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Considering Bus #69 - Opinions?

We arrive mid-day on Monday in Paris (will be jet-lagged) and thought about just riding bus #69 from the Eiffel Tower for a leisurely orientation. I've read conflicting opinions. I have a map of the route but am embarrassed to say that I tore up my RS Paris book (the way he advises ;-) and I believe I discarded the portion on #69 when I didn't think we'd use it. I have his pocket guide to Paris and have left it unmolested but I don't see info on sightseeing on Bus #69 in that.

Any opinions or any links that would tell us what sights we are coming upon before we pass them if we start at the ET?

Thanks!

Posted by
27349 posts

I've never taken that bus, but given that I rarely sleep on overnight flights, if I sat down on a bus on my arrival day, I'd soon fall asleep. I need to walk. But perhaps you'll be in better shape than I am on Day 1.

If you have an electronic map of Paris on your phone or tablet (careful of pickpockets!) and zoom way in, the "You are here" dot will move on the map, showing where you are, and at least some of the key sights should be labeled.

Posted by
776 posts

Of course you'll keep in mind that the #69's mission is not to provide tourists with sight-seeing opportunities. At rush hour this bus is very crowded and might not complete its run depending on Paris traffic. You are not guaranteed window seats and will be expected to give up seats to the aged, infirm . . .just good manners.

Posted by
8293 posts

If you mount the No. 69 bus at Champs de Mars (the stop for the Tour Eiffel) you will be starting the route at its beginning so you should have no trouble getting a seat. I have often done this and there are usually few of us waiting for the bus. You can download the bus route with a schematic of the route and do a little pre-trip research on what you will be seeing (or passing by). The bus terminates its route close to Pere Lachaise Cemetery, if you feel energetic enough to take a little tour of it. Good to get some fresh air when you are jet lagged.

Posted by
4132 posts

It is a bus ride, not a marriage, so go ahead and give it a spin. But for jet lag, you want to spend time outdoors in daylight, so think about where you might hop off the bus and walk around. Pere LaChaise might be a good choice, on the 69.

Posted by
14157 posts

I posted on your other thread as well and mentioned that I would not be able to take doing a couple hour's bus ride in a jet-lagged state. You might have a different experience.

You don't have to walk all the way to the Champ de Mars to catch the bus. Walk down to the end of your street toward Rue Saint-Dominique. This is the one-way street the 69 runs on going eastward. I am not exactly sure where the bus stop is but it may be in the block to the left toward the Starbucks.

I gave you a couple of walking suggestions in the other thread in case you decide not to do the bus, but also thought you could walk toward the La Tour Maubourg Metro stop to purchase your carnet. Then keep going to the Esplanade in front of Les Invalides (which will be on your right), then turn toward the river which takes you to the over-the-top Pont Alexandre III bridge over the Seine. You'll get a good view of the Eiffel Tower from the Bridge, then you can walk toward it if you like.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pont_Alexandre_III

Posted by
784 posts

Bus #69 is a good route for getting around, not so much as a "tour" bus. For that it would probably be more satisfactory to take one of the Foxity, or Hop-on-Hop-off tours, with commentary. It is a good scenic route if your destination is along its route. What I would suggest is to take the #69 at night, getting off at Champs de Mars so you can watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle. Whatever you do, keep in mind that the public buses are used for commuting by locals and can be crowded, so avoid them during rush hours, and your chances of scoring a window seat are limited.

Posted by
1540 posts

I took this bus and really enjoyed the ride.
bus 69 to Pere Lachaise Cemetery
It gives you a great look at the "work a day" areas and then the cemetery is
amazing. So many famous people buried there.
I was there in February and it was cold and I thought it would be not heavily
visited.....but there were lots of people there.
Jim Morrison of the Doors is one of the most famous graves, but there are many others. You can buy a guide pamphlet at the entry kiosk.

Posted by
489 posts

I agree with the posters who have advised walking out of doors on arrival day as opposed to taking a long bus ride.
As for the ride, I have taken #69 all the way from The Eiffel Tower to Perl Lachaise (and back) and have to say I was under-impressed. As others have noted, it's not a tour bus. So you ride through lots of Paris but it was unremarkable in my opinion. If there were things to see along the route, or interesting stories about this or that neighborhood, no one was narrating, so it was just a big city bus ride. Not very comfortable, not very enlightening, not my idea of a good way to spend your time in Paris.
Walking around your neighborhood might be more of an orientation, especially if you can include something that makes it clear that you're actually in Paris (walk along the Seine, see the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, or something like that). Could just be my imagination but I always get a kick out of just walking around in Paris.

Posted by
2466 posts

Bus 69 is limited to a vast expanse of the gardens before the Eiffel Tower, and the rest is made up of very crowded small streets - you can't see much at all, if the windows are foggy, which they probably will be.

You must give up your seat to the infirm, pregnant women and children travelling with them. There is a logo in orange for these seats.

Posted by
87 posts

Thanks to all for the replies. We'll play it by ear when we arrive, but I'm glad to have this information (pro and con) on Bus #69.

Posted by
8293 posts

Both of our Parisian contributors have cautioned that you need to give up your seat on a Paris bus to the elderly, infirm or pregnant passengers. Paris is not the only city in the world where such good manners are required on public transportation so I do think most tourists are prepared to be thoughtful.

Posted by
87 posts

I read these responses to my husband and he said, "of course; that goes without saying". (Sadly, I realize it doesn't go without saying, but it SHOULD.) Again, thanks to all for the responses.

Posted by
2466 posts

If, by chance, you do not have a seat, and must stand in the aisle, hang on...
The bus might stop short and you will go flying.
Enter through the front and exit from the middle of the bus.

Posted by
8293 posts

Yes, chexbres, city buses all over the world sometimes stop quickly or swerve, obliging standees to hold tight.

Posted by
1443 posts

I don't recall if I've taken bus 69 ever, but in my last Paris visit in 2016 I relied much more on buses than the Metro - and I really enjoyed it! The Metro is probably the quicker option, but the bus is more interesting because you can see the city as you go. If you're not in a rush, go with the bus!

Posted by
1161 posts

I agree with FastEddie. The bus lets you see the city. The metro makes you avoid it. My last trip in September, I took many buses. The only time I took the metro was one morning when I had to catch a TGV on the other side of the city at rush hour, and didn't want to risk missing it. All other times I took my time and took in the view. That's what vacations are for!

Posted by
8293 posts

As long as we are on the subject of buses, I recommend as well as the 69, the No. 42. The route starts at Gare du Nord (the Terminal is just behind the Gare) and passes through the Champs de Mars. You can get off there, have a little visit at the Tour Eiffel or just a gander, and then maybe cross the road (Champs de Mars, that is) and transfer to the 69. Be sure to do as our Parisian posters suggest and surrender your seats to the elderly and infirm and hold on tight if you are a standee.

Posted by
776 posts

As long as other routes are being discussed, I'll offer my favorite for rainy day travel into an area missed by most,. an architectural and neighborhood tour with the #75 that skirts the Canal Saint Martin, passes the plague hospital Saint-Louis contemporary with the Place des Vosges, gives you a good look at the Oscar Niemeyer designed French Communist party headquarters, stops below the Buttes Chaumont, travels through the Mouzaia quartier, past the Lycee Diderot constructed to look like an ocean liner and down to the new Jean Nouvel designed Philharmonie at La Villette.