
- Walking – Probably the best way for getting around Paris. You will save time from transferring between Métro lines, going up and down endless flights of stairs and busy hours when you can’t seems to get on a train. Walking let’s you experience the city at its fullest – you will see not only the top attractions, but small alleys and cafés too. This is actually the only smartest way in getting around the very centre of Paris. You can combine with Métro, but don’t be fooled to take the public transportation for less than 2 stops as you will lose more time and might even be more tired afterwards.
- Métro – The underground system in Paris is well developed and connected. There are 16 metro lines, and 5 commuter trains. A single fare ticket costs €1.70. You can also buy a carnet of 10 tickets for €13.30, or an e-card for day/week/month. Keep in mind that this cards are also area-specific. This means that you will need to choose the districts where you will travel in advance. A day ticket for zones 1-2 is €6.60. For travellers under the age of 26, there is a special ticket (Jeunes 26) that you can purchase for use on the weekends or holidays. Keep in mind that changing lines can take up to 10-15 minutes, even on the same station. If you purchased a card for the Métro only, be careful when using the RER as exits are different and on the same stop it can charge for a suburban ride. There are ticket inspectors everywhere and you check out with your ticket/card.
- Bike – If you don’t like public transportation and want to get to the very centre faster than walking, this is probably the best way. In the latest years Paris has become more welcoming towards cycling and apart from some bike lanes, cyclists can also use the ample bus lanes on the boulevards. That makes it much safer for both drivers and bikers. There are some options for renting a bike if you didn’t take yours.You can try Velib – the municipal programme. You can find bike stations around every corner. Pay a flat rate for a 1 or 7 day ticket, then pay according to the use. If you return the bike in 30 minutes, you don’t get charged. For as little as €1.70/day, you can have a bike with you. Keep in mind that a €150 deposit will be blocked or charged (then returned) on your bank card when you take the bike. This amount will be later unblocked/restored but that might take 10-15 days. If you prefer to rent a bike for the whole weekend, that can cost you around €25. A deposit fee depends on the location where you rent the bike.
- Bus – A complex network of buses is available. Ticketing works the same way as in the Métro, so you will not be shocked. There are displays noting the stops and overall this kind of public transportation is really tourist-friendly. It might be useful to learn in advance the night bus lines and schedule, if you plan on staying late. You can also take a bus to explore the city. It is much cheeper than the touristic bus and more genuine. If you do want to try the Paris L’Opentour Bus, keep in mind the price – €31/day pass (€36/2 days).
- Boat – A boat tour is one thing – you can board one for dinner if you feel extremely romantic. But getting around in Paris can be done on a boat too. As well as providing easy, cheap transport to much of central Paris, excellent photo opportunities abound. The boats circulate around the main tourist attractions and you can buy a 1 or 3-day ticket, depending on your preference.
- Scooter – You can rent a scooter or a motorbike, but only do that if you are experienced driver. The problems with parking and traffic should be enough to make you reconsider the idea. But if you want to go to a bit distant sights, this might be a good option.
- Taxi – Only think of this option at night – as there is no traffic, the ride will be comparatively cheap. But do not expect to see hundreds of taxis everywhere – finding one can be quite the challenge.
- Car – Just don’t. This is the most common sentence you’ll hear when you tell someone your plan for getting around Paris with your car. If you arrive by car, just leave it at the nearest parking and forget about using it until leaving. You will be happier that way.