Updated on October 20, 2019
As I always say, walking; in this city is especially recommended. You should walk as much as you can. Along with Prague, it is one of the few cities wherever you go, all the streets are worthwhile. From east to west, the main points of interest furthest one from each other are Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower, distant 5 km away. Needless to say, not only the walk along the Seine is one of the most famous in the city, but also passes by most major attractions. From south to north, the interesting distant points are probably the catacombs and the Sacre Coeur, about 7 km away. If as a tourist you decide to go, you will find that the city still retains its unique harmonic beauty for those 7 km.
The RATP manages all public transport in Paris, these are underground, commuter trains (RER), buses and trams. Their App has maps and and a planner, but its rating is terrible, so I personally would use another one. Tickets are valid for all these transports:
- Single ticket: 1.90 €. Allows transshipment between metro and RER (within Paris city) for 90 minutes but not to buses and trams. 10 tickets purchased together cost € 14.90 (adult, € 7.05 children). This can be useful as far as it can be used by several people.
- Origin-destination ticket. In this mode you pay depending on where you go. Ideal for travelers who make short trips that can cost less than single tickets.
- Day pass (Mobilis). Has a drawback, it does not cover 24 hours but since purchased until 00:00 that day.
- Zones 1-2: 7.5 €. It covers all points of common interest.
- Zones 1-3: 10 €.
- Zones 1-4: 12.40 €.
- Zones 1-5: 17.80 €.
- One week pass (Navigo Semaine). Another big disadvantage, starts on Mondays and expires on Sundays. For most combinations of areas it costs € 22.80.
- One month pass (Navigo Moins). Begins on the first and expires on the last day of the month. For most combinations of areas it costs 75.20 €.
- In 2021 the tickets are expected to disappear as such, it will be necessary to use passes. In 2019 it is already possible to link our own contactless credit card to pay on many transports.
Personally I abhor the Paris metro:
- There are many lines that sometimes do not seem to follow a logical pattern; sometimes I had the feeling that the lines were built in any way. The first time I was in Paris, my hotel was next to a metro station, but to get to my usual destination it took longer in the metro than walk in transverse direction for 15 minutes to another station in the same line.
- In addition, the atmosphere in the subway, I do not like it. It is perhaps the worst metro atmosphere of all cities with subway where I’ve ever been. It is common to see groups of young people trying to look dangerous dudes with defiant attitude, they usually skip turnstiles with impunity in groups of 4, 5 or more.
- It’s not prepared for heavy luggage or people with disabilities. The long paths on foot and flights of stairs are continuous.
But it is useful, so you have to use it. Some subway stations have a very interesting architecture, the best of them is Palais Royale, in Place Colette, near the Louvre Museum. It is known as “The Kiosk of the Noctambulants”.
It is faster than the metro if the origin and destination of your route are near train stops in the city, although obviously does not get as close to attractions such as subway stations do. The C line (yellow) is the most useful. It stops at Eiffel tower, Invalides, Orsay Museum and Notre Dame.
BUS and TRAM
In 21 days in Paris I’ve ever used them. I do not trust the bus, traffic in some areas of Paris reminiscent of Cairo. It is said that in the rotunda of the Arc de Triomphe there are so many accidents that insurers do not cover drivers who venture to it.
The starting fare is € 4; minimum fare is 7.10 €; the first piece of luggage over 5 kg is free, but additional ones cost € 1 each; each km costs:
- 1.07 € from 10 am to 5 pm from Monday to Saturday.
- 1.29 € from 5 pm to 10 am Monday through Saturday and Sunday from 7 am to midnight.
- 1.56 € from 00:00 on Monday to 7 am and in the suburbs.
Cycling along the banks of the Seine on a good day should be a privilege which I have not yet enjoyed. Velib is the same existing system of “free” bicycles found in many cities. For tourists, we can buy a pass of 1 or 7 day for 1.70 or 8 € respectively, with our credit card or online, and use bicycles for 30 minutes without charge. Some of the bicycles are electric.
RENT OR OWN VEHICLE
It is discouraged to drive to visitors through the city center; distances are considerable, the traffic is dense and aggressive, and there is hardly any place to park.
All rental vehicles will be provided with a sticker that indicates their level of pollutant emissions, to take into account if we try to go with our own vehicle, since we need one of these; Vehicles registered before 1997 are prohibited from entering the city center. It can be requested on the web crit-air.fr from € 3.1.