Friday, August 16, 2013

Paris Attractions & Transportation: Guide to getting around Paris

Paris is a city rich in culture, history and beautiful architecture. It can be overwhelming trying to decide what to see and do and the transportation system although extensive and useful can be daunting and confusing.

In this post I will be going over some of the attractions and transportation passes you can purchase for getting around Paris and discussing which passes I bought to travel in Paris. I will also be reviewing other transportation services such as shuttles and taxis. 

Before you visit Paris I would advise you to check out some of the attractions you are interested in and determine what is manageable for the amount of time you are visiting for.

Attractions Passes
There are several passes you can purchase when sightseeing in Paris. Some are well known and others are not.

Included in the Paris pass:
*Paris museum pass
*Paris attractions pass (60+attractions, wine tasting, river cruise, wax museum)
*Paris metro pass (trains, buses and trams)
*Skip the lines entry
*This pass also includes attractions outside of Paris as well such as Versailles.

You can order your pass online and have it shipped to you, or you can order it and pick it up in Paris at the location provided on the website. Shipping fees apply and a fee of €2 applies if you pick it up in Paris.

*2 days €110.00
*4 days  €160.00
*6 days  €195.00

If you are planning to visit many of the museums and attractions and have at least 4-6 days then this pass could save you money. It is also very helpful because it includes transportation.

If you are only visiting selected sites then this pass may not work for you since many of the attractions individually priced are not very expensive. Keep in mind that once you visit the first attraction your pass is activated and you only have the amount of days you purchased the pass for before it expires. This pass must be used consecutively. If you purchase it for only 2 days you may not be able to get much done and may end up spending a lot more purchasing this pass.
This pass does NOT include entry to the Eiffel Tower.

For more information you can visit the website HERE

This pass gives you access to 60+ museums and monuments. Like the Paris pass you can get it for 2, 4, or 6 days and it must be used consecutively.
This pass does not include transportation but you can skip the lines.

Where to buy:
You can purchase this pass online and have it shipped to your home address or hotel. Shipping information and costs can be found on the website. You can also purchase this pass at the airport, information about where to find it at the airport is online.

This pass is more affordable and still gives you access to most of the top attractions. It is great if you already have transportation arrangements.

Cons: This pass does not include transportation and you do not have access to the river cruise and wine tasting tour. It does not include access to the Eiffel Tower.

*2 days €39
*4days €54
*6 days €69

For more information you can visit the website HERE

Eiffel Tower: 
None of the attraction passes allows you entry into the Eiffel Tower. Tickets can be purchased separately and in advanced (which is recommended). There are 2 observations decks to the tower, floor 2 and the top. The price to visit the second floor is €8.50 and to go all the way up it is an additional €6. You can also pay a cheaper price if you walk up to the second deck and then take the elevator the rest of the way.
Click:  Eiffel Tower  to see the website, get ticket information and to book a time.

Transportation in Paris is confusing. There are many different metro lines, trains, buses and trams. It’s a good idea to plan out your routes and have an idea of where you want to go and how to get there before you travel.

Visit Paris by Metro App
There is handy app called Vist Paris by Metro which you can download on your apple or android devices. This app provides great maps of Paris and a map of the metro lines. It also provides info on major attractions, ticket information, railway stations and airports. This is a very handy tool to have at your fingertips.

When getting around Paris it is important to understand the zoning. Paris is separated into 5 zones. Zone 1 is the heart of the city and zones 2-4 are also considered the Paris center. Zone 5 is the suburbs and outer area of the city, it is also important to note that the airport is in zone 5. The metro passes can be purchased for traveling through specific zones. You want to make sure you purchase the pass that allows you to travel to and from your hotel and to whatever attractions you want to visit.

Transportation Passes:

This pass includes the bus, RER (train line), metro and trams.

*This pass is on sale from Friday to Wed and is only valid from Monday to Sunday after you purchase the pass so you have to make sure it works with your schedule. If you are arriving mid week it does not make sense to get this pass.

*This pass costs €5 for the card itself and an additional fee for the zones you want to travel within (see prices below)

*You will also need a 3cm x 2.5cm photo for the pass. Most ticket booths will have photo booths nearby but I advise you to bring a small photo with you to paste on your pass, you can save 5 Euros.

Price for 1 week pass:
*Zone 1-2 €19.80
*Zone 1-5 €34.40

For more information you can visit the website HERE

*This pass is valid for 1,2,3 or 5 consecutive days. With it you can take the metro, RER, bus and trams.

*This pass can be purchased for zone 1-3 or zones 1-5.

*This card can be purchased at any time unlike the Navigo Decouverte pass.

*This pass is activated on the day you use it so if you activate it at 8pm on the first night by 1am you will have used an entire day. It is advised that you activate it in the morning to get optimal use.

*The purchase of this pass also includes discounted rates to other attractions (see website for details)

*This pass can be purchased wherever metro/RER passes are sold including the airport (see website for details)


For more information visit the website HERE

 Things to know when taking the RER Train and Metro:
If you are taking the RER trains to get around please be advised that the train stations do not cater to those who are handicap or people carrying strollers. There are a lot of stairs and very few elevators and ramps. I also found the RER train to be quite dangerous, the gap between the train and the platform in some areas is very large which can make it hazardous. Also be aware of your belongings as pickpockets may be at large.

The cheapest way we found to use the passes:
I purchased the Navigo Decouverte pass for all zones which was €34.40 plus the Paris Museum pass for 4 days which is €54. These 2 passes allowed me to travel all over Paris and visit all the museums and monuments for a total of €88.40 which still cost less than purchasing the Paris pass for €160 for 4 days of transportation and attractions.

I advise you to purchase the passes that will best suit your vacation needs.

Also please note that summer time in Paris may mean a lot of construction so make sure to find out if trains are running.

You can also choose to use taxis while in Paris but taxis are not always easy to flag down. Taxis in Paris have strict rules to follow as to where on the streets they can stop and if you are standing far from a taxi stand you may not get a taxi. During the summer months many taxi drivers are on vacation so there may be less of them available around the city.

The best place to catch a cab is at a taxi stand. Also please note that drivers can turn on their meter when they leave to get you if you call them for a pick up, so your meter may already have started before you get in the cab. When we called a taxi to travel just a few miles with our luggage the meter was already at 22 euros before we even took off! This can be a big ripoff unless you are in dire need of a pick up.

Taxis in Paris are very small and if you are traveling with a lot of luggage and a group of people they may not be too keen on taking you where you need to go.

WARNING:  When taking a taxi from the airport and other destinations make sure you are at a taxi stand. There are many unmarked cars that may try to get you to go with them even at the airport. I advise you NOT to get in a vehicle that is unmarked. Do not let other people pitching taxi services lead you away into other areas and away from taxi stands.

There are shuttle services from the airport to various zones and hotels in Paris, shuttle services can be booked online prior to arrival.

River Taxi:
You can take a river taxi to some of the major monuments and museums. Day passes can be purchased at the river by the foot of the Eiffel Tower. This is also a great way to see the city.

I hope you found this useful. Please check out my other travel posts located in my travel section HERE 


  1. I've always wanted to travel to Paris! I've only been a couple times but I'd like to go again to admire the place more. Great post x

    Please have a look at my blog,

    1. I just got around to checking out your blog, Love your posts :) thanks for stopping by and ps. yous should travel to Paris is is BEAUTIFUL!


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