Paris Hop on Hop off Bus Tours

Hop on the Paris sightseeing bus and tour this huge city in one tour. Very useful to get to know the areas that you can visit later on your own.

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

10 min read

Paris Hop on Hop off Bus Tours

Tourist bus passing through the Opera Garnier | ©veroyama

There are many ways to tour Paris and they all have something special. Using the sightseeing bus is an economical way to tour Paris "at a glance" and to locate the main points of interest in the city.

The best sightseeing buses in Paris

Sunset from the Seine River
Sunset from the Seine River

Due to the high tourist influx and the long distances within the city, there are several routes and bus companies covering the French capital. I'll tell you all about them to make your choice as easy as possible:

The Paris Big Bus tourist bus

Big Bus Paris| ©Chris Sampson
Big Bus Paris| ©Chris Sampson

I recommend the Big Bus because the tour is quite complete, because the views of the city are panoramic and because there are many amenities offered for a reasonable price.

Classic route

It is the route that passes through the center of Paris. It consists of 10 stops and covers 12 places of tourist interest. The complete tour lasts about two hours. In summer it starts at 9:30 am until 8 pm and in winter it starts at 10 am and lasts until 7 pm. The bus frequency in summer is 5 to 10 minutes and in winter 15 to 20 minutes.

The places of interest you will pass by are the Eiffel Tower, the Champs de Mars, the Palais Garnier, the Paris Opera, the Louvre Museum, the Pont des Arts, the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Orsay Museum, the Champs Elysees, the Grand Palais and the Trocadero Square.

Route through the Montmartre district

Montmartre is the most picturesque district of Paris, cradle of painters and artists and full of emblematic and bohemian cafes. The frequency of the tour buses that include this route varies between 15 and 20 minutes. It starts at 10 a.m. with the first bus and ends with the last one around 7 p.m. (the end time may change depending on the time of the year).

This route, departing from Gare du Nord, lasts one hour and passes by the Louvre Pyramid, Pigalle, the Sacré-Coeur Basilica, the Grévin Museum, the Boulevard de Montmartre and the Moulin Rouge.

Book the Paris Big Bus Tourist Bus

Paris Toot Bus

Views of the pyramid of the Louvre Museum.
Views of the pyramid of the Louvre Museum.

The Toot tourist bus option is the yellow and blue buses that you are going to see in the city, which with its 3 different routes will allow you to go all over Paris.

Blue route

It is the longest of all, as it includes a total of 19 stops and passes through 12 places of interest. The total duration of the tour is 2 hours and 20 minutes, it has a frequency between 15 and 20 minutes and buses begin to pass at 9:30 in the morning and end around 19:30 at night. If you are going to use the tourist bus to tour Paris enjoying its panoramic views, this is the most complete option.

The sights you will see are the Palais Garnier, the Louvre Museum, the Pont-Neuf, the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Musée d'Orsay, the Place de la Concorde, the Champs Elysées, the Arc de Triomphe, the Place du Trocadéro, the Eiffel Tower, the Champs de Mars and the Invalides.

Red route

From 9:30 am to 5:30 pm the buses that run this route pass every 15-20 minutes through 9 stops with 6 places of interest further away from the center of Paris. The entire tour lasts an hour and a half.

During this tour you will learn about: Les Grands Boulevards, Place de la Republique, Canal Saint-Martin, Palais Garnier, Pigalle and Moulan Rouge and Gare du Nord.

Green route

This route focuses on the two small islands located in the center of Paris: Île de la Cité (where Notre-Dame is located) and Île Sant-Louis. It lasts one hour and 20 minutes and the frequency of passage is 25 to 30 minutes, from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm.

On this tour you will have the opportunity to enjoy the Notre-Dame Cathedral, Rue de Rivoli, the Hotel de Ville, the Pantheon, the Place de la Bastille, Ile Saint-Louis, the Saint Germain des Pres district and the Montparnasse district.

Book the Toot de Paris tourist bus

The Paris Big Bus night touristic bus

Paris by night| ©Davide Mainardi
Paris by night| ©Davide Mainardi

Paris is the city of light and is so named not only for the city's role as a center for the arts and education during the late 19th century, but also for the majesty of its illumination. Seeing Paris at night is practically mandatory and the experience of seeing places like the Eiffel Tower, the Moulin Rouge or the Louvre pyramid illuminated is one of the most authentic memories you will keep of the city.

Big Bus Paris Night Bus is an opportunity to comfortably enjoy the illumination of the city. Highly recommended if you have little time to visit Paris and do not want to miss the lights of the city. Let yourself be dazzled by this two-hour tour in a bus without roof, with panoramic view and an audio guide that will tell you all the history of the main places.

If you are not going to spend much time in Paris, the night tour bus route is the best way to make sure you see the main points of the city illuminated. You won't regret it.

Book the Big Bus night bus tour of Paris

The sightseeing bus included in the Paris Pass

Trocadero| ©Dimitry Anikin
Trocadero| ©Dimitry Anikin

The Paris Pass is a city pass with which you have free access to several attractions and also get discounts at many places of interest in the city. The Paris Pass gives you free access to the Big Bus sightseeing bus for a whole day and is a must for those who want to make the most of their trip to the city of light.

You can purchase your Paris Pass for 2, 3, 4 or 6 days and during that time you will have included the use of public transport in the city of Paris. This is one of the most complete tourist passes: preferential entry to the Louvre Museum, Notre-Dame, the Pompidou Museum of contemporary art, the Musée d'Orsay, the Arc de Triomphe, the Palace of Versailles .... You can find out more about Paris Pass in this other article I have written about it.

Book the Paris Pass

Why take the tourist bus

Arc de Triomphe at night| ©Florian Wehde
Arc de Triomphe at night| ©Florian Wehde

Covering a city as big as Paris can be difficult; in each of its areas you want to stop and stay admiring its monuments, its streets, its bridges, its facades, its stores, its squares... A lot to see and with distances that not everyone can cover on foot. With the tourist bus moving around the city is much less tiring and its views allow you to enjoy the tour.

I recommend the Big Bus because the tour is quite complete. The priority of this bus is to connect the places visited by those who are sightseeing in Paris, unlike the transport network of the city whose priority is to connect the city to each other and make it accessible to all.

Book the Paris Big Bus tourist bus

What you need to know before booking your Paris sightseeing bus

View from the bus| ©Steven Christenson
View from the bus| ©Steven Christenson

How your ticket works

While on regular buses you usually pay for a ticket and that ticket entitles you to a single trip where you choose your stop, on the Paris sightseeing bus you pay for days of use and that entitles you to use it as many times as you want throughout the period you choose.

The tourist bus pass can be purchased in advance and online. Once you have made your reservation you will be sent a voucher that you can redeem for your pass at any of the stops that the tourist buses have in different areas of central Paris. In the confirmation email they will give you information about how to locate the stops and, in addition, in the case of Big Bus you have an app available to follow the route of the buses in real time.

In the Big Bus option you can choose between a 1 or 2 day pass, but the Toot bus option is similar in price and features and also gives you the option of a 3 day pass.

Services offered

The tour buses have an audio recording translated into 11 languages that comments curiosities about the city and its monuments as the tour progresses. Some options, such as the Big Bus also include a live commentary in English.

In addition, all tour buses are prepared for a person visiting Paris and therefore have features such as WI-FI on board, maps of the city or information brochures.

Discounts on attractions

Buying a tourist bus pass gives you access to a number of discounts and advantages at different tourist attractions in the city. With the Big Bus option, you can pay extra to access the Arc de Triomphe or to take a cruise on the Seine and with the Toot option you have guided walking tours included.

Available seats

The tour buses are larger than a normal bus and the system is set up so that no one is left without a seat. Keep in mind that all the stops are points of tourist interest and, therefore, at all stops people get on and off. And if on a given day there are more people than usual, the routes are reinforced with more buses.

Book the Paris Big Bus night tour bus

Organize your visit to Paris from the tour bus

Louvre Museum| ©Patrick Langwallner
Louvre Museum| ©Patrick Langwallner

The biggest advantage that the tourist buses give you is to be able to cover in a short time places of the city that are far apart from each other. This does not mean that you deserve to see Paris from the tourist bus: there are many very nice areas to walk around and you can alternate the use of the tourist bus with walking routes.

The most central stops

Regardless of where in Paris your accommodation is, if you are in the center you will surely have a tourist bus stop nearby as most of them cover quite a few areas of the city. My advice is to take the bus to any central location and then walk around Paris, for example:

  • Touring the Eiffel Tower, the Champs de Mars and Trocadero.
  • Walk from the Eiffel Tower to the Louvre along the banks of the Seine River
  • Walking down the Champs Elysées from the Arc de Triomphe
  • Visit the Louvre Pyramid, walk through the Tuileries gardens and reach the Place de la Concorde.

Last tips

Disneyland Paris| ©Mathis Jrdl
Disneyland Paris| ©Mathis Jrdl
  • If you are going to use the tourist bus to get to know Paris and tour the city from the panoramic rooftop, use the routes farther away from the center: it is an ideal option to get details about less known areas and then you can decide which of them you want to visit during your trip.
  • It is best to do this at the beginning of your trip to have a margin of time to organize yourself; leaving room for improvisation is important and even more so in a city like this one that has so much to offer.
  • You can also use it to "say goodbye" to the city. When I arrive to the cities I like to discover them little by little, but on the last day I always have the feeling of wanting to see everything one last time and this is something that is possible thanks to this tourist bus service.
  • It is a good option if you are traveling with children to Disneyland and you are only going to spend one day in Paris. It is a way to see everything, children do not get tired and enjoy the views from the panoramic terrace and many explanations are adapted to them.
  • In the Big Bus option, children up to 4 years old travel for free. In this case, if you are traveling with children, you are probably considering visiting Disneyland (probably the reason for your trip). I have written a guide about Cheap Tickets to Disneyland Paris: how to buy, prices and discounts so that you have all the details and can organize your visit to the park in the best possible way.
  • Alternate the tourist bus with a walk around Paris: take the bus to the Eiffel Tower and walk to the Louvre. There you can take the bus again to visit the areas further away from the center.

Book the Toot de Paris tourist bus

If you are interested in using the Paris tourist bus, you will also be interested in

Paris tourist bus| ©COUVRAT Sylvain
Paris tourist bus| ©COUVRAT Sylvain

If you are thinking about what other means of transportation you will need to move around Paris, I want to recommend you another option similar to the concept of the tourist bus, but surely much more romantic. Taking a cruise along the Seine will allow you, besides resting from the long walks of your trip, to know the architecture and the most emblematic buildings of Paris from the waters of the Seine. Sounds good, right? I tell you all the details in this guide about Seine River Cruises in Paris.

Book the Paris Big Bus night tour bus