How to Get Around in Paris

How close are you to your trip to Paris? I'm sure you're already finalising details and itineraries, so don't miss my tips on how to get around the city comfortably.

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

9 min read

How to Get Around in Paris

Streets of Paris | ©Adrien Olichon

Paris is a city with many sights to see and great things to do. Getting around the whole city can be almost impossible, unless you find the right way to do it. Organised tours, personalised tours, metro, bus... There are many alternatives.

Depending on how you want to get around Paris, the time you have or what you want to visit, I would like to recommend you one or the other option, what do you think?

Getting around Paris on an organised tour

Walking around Paris| ©Earth
Walking around Paris| ©Earth

Paris is a huge city and getting around can sometimes be complicated if you don't know which route is best or the best way to get from one point to another. That's why I always opt to book a guided walking tour of Paris.

This way you can forget about maps, routes and directions and just focus on seeing the city without fear of getting lost. Another advantage is that the tours usually include entrance tickets to Paris landmarks, so you can be sure to get in at the specified time.

In short, if you don't want to go crazy, trust the professional guides who, as well as explaining everything you see, will make getting around Paris seem easy.

Getting around Paris on a walking tour

It's clear that walking is the best way to see more things, as you can make stops or get closer to the best museums in Paris or the Parisian monuments that catch your eye. Of course, you will probably end up getting lost, but you don't have a specialised guide.

Something very common in Paris is to book a personalised walking tour, so you can see exactly what you want to see and stop where you want to stop, without having to wait for a large group of people, which undoubtedly also makes it difficult and delays any movement around Paris.

The truth is that touring Paris at your own pace, but with the confidence that a guide has designed the route especially for you, is a luxury, believe me. Just make sure that before you book you make a list of the places you want to go so that the guide can include them in the tour and let you know whether or not entrance is included.

Cycle around Paris with a guide

If you enjoy cycling to places, you must try to see Paris on two wheels. Be warned, the traffic and streets of Paris can be a bit chaotic, so my recommendation is to book a bike tour of Paris organised with a larger group of people.

This makes it easier for other vehicles to see you and, although it may seem dangerous, cycling is a good way to get around Paris faster and to get to some places a bit further from the centre in less time. Also, the tour includes a bike and helmet in perfect condition.

If you want to see as much of Paris as possible in a single day, I highly recommend the bike tour, as you'll actually get to more places than a walking tour. However, bear in mind that you won 't make as many stops on a bike tour, so choose this tour if you want a general tour of Paris.

Get around Paris by Segway

Segway around Paris| ©Markus Tacker
Segway around Paris| ©Markus Tacker

Want to get from one place to another in Paris even faster? You're in luck, because there are organised tours that take you around the city on a Segway, a fast means of transport where you don't have to make any effort beyond controlling the handlebars and following the guide.

No fatigue can get the better of you and you'll be able to see Paris with your eyes wide open. It's also perfect if you're travelling to Paris with little time and you're looking to get around the most important places in the French capital quickly, making the most of every minute.

If you've never ridden a Segway before, don't worry. There will be a responsible person on the tour who will answer your questions and guide you around the city on your Segway tour. And if you liked the experience and you are going to stay more days in Paris, I recommend you to book the Segway tour in Château de Vincennes.

Touring Paris on a tourist bus

One option for getting around Paris that I always consider is booking the Paris sightseeing bus. These vehicles travel almost the entire length of Paris and you can hop on and off at the stops that interest you.

It's a great way to make sure you see everything but only spend time at the places that catch your eye. If you're staying a couple of days in Paris, consider this option, because the ticket will be valid for both dates and you can use it as public transport.

This bus stops at places like Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower and the Moulin Rouge. Plus, the great thing about opting for this type of bus rather than a regular bus is that it has two decks, one of which has an open-top roof so you can see the sights of Paris from a different perspective.

Book a seat on the Paris sightseeing bus

Getting around Paris by metro and suburban train

Metro in Paris| ©FranceHouse
Metro in Paris| ©FranceHouse

There are a total of 16 lines in the Paris metro that connect hundreds of points in the city, so you can imagine that this will always be a fast, comfortable and accessible alternative for getting around Paris.

There are many stops and the frequency is approximately 5 minutes. In addition, many of the metro stations are connected to or have RER (Parisian suburban train) stops, which can take you further afield to places like Versailles.

Metro stops are open from 5:30 in the morning until 1:00 (Saturdays and public holidays until 2:00), so you can always take a metro to get around the city. However, when buying your ticket, you should take into account the areas you are going to travel in.

Paris zones

Paris is divided into 5 zones, the first 3 being the most central and cheapest and easily accessible by metro (approximately 2€ for a single ticket and 23€ for a 10-ticket pass). In these zones the RER behaves like a metro, so it is included in the ticket.

On the other hand, zones 4 and 5 are further away and to get to them you need to take the RER suburban train, which is not included in the single ticket but is included in the île-de-France ticket. The price varies according to the distance you have to travel, but you can check it on the official website.

The Paris Pass

If you're going to be in Paris for a week or more and you're going to be using the metro or train, my advice is to get a Navigo travel pass, which allows you to move around freely in all the areas you choose. If you're not staying for that long, you always have the option of getting a Paris Visite Card.

These are good alternatives, but you can also book the Paris Pass, a card that not only allows you to take public transport in Paris, but also includes priority access to many of the city's tourist attractions.

Book the Paris Pass

Getting around Paris by bus

Line 30 bus in Paris, France| ©Bus Box
Line 30 bus in Paris, France| ©Bus Box

Although the metro is faster, the bus is more charming, as you can see the outskirts of Paris as you move around the city. In fact, it's one of the most popular modes of transport for Parisians too.

There are 59 routes and the fare is quite cheap (around €2). Don't forget, however, that buses are not as punctual, as they run every 15-20 minutes or so, and are available for less time (from 7:30am to 8:30pm).

The lines you'll use most if you want to get around the centre of Paris are those from 20 to 99, as the later ones run through the outskirts of the city. In any case, you can consult the available routes on the official map.

How to buy a bus ticket

It is very easy to buy your ticket from the ticket machines at any station or point of sale, although you can also buy it when you get on the bus. However, if you do this it will be a little more expensive and you won't be able to transfer to other means of transport such as the metro or train.

To save even more money, you can always buy a season ticket such as the Navigo or Paris Visite.

Night buses

Even if you prefer not to use the bus during the day, if you want to enjoy Paris' nightlife and get around the city at night, you will need to take one of the 42 Noctilien buses (marked with an N) that run in Paris from 00:30h to 5:30h and on which you can use the same ticket.

Getting around Paris by taxi

Taxi in Paris| ©joiseyshowaa
Taxi in Paris| ©joiseyshowaa

I'm not going to kid you, the Parisian taxi is not the cheapest way to get around the city (approximately 1,06€ per kilometre), but it's still a good option if you don't want to worry about finding the metro or bus stops.

It's also a very safe option, especially if you need to get around at night, although the fare is a bit higher.

My advice is to make sure you take an official taxi whenever you're going to take a taxi. If you have just arrived at one of the Paris airports and you want to go to the city centre, it is easy to recognise an official taxi because they are the ones at the specific taxi rank. If you are already in the city centre, only trust the ones with the luminous sign.

Getting around Paris by bike

Paris by Bike| ©TRAVELBLOG
Paris by Bike| ©TRAVELBLOG

When I go to Paris I always rent a bike some of the days. It's a quick way to see the city without missing anything. But don't forget that you can also book a bike tour of Paris to see the city with a group as I explained above.

Renting a bike doesn't contribute to Parisian pollution and is quite economical, as the city itself has bikes for rent (the famous Vélib) for about 5€ every 24 hours.

Beyond the sustainability of cycling, it's a very accessible mode of transport as there are plenty of bike parking stations (you can check the official ones here) and plenty of bike lanes, so you'll be sure to be able to get to all the places you want to go.

Book a bike tour of Paris

Getting around Paris by car

Driving around Paris by car| ©Alexandr Podvalny
Driving around Paris by car| ©Alexandr Podvalny

If you want to get around Paris by car, you should be aware that traffic can be overwhelming, especially if you are not used to driving in big cities and central areas. But if you are going to take advantage of your trip to Paris to do some sightseeing around Paris, this is perfect.

If you are an EU citizen, your national driving licence is enough to rent and drive a car in Paris or anywhere else in France. But don't forget to take a look at the official regulations so you don't come back from your trip with a fine.

But the most complicated thing about driving in Paris is parking, because it's always expensive. If you want to opt for a safer option, there are always the underground car parks, which are open and guarded 24 hours a day.

Other fun ways to explore the city by car

Book a classic car tour of Paris

Walking tour of Paris

Around Paris| ©Mathias P.R. Reding
Around Paris| ©Mathias P.R. Reding

Walking around while seeing some of the most famous and special places in the world is a pleasure, I won't deny it, but you have to understand that Paris is a city with many neighbourhoods and tourist centres.

Walking is a fun, cheap and charming alternative, yes, but you will waste a lot of time getting from one place to another. What you can do is move to a specific neighbourhood and, once there, move around it to visit the most emblematic places.

For example, going from the Eiffel Tower to the Montmartre neighbourhood will take you more than an hour and when you get there you will be exhausted and out of energy. It is much better to get to Montmartre by metro and walk there.

Comparison of transport in Paris

  • Organised tour
  • Most complete option
  • There is a wide range of options
  • Underground or suburban
  • Faster option
  • Can be chaotic
  • Public bus
  • Cheaper option
  • Depends on traffic
  • Taxi
  • Most comfortable and safest option
  • Expensive
  • Bicycle
  • More sustainable option
  • Not recommended for families with small children
  • Car
  • More flexible option
  • Parking is expensive and complicated