In this ongoing series, we focus on traveling around an international city without blowing your ground transportation budget. One of the most interesting cities in Europe to visit is Paris. Not only does Paris satisfy all of the senses, it’s also fantastically easy (and cheap) to get around in this cosmopolitan city. Here are some tips for making the most of your time in the City of Lights without spending all your cash on transportation.
Track Down le Métro
Le Métro, Paris’s subterranean transport system dates back to the early 1900s. It’s as historic as it is practical, with over 303 stations throughout the city, most if which are named for notable French people, events, and places. The RER (connected to the Métro system) is a regional train that will take you farther out into the Parisian suburbs. If you’re going to be in Paris for more than a few days, it will behoove you to purchase a Navigo Découverte pass (formerly called Carte Orange) at almost any Métro/RER train ticket window that normally sells tickets and passes in the metropolitan Paris area. This pass covers all transportation on the RER (which also goes to Charles de Gaulle Airport) and le Métro. Organized by color and direction (the last stop at the end of each line is called the “terminus”), the Paris Métro is extremely easy to navigate and runs from dawn until the wee hours of the next morning (not all stops are open at all hours, so be sure to check this out if you plan to return after midnight).
Aller Se Promener? Take Paris in Your Stride
Paris is an incredibly walkable city. For the most part, it’s also easy to navigate, seeing as it’s organized as two banks (la rive gauche et la rive droite) separated by the Seine river. Districts in Paris are called “arrondissements,” and each one is numbered. Fire up your GPS or go old school and unfold a map and explore Paris by foot. Remember that getting lost in this phenomenal city can be just as fun as finally reaching your destination! Paris is, above all, a city for wanderers. Another bonus is that you’ll notice much more about Parisian culture and architecture if you walk the city (as opposed to staying underground in the Métro).
Need more good reasons to walk around the City of Lights? Read more on where your pedestrian Paris adventure could lead you!
Trust in Pedal Power and Hop on Your Bicyclette
Paris has a robust public bike rental system called Vélib. With 14,500 bicycles and 1,230 bicycle stations citywide, chances are you’ll be able to find one. Bikers can purchase a variety of subscriptions ranging from approximately 2 euros per day to 40 euros for a year (the weeklong subscription at 8 euros tends to be a popular option with tourists). With a subscription, an unlimited number of trips can be made per day. Simply swipe your card at the automated rental station, select one of the gray bikes, and you’ll be on your way! When you’re done, you can return the bike to any of the Vélib stations in Paris.
Want to know why Paris is truly magnifique? Enjoy the city in all it’s spring glory by planning your trip right here. Bon voyage!