The Best Ways to Get Around Paris
Paris is an easy city to get around, with no shortage of public transportation. From buses to boats, we've created the ultimate guide to making the most of your time in the city.
Whether you’re visiting for the culture, haute couture, or to sample every croissant and croque monsieur within 10km of the Eiffel Tower, one thing’s for sure: Paris is always a good idea, especially with so many chic Plum Guide rentals to call home. With so much to see and do, you may find that these helpful tips courtesy of the Plum Guide destination experts will save you both time (and money) when navigating the capital. Here are the best ways to get around Paris.
With postcard-perfect cafés, courtyards and boutiques on every cobbled corner, Paris is a real marvel to explore on foot – if you’ve got the right footwear, that is. Blisters? Not so chic. Apps like Google Maps are a godsend when it comes to getting about and flagging must-not-miss sights nearby. Alternatively, opt for one of our centrally-located stays and you’ll find everything you need right on your doorstep. We've got some pretty swanky apartments in Paris, for those who want to splash out.
Needless to say, there are dozens of worthwhile walking routes across the city. A stroll along the Left Bank is a must (be sure to stop by Coutume for excellent coffee and people watching), whilst Jardin du Luxembourg offers 60 pristine acres of parkland to explore, where you’re guaranteed to catch a case of garden envy – whether you’re green-fingered or not.
One of the best ways to get around Paris is by bike, but be warned, it isn’t all scenic cycle rides along the Seine. Expect to encounter a few blaring horns and a little bit of French road rage, but that’s all part of the experience… or so they say. You can rent and return grey Velib bikes from countless docking stations across the city. Purchase a 1 or 7 day ticket online or at the machine, and there’s a great app which will tell you your nearest station and advise nearby routes. Big fan of the bicycle? Look no further, for we have the perfect home rental for you.
Quick, convenient… and crowded, there’s no disputing that a ride on the Paris Metro is an experience in itself. Purchase tickets at the station if you’re old school, or opt for a carnet of ten. With one ticket you can take the metro anywhere in Paris, wherever your Plum Guide rental may be, just be sure to retain your ticket until you’re out of the Métro system or you could risk a hefty fine. Not ideal for the beret budget, that’s for sure.
Much like the London underground, the various lines are colour and number coded, which makes it easy enough to get the hang of. With that said, we’d recommend planning your trip ahead of time on the RATP website to avoid any wrong turns.
FYI: for short stays like a long weekend in Paris, one carnet is sufficient, but if you’re lucky enough to call Paris home for a fortnight (or longer), then a Navigo Decouverte card is the way to go. It's a smart card that you load for travel for a week or month, at €21.25 per week and €70.00 per month. The card offers unlimited travel on the metro, busses, RER, trams and Transilien trains in the Paris and Ile de France region.
The Parisian bus system can be a little tricky to navigate, but with apps like Citymapper, it’s easy enough to map your route in advance. On the plus side, it’s a great way to actually see the city whilst getting around, but the buses are known to run a little late, so it may not be the best option if you’re winging your way to an important meeting or strict dinner reservation. Steak frites waits for no man.
Unlike New York and London, flagging a cab from the side of the road isn’t quite so simple. Sure, there are ranks across the city, but there’s no guarantee you’ll find a car ready and waiting, so you’re better off booking in advance (via G7 or Taxi Bleus) or using an app like Uber. But be warned, if you call for a cab then the meter will start running as soon as the driver accepts your call, so you might end up with a higher fare than you first thought.
Sure, it may not be how the locals commute – one can dream – but travelling by boat is undoubtedly one of the best ways to get around Paris. The Batobus takes you to the heart of Paris, with stops at all of the main tourist sites, including the Musée d’Orsay, St-Germain des Prés, Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower (alternatively, you can luck out with the best views from this incredible home). You can buy advance batobus tickets online, at tourist offices, or at the ferry stop itself.
Now you're clued up on the best ways to get around Paris, you're probably looking for some unique places to stay in the French capital. Lucky for you, Plum Guide's very picky home critics have sniffed around Paris' very best homes. We’re particularly fond of this Parisian pied-a-terre and this architectural marvel, complete with corkscrew staircase.