Get Around Paris like a Pro
So you’ve decided to visit Paris! Fantastic idea, Paris is a beautiful city lined with shaded boulevards, historic monuments, museums, fashionable boutiques, bistros, bars and a lot more. Paris is made up of 20 arrondissements and each has its own distinctive flavor.
First, let’s get the local lingo regarding the city out of the way. Arrondissements are basically the districts of Paris, it’s their way of subdividing the city for administrative purposes. The arrondissements, or districts, start in the center of the city and pinwheel out clockwise.
The River Seine cuts a path through the heart of Paris and you will frequently hear people referring to the Left and Right Bank when describing Paris. The Right Bank actually refers to the area of Paris to the north of the Seine, which makes the area to the south the Left Bank. Most of the city lies on the Right Bank and of the twenty arrondissements there are only six on the Left Bank.
A MAP OF PARIS.
Below are the unique ways of getting around Paris 1
Paris is definitely a walking city—you need to see the city on foot at least once. Discovering Paris this way makes you stop and take in those moments that you might have missed otherwise. Download the Google Maps app to your phone to make sure that you don’t get lost (yes, the GPS will work even though you might be without Wi-Fi or a 3G connection), rather than carrying around a paper map like the other tourists. Be sure to bring your camera; it’s guaranteed that you’ll stumble across colorful doors, hidden courtyards, and other little gems. Plus Paris does have one of the world’s great walks in the Champs-Élysées, which stretches from the Arc de Triompe to the Place de la Concordia.
There are literally tens of thousands of bikes (Velib’) at over 1,800 stations around the city and you can rent one from any station and drop it off at any other station. This seems like a great idea to me and Paris has actually become a very bike-friendly city with dedicated bike lanes and some bike-only areas. If you’re visiting Paris for a shorter time, you can buy a 1- or 7-day ticket by using the machines at every station (and now you can even buy your tickets online). Remember to be safe and follow the rules—the traffic in Paris can be quite aggressive depending on where you’re biking. If you’re thinking about using the bikes while in you’re in town, we recommend downloading Velib’s app to find your nearest station and more information about how it works.
Getting around Paris by bus can be brilliant and awful at the same time. You’ll actually get to see the city, which is great for your sense of direction and your sightseeing (some bus routes might actually be better than taking one of those humongous tour buses). But you might have to stand squeezed in between 50 other people on the same route. There are about 60 RATP city bus lines operating throughout Paris that can get you just about any place to want to go and certainly anywhere the metro can get you. The system can be pretty hard to learn, but with apps like Citymapper, it’s easier to find out how you can access the city by bus. The bus maps, which you can find at the station and on the bus, are quite helpful, easy to understand, and will help you find the best stop for you.
These are only a few means of getting around Paris, catch our post on The unique ways of getting around Paris 2 for more transportation means of getting around Paris