Paris is an open-air museum and walking is definitely the best way to appreciate its architectural beauty, picturesque views and teeming life, which have made it world-famous.
However, it should be noted that Paris is also a very large city and it is unthinkable to move around exclusively on foot, especially if you want to reach attractions outside the centre.
Instead, we advise you to walk as much as possible within the individual districts to admire the French capital in all its splendour.
Despite its size, it is still really easy to get around Paris, using an efficient and well-organised public transport network.
The city is made up of 20 arrondissements or districts: the 1st is the heart of Paris, where the Louvre is located and from here, all the others spiral outwards. The main attractions of Paris are spread over the various arrondissements, which is why using public transport is practically indispensable. For instance, the Eiffel Tower is in the 7th, Montmartre in the 18th, Notre Dame in the 4th or the Champs-Élysées in the 8th.
The fastest and cheapest means of transport to get around Paris is the metro, which branches out into the Paris underground with 16 lines connecting the city’s various arrondissements.
Added to these is the Orlyval line, the light surface metro line connecting Paris-Orly Airport with Antony station.
Each line is identifiable by number, colour and direction, while the entrance to metro stations is marked by a sign reading Metro or simply M.
The Paris metro is the third longest in Europe: it boasts more than 300 stations with an extension of 200 km and is preceded only by those of London and Madrid. Parisians say that there is nowhere in Paris more than 500 metres away from a metro station.
The Paris metro runs from 05.30 to 01.00. The first train leaves at 05.30 and the last one arrives at the terminus at 01.15. We therefore advise against entering the metro after 00.30.
On Friday and Saturday evenings, as on public holidays, the metro closes an hour later and the service is guaranteed until 02.00.
Although they are slower than the metro and can get stuck in traffic, buses allow for closer stops, ideal for short distances. Moreover, as they travel on the surface, they allow you to see the city from the window, passing through historic districts. Please note that you can use the same tickets for bus travel as for the metro.
The bus network is well organised and branched, and bus stops are signposted by a bus shelter that provides travellers with various information: the name of the stop, the number of lines passing through and the waiting times of the various buses.
Individual tickets can be purchased directly on board and must always be validated.
Bus timetables vary depending on the line. They normally run from Monday to Saturday, from 06.00 to 20.30, although the main lines run until 00.30, when they are replaced by night buses.
Please note that on Sundays and public holidays many lines do not operate or have a reduced number of trips.
If, on the other hand, you need to get to the airports at night, know that:
For journeys from 00.30 to 05.30 in the morning, there are the Noctilien, the night buses that run with a frequency of 10-15 minutes on weekends and 15-30 minutes on weekdays.
You can recognise them easily by the letter N in front of the identification number. The night bus network consists of 42 lines, connecting the four main stations and numerous places with intense nightlife activity such as the Champs-Élysées, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Bastille, République, Pigalle, Place de Clichy.
The RER (Regional Express Network) is a train service connecting the suburban area of Île de France with the city centre.
It is normally used by commuters living in the Paris metropolitan area but is also necessary for tourists wishing to reach destinations not served by the metro, such as the Palace of Versailles or Disneyland Paris.
The Paris railway network consists of five lines, with more than 250 stations and almost 600 kilometres of network. The RER lines are easily recognisable because they have letter names: A, B, C, D and E.
RER trains run regularly from 05.30 to around 1.20 at night. TheOrlyval, which connects Antony station to Orly airport, runs from 06.00 to 23.30.
In general, the lines of interest to tourists and travellers are:
Paris boasts an extensive and efficient public transport network, allowing you to reach every corner of the city quickly and cheaply.
However, you may need to use a taxi: at night, when the metro closes and the frequency of night buses is inconvenient, to reach airports in time for early morning flights, or with very young children who are difficult to manage. In these cases you can resort to a taxi, which can be recognised by the Taxi Parisien sign, red if it is busy, green if it is free.
In addition to the classic arm raised to attract attention at the roadside, Paris is equipped with numerous taxi stations that can be reached by consulting the updated map.
Alternatively, you can book a ride using the TAXIS G7 mobile app, available for Android, Apple and Windows: it is the largest taxi company in the capital, with more than 8000 vehicles available.
The cost of a taxi service in Paris is influenced by several variables: day, time, kilometre distance and zone are the parameters that most influence fares. In fact, as in many large European cities, at certain times and in certain areas, one faces inevitable waits in traffic in Paris.
Parisian taxi fares are divided into:
As an alternative to taxis, you can also book an Uber, a private transport service popular all over the world: the car is booked through a mobile application that connects passengers and drivers.
If the weather is fine and you want to combine an urban journey with a cruise on the Seine, you can consider the Batobus: these are regular boats that make several stops in the most beautiful parts of Paris and allow unlimited boarding and disembarking.
To use the service, you need to buy a daily card that entitles you to unlimited rides. In this way, you can reach some of the most important monuments along the Seine and experience the experience of travelling by river.
The boats run every 20-25 minutes and you can hop on at any of the stops, including the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Notre Dame, Musée d’Orsay. Unfortunately, the Batobus is excluded from tourist passes.
A really nice and ‘very Parisian’ way to explore the city is to rent a bicycle.
If you are planning a trip to Paris in a nice season, then this could be a viable option to public transport, especially if you are on holiday with children and teenagers.
Paris lends itself very well to being explored by bike: endless kilometres of bike lanes, a magnificent riverside, many parks and the possibility of being outdoors while visiting the city at the same time!
For some years now, the Vèlib’ bike-sharing system has revolutionised transport for Parisians, who have enthusiastically accepted this environmentally friendly solution for getting around the city.
With 1,800 rental points scattered around the city, providing between 20 and 70 bicycles, 370 km of cycle paths and 20,500 bicycles available, this bike-sharing scheme has won over not only the inhabitants of Paris but also the tourists who are increasingly choosing to visit the city on two wheels.
To access the service, you need to register online and download the relevant app, which is indispensable for finding the exact locations of the stations and checking that they are free.
Thanks to your credit card, you can rent your bike at the station points by paying a pick-up fee (daily or weekly) plus the cost for use: the first 30 minutes are free and then you pay according to the number of hours you rent.
Upon return, if the station is full by inserting the card in the terminal you will have another 15 minutes to reach another rental point. The service is reserved for people over the age of 14.
Some districts of Paris have joined this wonderful project to return the city to its inhabitants: during weekends and holidays, areas such as the Canal Saint Martin, the Marais or Montmartre close to traffic to allow pedestrians and cyclists to move freely.
City Card allow you to save on public transport and / or on the entrances to the main tourist attractions.