PARIS EVERY WHICH WAY: ON THE WATER, ON LAND AND IN THE AIR
There are more and more inventive ways to explore Paris – green, sporty, luxurious, festive or quirky. You can choose a different way to get around Paris every day!
Whether they’re vintage or exotic, on two or four wheels, Paris is full of original modes of transport in which to explore the city.
Bicycle taxis, tuk-tuks and other pedal-powered vehicles are an easy way to make a short journey or to enjoy an environmentally-friendly guided tour of the capital. For something just as eco-friendly and fun, but requiring a bit of balance as well, you can weave through Paris on a Segway, or the Trikke, a three-wheeled vehicle cleverly combining the sensations of roller-skating, scootering and skiing. As for the iconic 2CV, it takes aficionados from all around the world on discovery tours of Paris with a driver-guide at the wheel ready to answer all your questions. Fans of retro and/or romantic transport can experience la dolce vita Paris-style on a Vespa, while a lavish white, black or pink stretch limousine will satisfy those looking for a spacious and plush means of transport. With little tourist trains, you can return to your childhood in the magical setting of Montmartre. Or take a tour with the company Another Paris with the theme of your choice: ‘Royal’ in the Marais, ‘Bohemian’ in the 14th arrondissement or ‘Artistic’ from Saint-Germain-des-Prés to the Louvre. And why not experience the magic of a drive in a horse-drawn carriage? Paris Calèches invites visitors to hop on for the most enchanting of rides in its Cinderella coach. Everything can be made available on board: macarons, champagne, roses, etc.
– Did you know? One section of the Petite Ceinture, a disused railway line, is a nature walk known as the ‘Sentier Nature’. Running from Porte d’Auteuil to La Muette (16th arrondissement), this 1.2-km stretch of greenery is also, surprisingly enough, a haven for wildlife in the very heart of Paris.
Bicycle taxis and side cars
- Allo Tuk Tuk – www.allo-tuktuk.com
- Cyclopolitain– www.visite-insolite-cyclopolitain.com/fr/
- Happy moov – www.happymoov.com
- Retro tour – www.retro-tour.com
- Freescoot – www.freescoot.com
- Tuktuk in Paris – www.tuktukinparis.com
- Cooltra – Rent a scooter – www.cooltra.com
- Ride’N’Smile – ridensmile.fr
Segways and trikkes
- City Segway tours – www.citysegwaytours.com
- Fat tire tours –www.fattiretours.com/paris
- Paris bike tours – www.parisbiketour.net
- Paris Trikkes – www.paristrikkes.com
- L’œil d’une parisienne (electric kick scooters) – www.loeilduneparisienne.com
Horse and carriage
- Les Calèches de Versailles – calechesdeversailles.com
2 CVs, Beetles and other vintage cars
- La Traction Parisienne – www.latractionparisienne.fr
- City Wheels Tours – www.citywheels-paristours.com
- Paris Authentic – www.parisauthentic.com
- 4 Roues Sous 1 Parapluie – www.4roues-sous-1parapluie.com
- DS World Paris – www.dsworld.paris/
- Drive Collection – www.drivecollection.fr
- Paris Classic Tour – www.parisclassictour.com
- Quad in the City (tours by night on a road-legal quad bike) – www.paris-trip.com
- Anciennes de prestige – www.anciennesdeprestige.fr
- Gasnier Services Limousine – www.gasnier-limousine.com
- Paris Major Limousines – www.1st-limousine-services.com
- Drive Collection – www.drivecollection.fr
- Chauffeurs de mâitre – www.chauffeursdemaitre.com
- Limousine’s Agency – www.limousinesagency.com
- Carigami – www.carigami.fr
- My Daily Driver – www.mydailydriver.fr
- Easy-van – www.easy-van.fr
- Paris Connection – www.parisconnection.fr
- Another Paris – www.another-paris.com
- Le Petit Train de Montmartre, Place Blanche (9th arrondissement) – http://www.promotrain.fr/
To explore Paris at your own pace, as free as a bird, there’s nothing like a bicycle! You can hire a bike from a rental place, or pick one up through the city’s self-service bicycle hire scheme.
With the Vélib’ system, renting a bicycle has never been easier. Pick up a bicycle at one station and drop it off at another. This self-service system operates 24/7. It is available for kids too, with P’tit Vélib’: 4 models of bikes for children aged from 2 to 8. A bike ride can also be a chance to meet Parisians who share your passion for this clean means of transport. Join the cycle outing through the streets of the city which takes place every Friday evening and the third Sunday of the month (at 10.30am), starting from the Hôtel de Ville (Paris City Hall), or take part in the annual Vélibienne, a 15-km group bike ride. Laid-back riders can opt for an electrically-assisted bicycle. Numerous companies offer guided bicycle tours in several languages, while cyclists wanting to tour on their own can work out their route using the cycle maps produced by the Paris City Council.
– Did you know? There is a strange sort of giant sculpture along Allée du Cercle in the heart of Parc de la Villette (19th arrondissement). Sculpted by the artists Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Brugen and known as the Bicyclette Ensevelie, it consists of a partially buried wheel, handlebar, pedal and saddle.
- Ptit’Vélib – blog.velib.paris.fr/ptit-velib/
- Vélib’ – www.velib.paris.fr
- Paris Rando Vélo – www.parisrandovelo.com
- Holland Bikes – www.hollandbikes.com
Guided bicycle tours
- ike About Tours – www.bikeabouttours.com
- Paris Fat Tire Bike Tours – www.fattiretours.com/paris
- Paris à Vélo c’est Sympa – www.parisvelosympa.com
- Blue Fox Travel – www.bluefox.travel/paris
- Paris Bike Tour – www.parisbiketour.net
Draw up your own cycling route Downloadable map of recommended cycling routes –www.paris.fr/velo
Whether it’s from the air or from the rooftop of a tower, Paris has plenty of opportunities to get a bird’s-eye view. Enjoy these sky-high vistas, with or without a floor beneath your feet.
Dizzy heights are guaranteed with these views over Paris. Only the bravest visitors to the first floor of the Eiffel Tower will dare step onto the glass floor 57 metres above the ground, before continuing their ascent to the highest point of the Tower. And there are other rooftops with panoramic views offering this kind of exhilarating experience, like the 56th floor of the Montparnasse Tower with its 360° view of the city’s most beautiful monuments. To get a panoramic view of the ‘voie royale’, or historical axis, running across the city from the equestrian statue of Louis XIV in the courtyard of the Louvre to the Grande Arche at La Défense, head to the top of the Arc de Triomphe.
Those with a real head for heights should get up in the air to enjoy the best views of Paris. By helicopter, tethered balloon, hot air balloon or even, for a unique experience, in an airship, discover all the different ways of flying over the City of Light.
– Did you know? No fewer than 20,000 light bulbs (5,000 on each of the four sides) had to be installed to make the Eiffel Tower sparkle for 5 minutes every hour on the hour, until 1am. 25 mountain climbers worked for 5 months to install 40 km of fairy lights and electrical cords and 10,000 m2 of safety nets.
Rooftops and top floors with panoramic views
- Arc de Triomphe – www.arc-de-triomphe.monuments-nationaux.fr
- Bar La Vue – http://parisetoile.regency.hyatt.com/fr/hotel/dining/bar-la-vue.html
- Tour Eiffel – http://www.toureiffel.paris/
- 56th floor of the Tour Montparnasse – www.tourmontparnasse56.com
- Helipass – www.helipass.com/fr/
Hot-air balloon rides
- Aerfun Montgolfière France – www.aerfun.com
- Ballon Generali – www.ballondeparis.com
- Panoramagique – panoramagique.com
Choose from a prestige air-conditioned coach, a double-decker bus or a vintage minibus to discover Paris with multilingual guides on themed circuits. Opt for a tour alone, a private hire tour for a group, a morning, afternoon or even an evening excursion.
Simple and practical: the hop-on/hop-off ticket on double-decker buses enables users to get on and off at any of the stops at famous tourist attractions. Busity is a digital way to experience bus travel, enabling you to do your Paris sightseeing through the windows of the city’s buses. This location-aware app uses your geographic location to relate a host of light-hearted cultural anecdotes all along the route of your bus journey. The app is free to download, and you can also use it offline. Some buses are available for private hire for celebrating events like stag nights, weddings and birthdays. A ride in the specially outfitted Stan and Walter articulated bus makes for an unforgettable Paris party. It’s the perfect place to hold an unconventional business meeting and, with its stylish bar, converts easily into a club or lounge. There is also a free photo booth with a tablet so that guests can immortalize the moment.
– Did you know? The retractable roof of the Georges Vallerey swimming pool (20th arrondissement) is opened up in summer. It was the first pool with lanes (50 x 21 m) built especially for the Olympic Games, and it was here that Johnny Weissmuller won three gold medals in 1924. Eight years later, he played Tarzan in the movie Tarzan the Ape Man.
Hop-on hop-off bus tours
- Big Bus Paris – www.bigbustours.com/fr/paris/visites-paris-bus
- Paris l’open tour – www.paris.opentour.com
- City Sightseeing Paris – www.city-sightseeing.com
- Foxity Paris – www.foxity.com
- Locabus Ratp – http://services.ratp.fr/fr/ratp/r_108544/louez-un-bus-avec-locabus/
- Bustronome (lunch and dinner aboard a bus with a panoramic view) – www.bustronome.com/fr
- Stan and Walter – www.stanandwalter.com
- Bus Burger – www.bus-burger.com
- Busity – www.busity.co
- Bus discothèque – www.busdiscotheque.com (luxury bus)
- Soirée Bus – www.soireebus.fr
A stay in Paris simply would not be complete without a boat cruise along the Seine or the canals, offering many unforgettable views of the city.
On a cruise, the splendours of Paris unfold on either side of the city’s most beautiful avenue – the Seine. As you glide along the water at a leisurely pace, you pass by the most magnificent museums and monuments. Some companies offer special entertainment for children to make the voyage even more magical: a Croisière Enchantée (enchanted cruise) with a musical show, or a Petits Matelots (Little Sailors) cruise based on the character of Barthélemy the pirate. Also worth discovering: the cruises along the Canal Saint-Martin, with its picturesque locks. Contraste organizes several activities on the water, including group rides in inflatable boats and nautical rallies between the Port de Paris Arsenal and the Bassin de la Villette. Venice is not the only city to have legendary craft plying the water. The gleaming mahogany and flamboyant copper Rivas of Paris Boat Prestige brave the criss-crossing of lines of barges for a fantastic ride. The river, which runs through the middle of the city, can also be explored on foot, via its many bridges and via the new Berges de Seine. This promenade has become a popular place to stroll all year round. On Sundays, the quayside stretch is also immensely popular for walking, kick scootering and cycling. Information on these outings along the Seine, and also to woods, parks and gardens can be found at the Comité départementale de la randonnée pédestre de Paris, which offers 88 way-marked routes. Seasoned walkers can trek across Paris from north to south or east to west on way-marked paths.
– Did you know? For some water sports fun just a metro ride away, head to the Club Nautique in the 19th arrondissement, at 28 Avenue Simon Bolivar, where you can enjoy water skiing, wake skating, wake skiing and even air chair riding on the Seine in Paris.
Luxury and Riva cruises
- La Marina de Paris – www.marina-de-paris.com
- Croisieurope – http://www.croisieurope.com/croisieres/la-seine-en-croisiere-parisrouen-et-la-normandie
- Yachts de Paris – www.yachtsdeparis.fr
- Batobus – Port de la Bourdonnais, Paris 7th – M° Alma-Marceau, RER Pont-de-l’Alma – www.batobus.com
On the Seine
- Bateau Ivre Maxim’s – http://maxims-de-paris.com
- Bateaux-Mouches – www.bateauxmouches.com
- Bateaux Parisiens – www.bateauxparisiens.com (Enchanted cruise)
- Capitaine Fracasse – www.croisiere-paris.com
- Paris en scène – www.paris-en-scene.com
- Les Vedettes de Paris – www.vedettesdeparis.com (Petits Matelots cruise for 4-11year-olds)
- Les Vedettes du Pont-Neuf – www.vedettesdupontneuf.com
On the Canal
- Saint-Martin Canauxrama – www.canauxrama.com
- Paris Canal – www.pariscanal.com
- Marin d’eau douce – www.marindeaudouce.fr (electric boats on the Bassin de la Villette)
- Comité départemental de la randonnée pédestre de Paris – www.rando-paris.org
Metros, buses and trams are not just for getting around the city. They are also a way of making some great discoveries. And all for the price of a single ticket (a one-day ticket that lets you make as many journeys as you like). The city operates 60 bus lines, and the routes take in all of Paris’s architectural gems – the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, etc. The RATP also runs the Montmartrobus for visits around the Montmartre district. From the above-ground metro lines 2 and 6, there are great views of the Seine, the Eiffel Tower, the Bassin de la Villette and various gardens and parks. The ‘Paris Tourisme’ map published by the RATP marks all the must-see sites in the city and the nearest metro, bus or tram stations. The RATP has also come up with ‘Visiter Paris en métro’, a free mobile app available on Google Play and the App Store, to make visitors’ journeys easier. By Vélib’ bicycle, get a day or 7 day ticket, the first half-hour is free. An ideal way to explore Paris, especially since there are Vélib stations in locations throughout the city (nearly 1,800 stations in all, at a distance of merely 300 metres from each other) where you can pick up or drop off your bike.
Fast and efficient, public transport in Paris takes you everywhere in the capital. Paris has a comprehensive network of metro, bus and tram lines. Together they crisscross the 20 arrondissements, while the RER (Réseau express régional) suburban express trains also serve the inner and outer suburbs of the city. On the metro, children enjoy taking the overhead lines 2 and 6 to watch the bustle of city life beneath, and also lines 1 and 14, which are fully automatic, driverless trains. Riding in the front car and watching through the panoramic glass windows as the tunnels whoosh past can be just as exciting as a fairground ride. In most cases, it is more cost-effective to buy un carnet, i.e. 10 tickets. This ‘Ticket T+’ allows you to change between the metro and a bus, switch buses, or change between a bus and a tram in the course of your journey within a time period of 1hr 30. Buses are the most convenient way to get around town if you have a small child in a pushchair, or for people with reduced mobility. Let’s not forget that most of the Paris metro infrastructure dates back to the early 20th century!
- RATP – www.ratp.fr
With people-carrier taxis and minivans, families can get around with ease. In Paris, regular saloon taxis are limited to three or four passengers. But there are other ways for large families to get around. You can find large estate car or minivan type taxis in the streets, or you can order one from a taxi company.
- More information on www.parisinfo.com
The Paris metro system, operated by the RATP , is made up of 14 lines, each identifiable by their number, colour and star/ end destinations. The RER (Rapid-transit train service), comprising (RATP and SNCF) lines A, B, C, D and E, serves Paris and the surrounding region. These trains link up with the urban metro network and cerain SNCF lines. The ‘ticket t+’ can be used to travel on the metro, the RER (in Paris), the trams and buses as well as on certain connections (in Paris) within a 90-minute period. Tickets can be purchased at metro and RER stations, certain tobacconists and newspaper kiosks. Outside zone1 (Paris – CDG airport, Disneyland® Paris, etc.), the RER is subject to a different pricing system. First and last metros: from 5.30am to 1.15am on weekdays. Friday, Saturday and the eve of public holidays :from 5.30am to 2.15am.
IMPORTANT: if you have not validated your ticket, you are considered to be travelling without one and risk getting a fine.
Information, timetables, prices, routes
‘Next stop Paris’ the free RATP mobile app is available in 10 languages and provides a wealth of services to help you get around Paris by Public Transport, including a route planner, practical information, maps, timetables, phrase book and more.
Bus lines are numbered and generally operate from 6.30am to 8.30pm. Some services operate in the evening until 12.30am or later. More than 45 night bus lines (Noctilien) operate 7 days a week, from 12.30am to 5.30am in the morning.
Batobus is a transport service on the Seine with 9 stops (Eifel Tower, Musée d’Orsay, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Notre-Dame, Jardin des Plantes/Cité dela Mode et du Design, Hôtel de Ville, Louvre, Champs-Élysées, Beaugrenelle)
Daily every 25 to 40 minutes depending on the season.
Paris and its suburbs are served by 8 tram lines.
24 hours a day,7 days a week, the Paris City Council has made more than 18,000 bikes available across the city and in 30 surrounding districts (to hire from 1,600 stations, located every 300 metres) to help you make the most of the 700km of cycling paths in Paris. Interactive terminals explain how the service works in 6 languages.
Visitors are strongly advised not to travel around Paris by car and are encouraged to use the city’s public transport system.
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