Without a doubt, Paris is one of the most traveled tourist destinations in the world. Each year, over 27 million people visit the City of Light to take its ambience and see some of the most well-known, iconic sites in the world. In addition to being a mecca of cultural landmarks, Paris is also home to some of the world’s most envied shopping and a highly-praised culinary scene.
The city of Paris covers an area that is roughly forty square miles, making it difficult for some visitors to experience the city outside of the major attractions or avenues near to their hotel. For informed visitors, however, there are a number of different ways to “get off the beaten path” and experience a side of the city that many tourists never even find out about.
Getting Around Paris
Despite being a complex and expansive city, traversing the streets of Paris is much easier than most people tend to think. Some visitors, trying to avoid the adding up of taxi fares, rent a vehicle for their stay. For some, this is a great idea and allows them to customize their trip without exceeding their budget the way that cabbing from one end of the city to the other could. For most though, the confusing streets, lack of parking and traffic from the city’s two million residents cause a number of headaches.
Luckily, Paris has established an efficient public transportation system. By taking advantage of transportation options such as the metro and city buses, visitors are able to traverse the city quickly, safely and affordably..
Taking The Metro
The metro is the most popular form of public transportation for visitors to Paris. In fact, it is the busiest metro system in the European Union with over 1.5 billion riders each year. Spanning across the entire city, Paris’ metro system has around 300 different stops spread over 16 different subway lines. Transfer stations are numerous with many stops servicing multiple lines which makes reaching anywhere in the city quick and nearly effortless.
If you’re not used to riding a large subway system comparable to those seen in other major cities such as New York and London, Paris’ metro may look a little confusing at first. After all, the above-ground roadways aren’t a piece of cake either. Luckily, finding which line you need to take and where you need to transfer couldn’t be easier. Also, don’t forget to brush up on your subway etiquette first in order to save on the dirty glares from fellow travelers.
There are a couple of options for finding your way underground in the City of Light:
- Printed Maps – It seems like there are maps everywhere around the city. You can find large maps at the entrance to each metro station, as well as on the platforms. If you stop by the ticket office, you can pick up a small map to carry with you. Take one – it will come in handy for planning you future transfers while waiting for your train to arrive or while heading for your next destination.
- Mobile Guides – If you have your smartphone or mobile device with you, having a map in the palm of your hands could not be easier. Regardless of what type of phone you use, developers have released numerous different visitors’ guides for Paris. In addition to useful information about the city and its destinations, they nearly always include detailed maps of the metro system.
Seeing The City By Bus
In addition to the metro, Paris’ bus system is a great way to get around the city and admire the locale while you’re between destinations. There are 59 different bus routes across the city, providing around the same amount of coverage as the metro lines. While the metro operates until after midnight, most bus lines end service at around 8:30 in the evening. The map that you should pick up from the metro ticket office will also provide bus information. These maps of Paris can also be obtained, for free, at any Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau information center.
Paris Public Transportation Made Easy
Paris is one of the world’s most popular cities for travelers, and that is unlikely to change in the near future. Although it may seem like a complex place to navigate to the first-time visitor, traveling around Paris can be easily and affordably accomplished by taking advantage of the city’s excellent public transportation. Between the 16 metro lines and 59 bus routes, these options for shuttling around the city are not only budget-friendly, but also often more time-efficient than driving and parking your own vehicle.
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