Paris transportation makes exploring this sprawling city simple and fun. From the city bus to car rental in Paris to the underground Metro, there is always an affordable way to reach the destination of your choice. While the Metro is a cheap and popular option, you also don’t get to see any of Paris as you speed underground. An underutilized form of transportation is the Paris bus, which with a little extra effort can get you exactly where you want to go and allow you to see the beauty of the city along your journey.
There is no need for a car rental in Paris as the transportation system in the city is very efficient. From the time you land at the airport, you are connected to the Paris transportation system. Taking a train from Charles de Gaulle into the center of Paris is quick and relatively affordable—especially compared with an expensive taxi from the airport. Some travelers choose to book a car rental in Paris for freedom of transportation in regards to timing, a desire to explore the city independently, or because they will be continuing their trip into other parts of France. If you do plan on exploring the option of Paris car hire, beware that many hotels don’t offer guests parking and that especially in the center of the city parking can be hard to come by, so it's best to plan ahead.
The most popular form of Paris transportation is the Metro, and for good reason. Maps at every stop make navigating the underground system simple, and passes can be purchased for multiple rides, or for days or weeks. This is the most efficient way to get from one area of the city to another, and once you’ve arrived, it is then possible to explore on foot. Some visitors to Paris arrive on a train from neighboring European cities such as London or Brussels and explore the city with the Metro, rather then trying at least a few rides on a Paris bus. While the schedule and routes are a bit more challenging than the Metro, the views are often more rewarding.
Although the Metro system is very well-developed, there are still instances where hopping aboard the Paris bus is the most direct way to get somewhere. Within the city, bus routes are two digit numbers; outside of the city, suburban routes have three digit numbers. Maps can be found at Metro stations or in tourist offices. The concierge at your hotel will likely be an important resource in helping you navigate the buses, and you can also download and print route maps before you depart for Paris to be prepared. The price for a single fare is the same as the Metro, so neither option is more expensive than the other. If you plan on using the buses often, you can purchase a stack of tickets that will earn you some savings.
Individual tickets need to be validated when you board the bus, or if you don’t have a ticket, you can purchase one from the driver. Major bus lines run from 5:30 am through midnight, but the Paris night bus operates with limited numbers between these times. Certain buses are especially scenic and have gained a reputation for their pleasant routes. For instance, the number 38 bus runs north to south through the city center and offers great views of the River Seine, the Latin Quarter, and Notre Dame Cathedral. If you’re looking to explore lesser-known districts, the number 96 bus winds through the Right Bank (Rive Droite), including Bastille and the Marais neighborhood. Whatever your mode of travel, Paris transportation makes exploring multiple areas of the city in one day a possibility.
Image: Paris Tourist Office/Amélie Dupont