Getting around Paris

ImageParis Metro consists of 16 lines spanning all of the city and its suburbs. The metro is classified into 5 zones, with the first two zones covering Paris and the rest traveling to outer neighborhoods. Each of the lines are identified by a color and a number making it easy to locate the correct line on a map. The direction of travel is marked by the last stop on that line. To make finding destinations easier, the Parisian transport agency (ratp), provides a destination locater on their website under the link “finding your way”. The route locater asks for the address of departure and destination and calculates the fastest and easiest transportation route. Metro stations are easy to find as the entrances to the Paris metro stations are marked with large signs. Once in the station, one can purchase individual tickets for 1.70E or a carnet (pack of 10 tickets) for 12,50E from an agent or electronic machines. With one ticket, you can make one transfer on the train and as many transfers as you want within an hour and 30 minutes on the bus. The weekly or monthly rechargeable  Navigo Pass is also available for those staying Paris for a longer time period. The weekly Navigo Pass costs 18,85E (zones 1&2) and the monthly pass costs 62E (zones 1&2). The metro system runs from approximately 5:30 am  to 1:15  Mon to Thr and Sun and 5:30 am to 2:15 am on Fri and Sat.

Paris Visit Passes are valid for unlimited metro, bus, RER and SNCF train transport over one, two, three or five consecutive days in Paris and around the region. Mobils, one day 2 zone pass for all around Paris. 6,30E for one day. Available at metro stations, Paris’ international airports, and the Office du Tourisme; there is a tourist ticket offered called Paris Visite. Prices range from 9,30 E to 51.20 E, depending on the number of “zones” covered. These and other tourist tickets are considerably more expensive than the conventional weekly Navigo Passes  so if you’re around for a week or more and have a passport photo to hand, consider getting one of these instead.

Paris Noctilien are night buses for when the metro closes. Paris’ Noctilien line covers 42 routes in the city and suburbs from 12:30am to 5:30am. Buses stop anywhere from every 10 minutes to every hour, depending on the route and the day. Stops and buses are indicated by the blue “N” color scheme. Tickets cost 1.70E, or use a Pass Navigo or Paris Visite.

Parisian taxis provide a comfortable and convenient mode of transportation within the city limits. Cab fares start at  2,30 E in the day then for the fourth and fifth person (if you have a fifth person to squeeze)  it is about 3E each. A 10% tip is recommended, but not mandatory. One can hale a taxi from the street or wait for a taxi in a taxi station that are marked by signs. Another important tip to remember is that if the taxi is free, all of the lights on top are completely lit up. If it is not free, the taxi has a little orange bulb lit up.

Batobus  operates a no-commentary, hop-on, hop-off transport service between 8 major Parisian landmarks. Buy your ticket and board at any stop: the Eiffel Tower, Musée d’Orsay, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Notre-Dame, Jardin des Plantes, Hôtel-de-Ville, the Louvre, or the Champs-Elysées. One day passes cost 14E for adults and 6,90E those under 16. Paris Visite Passes are not valid for the ride, but a Carte Orange will get you on a boat for 8E. Departures every 15-30 minutes from 10am to 7 pm in May and 10am to 9:30pm from June to September. Info: 08 25 05 01 01 or


Photo: Bob Bishop


Getting to the Airport  

Shuttle Services

Parishuttle Airport Shuttle Services operate to and from Charles de Gaulle (30E per person, two people 36E), Orly, Beauvais, and  from any airport to EuroDisney. Info: 01 53 39 18 18, or toll free 0800 699 699

Super Shuttle provides to-and-from service to Charles de Gaulle (24E per person, 45 for two people), Orly and Beauvais. Info: 01 43 65 55 55 or toll free  0800 234 679)

Orly Airport

Orlyval Metro From Châtelet/Les Halles, take RER line B (direction St-Rémy-les-Chevreuse) to Antony Station, then Orlyval to Orly Ouest or Orly Sud. From 6am to 11pm. The entire trip takes 35 minutes. Paris/Orly tickets cost 10.25 E for adults, 5 E for children 4-10,

Orlybus goes between Denfert Rochereau (Mº Denfert Rochereau) and Orly South terminal from 5:35am to 11pm. Buses leave every 15 to 20 minutes. Tickets cost 6,90 E for a journey of roughly 30 minutes.

Charles de Gaulle

RER B from Châtelet/Les Halles or Gare du Nord stops at Charles de Gaulle terminals 1 and 2 from 5:30am to 12:45am for 8, 70 E. The trip lasts about 50 minutes and trains run every ten to 15 minutes
Roissybus operates from the corner of rue Scribe and rue Auber in the 9th arrondissement to Charles de Gaulle every 15 minutes between 6am and 11pm. Tickets cost 10E and the trip takes between 45-60 minutes. Mº Opéra

Roissybus operates from the corner of rue Scribe and rue Auber in the 9th arrondissement to Charles de Gaulle every 15 minutes between 6am and 11pm. Tickets cost 10E and the trip takes between 45-60 minutes. Mº Opéra

Airfrance Bus 15E from Etoile to CDG. Children: 7,50E. Round trip 24E. From Montparnasse to CDG (meets in front of Gare Montparnasse) Leaves every half hour from 6:30am-9:30pm from Montparnasse.

Bike Rentals and Tours

The city-wide Vélib’ campaign, short for vélo libre,  features the use of thousands of bicycles available at  rental locations which dot the city at intervals of 300 meters.  Anyone over the age of 14 is welcome to rent a bike 24 hours day.There are three choices that make for all around easy riding. For those whose use is likely to exceed occasional, a year long membership (purchased via post) is available for 29 euros. Visitors are just as welcome to use the cycle system with either of two short-term subscriptions: One day and one week rental plans are available at one euro and five euros respectively; these lesser engagements may be purchased directly at automated rental stations, which offer service in eight languages, including English. In all cases, a 150 Euro security deposit is required, either in the form of cheque (in the case of one-year membership) or as credit-card pre-authorization in the other two arrangements. Note the CC must be the kind with a microchip on it. The system of payment functions on the basis of membership card: a pre-authorization on a credit or bankcard is issued with the initial purchase of the membership at departure. Upon return of the bike to a docking station, the cost of the journey is calculated and debited from the account. Resident users may also choose to combine payment to their Navigo card, with which Vélib’ is also compatible.

Fat Tire Bike Tours rents bikes and gives English-language guided bike tours of Paris “by day or by night.” and also of Versailles. No night winter night tours.  Prices start at 26 E. 24 rue Edgar Faure, 15e, Mº Dupleix. Info: 01 56 58 10 54 or

Bike About Tours hosts outgoing, young-spirited tours in English, bringing its customers out into the open air and into the streets of the Latin Quarter, St Germain des Prés, Ile St Louis, the banks of the Seine, the Louvre courtyard, Invalides, and more. The tour culminates with a picnic of wine and cheese under the Eiffel Tower. These approximately 3½ -hour tours run Mon-Sat, rain or shine, at 10am and 3pm ( from June to August). Meeting place in front of Charlemagne statue at Notre Dame. 30E or 28E for students. Info:    06 18 80 84 92 (in France)+33 6 18 80 84 92 (outside France) 
0 11 33 6 18 80 84 92 (from North America)

Paris à Velo, C’est Sympa offers a variety of three-hour tours in English and French (other languages on request) to groups of 12 or less. The average price for a tour runs from 34 E for adults, 28 E for those under 26 and 18 E for children. 22 rue A. Baudin, 11e, Mº Richard Lenoir. Info: 01 48 87 60 01 or 

Rollerblading  Each Friday at 10pm – unless it rains or the streets are wet – Paris on Rollers organizes a three-hour skate through the city, starting from outside the Gare Montparnasse (pl Raoul Dautry), 14e. Be sure to make arrangements to get home, though, or be prepared to skate back to the hotel: the last metro is at 12:30am. Info: Alternatively, every Sunday at 2:30pm, Rollers et Coquillagesoffers a three-hour skate, departing from Bastille. Info:

Boat Cruises

Bateaux Parisiens Board the Catherine Deneuve, the Jeanne Moreau or the Isabelle Adjani – named after the women who christened them – for an hour-long Seine cruise with commentary. Lunch and dinner cruises also available. 12E for adults, 5E for children under 12, free for children under 3. April to September departures every half hour (except 1:30pm) from 10am to 10:30pm. Board at Port de la Bourdonnais, near the Eiffel Tower. Mº Bir-Hakeim or RER Champ de Mars. Info: 176 641 445 or

Bateaux-Mouches 50 years in business, this is the oldest company running cruises on the Seine. The name – “fly boats” in English -was taken directly from their forebearers: reliable boats that carried Parisians up and down the river before and after World War II. Trips last one hour, and dining cruises available. Commentary available in 8 languages. 11 E for adults, 5,50 E for children 12 and under, free for children under 4. Pont de l’Alma, Mº Alma-Marceau. Info: 01 40 76 99 73 or

Vedettes de Paris Set sail from the Eiffel Tower for a one-hour sightseeing cruise. Dinner cruises on Saturday nights. 16 E adults, 5 E for children 4-12, free for children under 4. Info: 01 47 05 74 53 or

Les Vedettes du Pont-Neuf One of the smaller tour companies, these boats depart from and return to Pont-Neuf after a one-hour tour. Live commentary in French and English. Adults 13E, 6E for children under 12, free for children 4 and under. Reduction for booking on the Internet. Departs Mar-Oct between 10:30am to 10:30pm. Pont Neuf, Mº Pont-Neuf. Info: 01 46 33 98 38 or

Paris Hotspots: Connecting to the web is surprisingly simple and convenient in Paris, a city known more for its artistic culture then technology. Through a partnership with Orange and the city’s government, free Wi-Fi zones have been established in various parks and squares throughout the city. These hotspots keep everyone connected, allowing  one to surf the web and check emails while strolling through parks.  Various restaurants (Mc Donald’s) and cafes also offer their own free Wi-Fi service to clients while some provide the service for a  fee. Starbucks Paris cafes charge 2E  per half hour. You will need a login and password that will be shown on your receipt.

Check out these websites to find Paris hotspots :