Heading to Paris this summer? Here are some handy tips on how to keep moving in the City of Light.
The first trip most visitors make after arrival is from the airport to the city center. The quickest, least expensive way to get from Roissy-Charles De Gaulle (CDG) is the RER B train. This line runs along a north-south axis through the city, stopping at Chatelet les Halles (the central nerve of Paris’ transport system). The journey takes 30-40 minutes and costs about 10 euros, but it can also involve negotiating stairs and crowds with your luggage. There are also metered taxis available (the long lines at the stand tend to move a bit faster than you’d expect). Taxis to the city center, depending on traffic, will cost around 50-65 euros. Another alternative is to take the Air France shuttle bus or pre-book a shared or private transfer. Easy Go Shuttle and Paris Shuttle are just two of many companies offering this service for about 55 euros, depending on number of passengers and how much luggage you have.
Once you’re in Paris, the most authentic way to navigate the city is to take the Métropolitain, affectionately known as le Métro. Since its 16 lines service a total of 303 stations every day of the year, it’s a fast and reliable way to get around. Keep in mind its hours if you plan to dine late: It runs from 5:30 am to 12:30 am, and later on Fridays and Saturdays and some holidays (until 2:15 am). The best bet is to purchase a carnet (car-NAY), or packet of 10, for 14.10 euros. Children under the age of 4 ride free. Be sure to hold onto your ticket for the duration of your trip, and until the moment you exit the station, as you can be asked to produce it at any time by an agent of the RATP – the transit authority that operates and maintains the system. Their site offers a helpful online route finder in English to assist with planning your trips throughout the city, including estimated travel times. You can also download their free app, Visit Paris by Metro, in English on your smartphone.
Despite the current protests against Uber, the car service is still operating in Paris and is a convenient way to get around without the hassle of cash transactions. Download the Uber app to have handy on your smartphone before traveling. Hailing a metered taxi on the street can be a challenge in Paris, but it’s far from mission impossible. Look for cars with a green light on the roof; red means occupied. Having an address written down is always handy, although most drivers speak English.
For the truly adventurous, try Paris’ self-service bike system, Vélib (vay-LEEB). Launched in 2007, the world’s biggest bike-share system consists of a fleet of 20,000 bikes located at 1,800 stations scattered throughout the city. Buy a 1-day, 7-day or long-term subscription online, or at any Vélib terminal if you have a credit card with a micro-chip. If two wheels is the way you want to go, download one of several Vélib apps to find the nearest Vélib station to pick up or drop off a bike.
Whichever way you choose to move, we wish you bonne route!