Walk. Everywhere. It’s fast, dependable and free. I typically walk 10,000 steps minimum on any day in Paris and have on occasion done 20,000+. There is no better way to soak up the French culture than by walking the arrondissements on foot. Enjoy the journey!
One of my favorite moments in Paris was when we were riding the Metro and sat beside a woman who was using her commute time to sketch the people in the car with us (see picture above). It’s these type of experiences you won’t get in a taxi or Uber.
Paris is a walking city but there will be times when you need to get somewhere far away or it’s raining and then you should take one of the trifectas of public transportation: Metro, bus or RER train. Unfortunately, Paris hasn’t implemented “tap to pay” for their public transportation like the UK has. You still have to buy a paper ticket at the local convenience store or automatic machines at transportation stations. Info here: Metro map of Paris and the île-de-France region | RATP. Video to check out if you are a visual learner: https://youtu.be/Q6PLqFIvqWY how to get around Metro and RER video.
Caution: you must validate your ticket for subway and RER train in Paris. We saw a couple sitting next to us get a 35 Euro fine a piece because their tickets weren’t validated when security walked through and checked everyone. Being validated means you put in your ticket at stations to open gates and go to your platform. Leaving Versailles today, I checked my ticket after I went thru the gate and it didn’t show validated, so I went to the service desk, and they had to do it for me and then let me back through. Avoid fines. Check your ticket.
G7 are the official taxis so look for the G7 placard before you get in. Don’t think you can just wave down a taxi on the street. Either get your hotel doorman to get you one or use the G7 app. The train station and some major tourist sites/shopping areas will have a taxi stand so get in line and wait your turn. We’ve used Uber more than taxis in Paris. On one eventful Uber trip, we were in the car and driving toward our destination when the driver pulled over and asked us to get out so that he could do a quick U-turn and escape a protest that had popped up nearby. He didn’t want any harm to come to his beautiful Mercedes, which I can appreciate but it was quite the adventure. Leaving the car, we saw the protest quickly catch up to us and, as we ran in the opposite direction, the tear gas exploded nearby. Quite the story to tell when we returned home. Strikes and public protests are very common in France as a means for citizens to express their displeasure at the government. When these happen, transportation is disrupted, and walking is always your best option.
Everyone visiting Paris has to take a boat ride on the Seine. This can be as quick and easy as a boat taxi (just go to boat stand on the river to get a ticket and then hop on and hop off as you desire) or as long and expensive as a dinner cruise. Choose one but experiencing Paris from the Seine is a “must do” for any first-time visitor. Book dinner cruises in advance on TripAdvisor/Viator after you see the weather forecast.
You’ll be flying into Charles De Gaulle (CDG) or Orly (ORY). Paris traffic is terrible so I recommend public transportation that is not only cheaper but faster. Check out all your options here for both airports: Access, maps, routes – Paris Aéroport (parisaeroport.fr).
Arriving by train? Then just use the Metro (subway) system to get to where you are going from the train station.
Transportation apps that I have found helpful:
- G7 for taxis
- Paris Metro for subway
- Citymapper to get around walking
- Rome2rio for transportation
- FLUSH for public bathroom
- Toilettes Paris
LOSE A PASSPORT?
I hope you never lose your passport, but it happens. If you do, it’s best to be prepared with the knowledge of what to do:
- Pack a photocopy of your passport and keep in separate place in your luggage for safe keeping.
- Go to the US Embassy located right near the Place de Concorde next to the Hotel de Crillon.
- Arrive early by 8 am (no appointment needed for emergencies).
- Process takes a few hours at best so plan accordingly.
- No cell phone allowed in the Embassy so leave it at home or they will hold for you while you get business done.
- There is a photo booth onsite to take a passport photo or even better, travel with an extra passport photo with your photocopy of your passport.
- Cash or card to pay. No ApplePay or GooglePay.
- You’ll get an “emergency” passport that day to travel home with.
- Good luck!
One thought on “Paris-Getting Around Town”
We really enjoyed our visit there .We walked around all the time and such an amazing site . I found your site and let’s follow mine .Anita