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How to Get Around in Paris

Is your trip to Paris just around the corner? Surely you are already finalizing details and tours, so do not miss my tips to get around the city comfortably.

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

9 min read

How to Get Around in Paris

Streets of Paris | ©Adrien Olichon

Paris is a city with many places to see and great things to do. Touring the whole city can be almost impossible, unless you find the right way to do it. Organized tours, customized tours, metro, bus... There are many alternatives.

Depending on how you want to get around Paris, the time you have or what you want to visit, I would like to recommend you one or another option, what do you think?

Touring Paris on an organized tour

Walking around Paris| ©Earth
Walking around Paris| ©Earth

Paris is a huge city and touring it can sometimes be complicated if you don't know which route is best or which is the best way to get from one point to another. That's why I always opt to book a guided tour of Paris.

That way you can forget about maps, routes and directions and just focus on seeing the city without fear of getting lost. Another advantage is that the tours usually include entrance tickets to Paris landmarks, so you can ensure your access at the specified time.

In short, if you don't want to go crazy, trust the professional guides who, in addition to explaining everything you see, will make getting around Paris seem simple.

Touring Paris on a walking tour

It is clear that walking is the best way to see more things, since you can make stops or get closer to the best museums in Paris or to the monuments of Paris that catch your attention. Of course, you will probably end up getting lost, but you do not have a specialized guide.

Something very common in Paris is to book a personalized walking tour, so you see exactly everything you want to see and stop where you want to stop, without having to wait for a large group of people, which undoubtedly also hinders and delays any movement through Paris.

The truth is that touring Paris at your own pace, but with the confidence that a guide has designed the route especially for you, is a luxury, believe me. Just make sure that before booking you make a list of the places you want to visit so that the guide can include them in the tour and tell you if the entrance fee is included or not.

Cycling around Paris with a guide

If you like to cycle to places, you must try to see Paris on two wheels. Be warned, the traffic and streets of Paris can be a bit chaotic, so my recommendation is to book a bike tour of Paris organized with a larger group of people.

This way it is easier for other vehicles to see you and, although it may seem dangerous, the bike is a good means of transport to move around Paris faster and get in less time to some places a little further away from the center. In addition, the tour includes a bike and a helmet in perfect condition.

If you want to see as much of Paris as possible in a single day, I highly recommend the bike tour, because it effectively reaches more places than a walking tour. However, keep in mind that when you go by bike you don't make as many stops, so choose this tour if you want to do a general visit of Paris.

Get around Paris by Segway

Segway around Paris| ©Markus Tacker
Segway around Paris| ©Markus Tacker

Want to go even faster from one place to another in Paris? You're in luck, because there are organized tours that go around the city on Segway, a fast means of transport and in which you do not have to make any effort beyond controlling the handlebars and follow the guide.

No fatigue will be able to get the better of you and you will be able to contemplate Paris with your eyes wide open. It is also perfect if you are traveling to Paris with little time and you are looking to move quickly through the most important places of the French capital, making the most of every minute.

If you have never ridden a Segway, do not worry. On the tour there will be a responsible person who will answer your questions and guide you through the city on your Segway tour. And if you liked the experience and you are going to stay more days in Paris, I recommend you to book the Segway tour in Château de Vincennes.

Touring Paris on a tourist bus

One option for getting around Paris that I always consider is to book the Paris sightseeing bus. These vehicles travel almost the entire length of Paris and you can hop on and off at the stops that interest you most.

It's a great way to make sure you visit everything but only spend time at the places that catch your attention. If you are going to be in Paris for a couple of days, consider this option, because the ticket will be valid for both dates and you can use it as public transportation.

This bus makes stops at places like Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower or the Moulin Rouge. Also, the good thing about opting for this type of bus instead of a normal bus is that it has two floors, one of them with an open roof so you can see Paris from a different perspective.

Book a seat on the Paris sightseeing bus

Getting around Paris by metro and suburban trains

Metro in Paris| ©FranceHouse
Metro in Paris| ©FranceHouse

In total there are 16 lines in the Paris metro that connect hundreds of points of the city, so you can imagine that this will always be a fast, comfortable and accessible alternative to move around Paris.

There are many stops and the frequency of passage is about 5 minutes. In addition, many of the metro stations are connected or also have RER (Parisian suburban train) stops, with which you can reach more distant places like Versailles.

Metro stops are open from 5:30 in the morning until 1:00 (Saturdays and holidays until 2:00), so you can always take a metro to move around the city. Of course, to buy the ticket you must take into account the areas where you are going to move.

The zones of Paris

Paris is divided into 5 zones, being the first 3 the most central and economic ones and the ones you can easily get to by metro (approximately 2€ for a single ticket and 23€ for a voucher of 10). In these zones the RER behaves like a metro, so it is included in the ticket.

On the other hand, zones 4 and 5 are further away and to go to them you need to take the RER suburban train, which is not included in the single ticket but is included in the île-de-France ticket. The price varies according to the distance you have to travel, but you can check it on the official website.

The Paris Pass

If you are going to be in Paris for a week or more and you are going to move around by metro or train, my advice is to get a Navigo transport pass, which allows you to move around all the areas you choose freely. If you are not going to stay that long, you always have the option of getting a Paris Visite Card.

These passes are good alternatives, but you can also book the Paris Pass, a card that not only allows you to take public transport in Paris, but also includes priority access to many tourist attractions in the city.

Book the Paris Pass

Getting around Paris by bus

Bus Line 30 in Paris, France| ©Bus Box
Bus Line 30 in Paris, France| ©Bus Box

Although the metro is faster, the bus is more charming, as you can see the outside of Paris while moving around the city. In fact, this means of transport is also one of the most common for Parisians.

It has 59 routes and its price is quite cheap (2€ approximately). However, do not forget that buses are not as punctual, they run every 15-20 minutes more or less and are available for less time (from 7:30 am to 8:30 pm).

The lines you will use the most if you want to move around the center of Paris are those that go from 20 to 99, since the later ones circulate around the periphery. In any case, you can check the available routes on the official map.

How to buy a bus ticket

Buying the ticket is very simple in the vending machines of any station or point of sale, although you can also take it when you get on the bus. However, if you do it this way it will be a bit more expensive and will not allow you to transfer to other means such as the metro or train.

To save more money you can always buy a pass like the Navigo or the Paris Visite.

Night buses

Even if you prefer not to use the bus during the day, if you want to enjoy the nightlife of Paris and move around the city at night you will need to take one of the 42 Noctilien buses (identified with an N) that run in Paris from 00:30h to 5:30h and where you can use the same ticket.

Getting around Paris by cab

Cab in Paris| ©joiseyshowaa
Cab in Paris| ©joiseyshowaa

I'm not going to fool you, the Parisian cab is not the cheapest means of transport to move around the city (approximately 1,06€ per kilometer), but it is still a good option if you don't want to worry about finding the metro or bus stops.

It is also a very safe option, especially if you have to move around at night, although the fare is somewhat higher.

My advice is that whenever you are going to go by cab make sure you take an official one. If you have just arrived at one of the Paris airports and you want to go to the center, it is easy to recognize an official cab because they are the ones that are at the specific cab rank. If you are already in the city center, only trust the ones with the luminous sign.

Touring Paris by bike

Paris by Bike| ©TRAVELBLOG
Paris by Bike| ©TRAVELBLOG

When I go to Paris I always rent a bike some of the days. It's a quick way to see the city without missing anything. But don't forget that you can also book a bike tour of Paris to tour the city in the company of a group as I explained before.

Renting a bike does not contribute to Parisian pollution and is quite economical, as the city itself has bikes for rent (the famous Vélib) for about 5€ every 24 hours.

Beyond the sustainability of the bike, it is a very accessible means of transport, as there are many stations to park them (you can check the official ones here) and also many bike lanes, so you will have the security of being able to get to all the places you want.

Book a bike tour in Paris

Getting around Paris by car

Tour by Car| ©Alexandr Podvalny
Tour by Car| ©Alexandr Podvalny

If you want to get around Paris by car, you should know that the traffic can be overwhelming, especially if you are not used to driving in big cities and central areas. But if you are going to take advantage of your trip to Paris to make some excursions around Paris is perfect.

If you are an EU citizen, with your national driving license is enough to rent and drive a car in Paris or anywhere else in France. But don't forget to take a look at the official regulations so you don't come back from your trip with a fine.

But the most complicated thing about driving in Paris is parking, because it is always expensive. If you want to opt for a safer option, there are always the subway parking lots, open and guarded 24 hours a day.

Other fun ways to explore the city by car

Book a classic car tour in Paris

Walking in Paris

Around Paris| ©Mathias P.R. Reding
Around Paris| ©Mathias P.R. Reding

Walking while seeing some of the most famous and special places in the world is a pleasure, I won't deny it, but you have to understand that Paris is a city with many neighborhoods and tourist centers.

Walking is a fun, cheap and charming alternative, yes, but you will lose a lot of time going from one point to another. What you can do is to move to a specific neighborhood and, once there, move around it to visit the most emblematic.

For example, going from the Eiffel Tower to the Montmartre neighborhood will take you more than an hour and when you arrive you will be exhausted and out of energy. It is much better to get to Montmartre by metro and walk there.

Comparison of transports in Paris

  • Organized tour
  • Most complete option
  • There is a wide variety of options
  • Subway or commuter
  • Fastest option
  • Can be chaotic
  • Public bus
  • Cheaper option
  • Depends on traffic
  • Cab
  • Most comfortable and safe option
  • Expensive
  • Bicycle
  • More sustainable option
  • Not recommended for families with small children
  • Car
  • More flexible option
  • Parking is expensive and complicated