How To Go Around Paris Without Getting Lost

Carting around over 5 million passengers each day, Paris France has Europe’s second busiest metro system and, especially when combined with the RER suburban lines, is the simplest and cheapest way of getting from point A to point B in Paris. Metro tickets can be bought as single trips or in packs of 10, which saves you a few Euros if you plan to use the Metro more than once or twice. Also, keep in mind that the  Paris Metro and bus systems use the same tickets.

The Paris France Metro, also known as the Metropolitan, opened its first line in 1900 and has since grown to be one of the most complete metro systems in the world. So complete, in fact, that no matter where you are in the city you’ll rarely find yourself more than 500 meters from a metro station. There are literally hundreds of stations within Paris’ 41 square kilometers!

Paris Metro boasts 16 lines, the bulk of which are underground. Each line has its own number and its own color, making it easy to navigate metro maps. The final destination of each line, which is how you know the direction in which you are or need to be traveling, is clearly marked on train cars, on subway maps, and in the underground passageways.

Metro maps are free at most stations, though some are rather vague. The best maps are those which overlay the Metro lines on Paris maps, which allows you to see how the lines and streets match up. Our recommendation is the Grand Plan de Paris numero 2, which actually shows Metro, RER and bus routes all on a map of the city… very useful!

Paris Metro
Telephone: 08-92-69-32-46 (from abroad)
Telephone: 32-46 (in France)
Website: www.ratp.fr

Buses

Paris France‘s network of urban buses is not as frequently used as the city’s Metro, but it can certainly be a useful alternative. While bus lanes have been implemented to quicken up the journeys, taking Paris buses is slower than the Paris Metro but just as easy to use… with the added bonus of letting you see the city as you travel!

Stops are shown on a signpost, which indicates the name of the stop as well as the numbers of the various buses with that particular stop in their route. Some lines even have a nifty display that shows you the arrival times of the next two buses.

Urban Paris buses don’t run as late as the Metro and many of the lines don’t operate at all on Sundays and holidays. You can buy single-journey passes or multiple-trip packs, which is a good saving if you plan to use the bus (or Metro) system more than once or twice. Also, keep in mind that the Paris Metro and bus systems use the same tickets.

Paris Buses
Telephone: 08-92-69-32-46 (from abroad)
Telephone: 32-46 (in France)
Website: www.ratp.fr

Flights

If you’re heading to Paris via the skies, you’re most likely to fly into either Roissy-Charles de Gaulle or Orly airports. These large international airports are major destinations for a slew of French and international airlines and handle the bulk of Paris flights. Many deal-seekers, however, often opt for the lesser-known Beauvais Airport, which welcomes Ryanair flights from Dublin, Shannon, and Glasgow.

AIRPORT ROISSY-CHARLES DE GAULLE

Usually shortened to simply “Charles de Gaulle”, this three-terminal airport is the city’s largest and busiest airport. While it’s located about 23 kilometers from the center of Paris, getting from the baggage claim to the sights and sounds of central Paris is a breeze, thanks to the network of trains, buses and an ever-waiting fleet of taxis.

The easiest and least expensive option is the Roissyrail train link, which runs online B of the RER (Reseau Express Regional) suburban express lines. You can pick up the line direct from terminal 3 and most of terminal 2, but if you arrive at terminal 1, 2A or 2B you’ll have to take a shuttle bus to the RER station. Paris-bound trains leave on 15-minute intervals from 5 am until midnight, take roughly a half-hour and cost under 10€ per way.

Another popular option, though longer and slightly more expensive, is to hop aboard one of the various bus companies that travel back and forth between the airport and the city. Air France, for example, runs two buses to the city: line 2 (to Charles-de-Gaulle-Etoile RER/metro and line 4 (to Gare de Lyon and Gare Montparnasse). You could also tray the Roissybus, which runs between terminals 1 and 2 and the Opera-Garnier.

Finally, while a taxi will bring you right to your hotel’s doorstep, it is by far the most expensive option. Paris France flights from Charles de Gaulle to the central city will cost roughly 40 to 50 euros and take nearly an hour, 30 minutes and 30-40 euros more than the RER train!

ORLY AIRPORT

Orly airport, located 14 kilometers south of Paris, has two terminals: Orly Sud, for international flights, and Orly Ouest, for domestic flights.

The easiest way to get into central Paris from Orly Airport is via Orlyval, a fast train shuttle, to RER line B station Antony and then to metro connections Denfert-Rochereau, St-Michel and Chatelet-Les Halles. You can also hop onto the ADP shuttle bus to RER line C station Pont de Rungis, from where trains leave for the Gare d-Austerlitz and other metro connection stops on the Left Bank (the left side of Paris’ Seine River).

If you prefer buses, two services that you might take advantage of are bus 285, the Air France bus on line 2 and Orlybus. Bus 285 runs to metro Villejuif-Louis-Arragon, Orly bus runs to Denfert-Rochereau RER/metro station and the line 2 Air France bus runs to the Invalides Air France Terminal on rue Esnault Peletrie via Montparnasse.

Finally a taxi, always the most expensive option, will cost you around 30€ and take roughly 30-40 minutes.

BEAUVAIS AIRPORT

Paris’ third airport, Beauvais, is located 65 kilometers north of Paris and is a destination for budget airline Ryanair. Not only are the Paris flights often much cheaper, but the bus shuttle connecting the airport and downtown Paris costs just 13€, making this airport often the most economical decision for travelers on a budget.

Airport Transfers

SimplyParis.org partnered with Taxileader.net to offer you airport taxi transfers in Paris and near cities. They provide private transfers from Charles de Gaulle, Orly and Beauvais airports to any address in Paris and surrounding cities or attractions like Disneyland.

Sandy

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