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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 tourist bus is an economical way to tour Paris "at a glance" and to locate the main points of interest in the city.

1. 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:

2. 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 entire route lasts about two hours, starting at 9:30 am in summer until 8 pm and in winter 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.

Places of interest to see

  • The Eiffel Tower
  • The Champs de Mars
  • The Palais Garnier
  • The Paris Opera House
  • The Louvre Museum
  • The Pont des Arts
  • Notre Dame Cathedral
  • The Orsay Museum
  • The Champs Elysées
  • The Grand Palais
  • 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, starting at 10 am with the first bus and ending with the last one around 7 pm (the end time may change depending on the time of the year). This route departs from Gare du Nord and lasts one hour.

Places of interest to see

  • Louvre Pyramid
  • Pigalle
  • Sacré-Coeur
  • Grévin Museum
  • Boulevard de Montmartre
  • Moulin Rouge

Book the Big Bus touristic bus of Paris

Night Tour

Paris is the city of light and is so named not only for the city's role as a center of 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.

The tourist bus has a special pass for use during the night that, unlike the usual routes, is not intended to move from one place to another, but rather 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.

Book the Big Bus night bus tour of Paris

3. Paris Toot Bus

View of the pyramid of the Louvre Museum
View 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 of between 15 and 20 minutes and buses begin to pass at 9:30 in the morning ending at about 19:30 in the evening. If you are going to use the tourist bus to tour Paris enjoying its panoramic views, this is the most complete option.

Places of interest to see

  • Palais Garnier
  • Louvre Museum
  • Pont-Neuf
  • Notre-Dame Cathedral
  • Orsay Museum
  • Place de la Concorde
  • Champs-Elysées
  • Arc de Triomphe
  • Trocadero Square
  • Eiffel Tower
  • Champs de Mars
  • Invalides architectural complex

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 and during the tour you will learn things about:

  • Les Grands Boulevards
  • Place de la République
  • The Saint-Martin canal
  • The Palais Garnier
  • Pigalle and Moulan Rouge
  • Gare du Nord

Green route

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

Places of interest to see

  • Notre-Dame Cathedral
  • Rue de Rivoli
  • Hotel de Ville
  • Pantheon
  • Place de la Bastille
  • Ile Saint-Louis
  • Saint Germain des Pres district
  • Montparnasse district

Book the Toot de Paris tourist bus

4. 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 entrance 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 wrote about it.

Book the Paris Pass

5. 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, because the views of the city are panoramic and because there are many amenities offered for a reasonable price.

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 with each other and make it accessible to all. A tourist bus makes your life easier and takes you to the Louvre Museum or the Arc de Triomphe without you having to "look" for them on the map, take private transport or make a route that involves detours or transfers.

Ana's Traveller Tip

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.

6. What you need to know before booking your Paris sightseeing bus tour

Views from the Tour Montparnasse
Views from the Tour Montparnasse

How your ticket works

While on the 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.

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.

Audio guides and languages

These buses are prepared to see the city from the inside so they have large windows and the top floor open to enjoy even better panoramic views of Paris.

The tour buses have an audio recording translated into several languages that will comment on 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.

Wifi on board

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 pass for a tourist bus gives you access to a series of discounts and advantages at different tourist attractions in the city, this is the case of the Toot bus option. 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.

Book in advance

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 the 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.

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 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.

7. Organize your visit to Paris from the tourist bus

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

The biggest advantage that tourist buses give you is to be able to cover in a short time places in 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, 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.

8. 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 lesser-known areas and then you can decide which ones 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.

Ana's Traveller Tip

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 see the areas further away from the center.

9. 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 get 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.

Frequently asked questions

  • How long does a Hop-on Hop-off bus tour of Paris last?

    Most routes last between 1-2 hours and have about 10 stops.

  • What sights are usually seen on a Hop-on Hop-off bus in Paris?

    It depends on the route you choose, but most of them will take you around the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs Elysees and other points of interest in the city.

  • What time of day is best for Hop-on Hop-off travel?

    If it is your first time in Paris, probably the best idea is to take the morning tour, as you will be able to see all the iconic places of the city in full light and enjoy the best views of the city. If you already know Paris or are looking for something different, maybe it's a good idea to try the afternoon or evening tour and see the Eiffel Tower, Opera Garnier and Notre Dame lit up at night.