Please sign in to post.

transportation to & from the various landmarks in Paris

As per the advise of almost all of you, I have scratched my plan to see the various sites of Paris via a 2 day hop on hop off pass, and am following the advise to book a 2 hour Foxity tour. This does leave me with the issue of the best, least expensive, most convenient way to get to and from the various sites that my family and I (total 5 people) want to see. I'm having a great deal of trouble finding out answers on the internet. For example, do any of you know the most affordable and most expeditious way to get from our apartment in Pigalle to Notre Dame/ St Michel where we plan to board the 2-hour Foxity tour? Also, what bus or metro should we take from the Latin Quarter to Eiffel tower, the from Eiffel Tower back to Pigalle? Same question: from Montmatre to Palais Garnier, then from Palais Garnier to Les Invalides, Les Invalides to aarc de triomphe, place de la concorde to marais district, and marais district to pigalle. Sorry for all these questions, but I am really a big planner (want everything to run as smoothly as possible), and this information will be invaluable in planning everything. I'm sure there's a way for me to get this from some website, but I have spent many hours searching & reading books and just can't find anything that really nails things down. Thank you so much.

Posted by
4957 posts

If anyone in your party will have a working smart phone in Paris - HIGHLY recommended - you can use mapping apps like Google Maps or Citymapper to get from place to place. It will tell you in real time which bus or metro to take and/or how to walk there from where you are now to the place you want to go. This has saved me hours of time and frustration getting around European cities, after years of fumbling through bus schedules and paper maps.

Posted by
8889 posts

The answer is métro (faster, but with lots of steps up and down), or bus (slower but more door-to-door).
Any good street map, including the free ones given away in hotels, show métro stations.
Maps of both are on the RATP site here: https://www.ratp.fr/en/plans-lignes

For any location in Paris (or any other big city), be it your hotel or somewhere you want to go, it is not just the street address that matters, but the nearest métro station. This would be listed on any hotel website, or in any guide book.

For example: Eiffel tower, métro: Champ de Mars Tour Eiffel or Bir Hakeim. Also métro Passy, on the other side of the Seine, but offering the classic view from cross the river.
Pigalle, métro: Pigalle (some are that obvious)
Montmartre, métro Anvers for the front side of the hill,Abbesses for the easier access from the back.
Latin Quarter is a big area with many métro stations in it, you need to be more precise.
Arc de Triomphe, métro Charles de Gaulle Étoile
Place de la Concorde, métro Concorde

For the rest, look at a map or guide book.

Posted by
8293 posts

However, if no smart phone is available, buy the little booklet called Paris Pratique on your first day in Paris. It has maps of each arrondissement plus bus and metro routes. Mine is dated 2002 and is tattered from over use. Any “tabac” will gave them. You could also try rome2rio.com. Be of good heart. You will be fine.

Posted by
5765 posts

I have spent many hours searching & reading books and just can't find anything that really nails things down

Really? Do you have the Rick Steves guidebook for Paris? It has plenty of goo, detailed info on getting around.

IMHO it's incredibly foolish to not buy a good guidebook, thinking that will save you some money (hint: it'll cost you a lot more than the price of a book if you don't have the book).

Posted by
13000 posts

I would suggest the Rough Guide France. I've used that and "Let's Go Paris"

Posted by
7996 posts

Why did you choose to stay in Pigalle, especially with children along?

Posted by
511 posts

Echoing Barbra's advice: RATP: https://www.ratp.fr/en.

You can put in the name or address of your hotel and the site you want to see and it will give you several options . The first one is usually the fewest number of changes but might have you walking more to get to a particular subway stop. Tickets are cheapest in a stack of 10, which conveniently gets your party there and back again.

Posted by
3257 posts

For future trips you should know that Rick Steves guidebooks do a wonderful job of giving detailed transportation instructions. They are worth their modest price for that feature alone. I always get the appropriate RS guidebook before I begin planning a trip. I recently won a disagreement with my husband about paying for a bed and breakfast vs staying in the free Hilton because the B&B location was so much more central.

Posted by
198 posts

I agree with mapping things out at RATP. You can also print a metro map (I literally googled paper paris metro map and the first thing to come up was a .pdf -- here's the link). It may help you orient yourself and understand how the system works better than just getting the routes off the computer. Hopefully your apartment will have a foldable map, but if not, duck into a hotel and ask for one. Also, download a Paris metro app so you can get used to using it. Keep in mind there are 2 systems: the metro and the RER, a sort of suburban train with lots of stops in Paris. FYI -- at connecting stations, the bigger the bubble showing the intersection, the longer the walk under ground. And the underground walk will probably include stairs on the longer connections.

Also, just google one of your routes and when the map comes up, click on it. Click the "train" icon and it will give you transit directions instead of driving directions. You can also get walking directions there.

Finally, you say you're going with teenage children. Give them the assignment -- play the metro game and have them figure out how to get from Point A to Point B. Teach them (if they don't know already) how to use the map, figure out the line and direction you need, what connections can be made, etc. It will be useful, hopefully fun, and get them excited about the trip.

Posted by
2740 posts

Why did you choose to stay in Pigalle, especially with children along?

They will get a heck of an education!!! OP should check Boulevard Clichy on Google street views.

Posted by
3350 posts

lindah, the quickest and least expensive way to get around Paris is by métro, RER or bus. Download Citymapper and plug in where you want to go. It will give you the public transport options and for trains, it will advise you in which part of the train to sit. I just returned from 5 days in Paris and relied on it extensively.

I found Paris' public transport exceptionally EASY & CONVENIENT. Citymapper is also great because you can access saved public transport routes for offline viewing. Since you say you are "really a planner", then download Citymapper and start planning. Have fun too!

Keep in mind, when you arrive in Paris, you may change your mind about where you want to go and in what order you want to go from destination to destination. That's ok. You can pick up maps for free and plot your transportation. Again, it is so easy.

Posted by
3353 posts

I have spent many hours searching & reading books and just can't find
anything that really nails things down.

This seems to be the gist of most of the threads that you have posted on this site about your stays in London and Paris. Leading me to wonder why you haven't spent any time looking in the other forums on this site and/or getting hold of the guidebooks for each country. They would have answered 99% of your questions,. If you are still planning on continuing on to Italy, I'd highly recommend a guidebook for there, too.

Posted by
4607 posts

Hi Lindah,

When I’m planning ahead of time, I really like to use www.rome2rio.com

It allows you to enter “Latin Quarter” instead of a specific street, etc. After you enter the From & To locations, there will be options along the left column. When you click on those those options, it will give you the specific endpoints, I.e. Bus stop names or RER train/metro names.

For the metro & buses, you will want to buy a few sets of carnet (package of 10) tickets. You buy these in any metro station. Each person enters a ticket in the machine and then it time stamps the ticket. KEEP those tickets until after you have exited your final station. The metro system is VERY easy to use. You might want to pull up a YouTube video of Paris metro to put your mind at ease.

I sent you an earlier private message through this forum, but I’ll mention it here. If your apartment doesn’t have a cancellation fee, I would definitely look for a nicer neighborhood, especially since you’re bringing grandkids.

Posted by
8 posts

I really second using the app Citymapper. I just returned from Paris and it was a lifesaver. You put where you want to go and it gives options of how to get there using public transportation - both bus and metro. It also directs you to the metro stop, what train to take, how many stops before you get off and directs you to where to need to go from the metro stop. I literally used it all the time. And it supports cities around the world, not just Paris.

Good luck and enjoy Paris!

Posted by
1684 posts

This if walking is not an issue. To keep it simple I use most of the time metro line 1 as a base line as most landmarks are within walking distance. This way I can easily navigate myself through Paris and need to look at the map as less as possible. From Pigalle line 2 and 12 cross line 1 at stop Charles de Gaulle-Étoile (Arc de Triomphe) and Concorde. From CDG-Étoile line 6 to Trocedaro (Eiffel Tower) and from Concorde line 8 to Opéra (Palais Garnier) and La Tour-Maubourg for Les Invalides.

Posted by
6728 posts

There are free maps of Paris available at metro stations and tourist offices. Paris is best experienced on foot, so use the metro to get to an area then walk to the sites in that area enjoying the sights along the way, getting coffee, etc etc.

Posted by
237 posts

Great advise from you all. I have jotted it all down & can't thank you enough.

Posted by
237 posts

Great advise from you all. I have jotted it all down & can't thank you enough.

Posted by
13000 posts

Keep in mind that in getting around in Paris with your carnet of tickets, they are valid on buses too, don't just rely on the Metro. I use a combination of both. Numerous buses go to or end at Gare du Nord train station. If you're at the terminus, ie the bus depot, walk down to Rue Dunkerque, turn right, and with ca 30 mins or less, you'll arrive at Montmarte. When you see the merry-go-round, you're there. Pigalle is all right by day, a bit tedious, just be alert,

Posted by
293 posts

I think you are trying to over-plan the details. If you have ever used a subway in a large city like NYC or DC, you will be able to figure out the Metro. Even without an app or any pre-planning, once you enter ANY metro station, you can figure out a route to just about ANYWHERE using the excellent maps and signs that are posted everywhere in the station. Find the one most convenient to your apartment, look at a Metro map to plan a route for the first sight of the day, and off you’ll go! Good guidebooks usually tell you the best Metro station for a particular sight. Also, the websites of most museums, monuments, tours and so on usually tell you the best Metro stations to use.

I am actually in my hotel in Paris as I write this, after a week here. I have often changed my plans for the day based on weather, my energy level, how hungry I am, what catches my attention and so on! For instance, this afternoon I was in the Marais district and was about to get on the Metro at Hotel de Ville to go back to my hotel near the Eiffel Tower. But then I noticed how the weather had finally cleared and warmed after days of cold and grey. The Seine and the islands looked lovely, and there were many happy people enjoying the day. So I wandered around for sometime and found myself a long way from Hotel de Ville. So I popped into the first Metro station I saw and found my way home. I think you will find yourself doing this too!

Posted by
2928 posts

Following up on Fred's excellent advice about the busses, note please that a ticket is not good for a transfer from the metro to a bus and vice versa.

Posted by
119 posts

The RATP has an app for your phone called "Next Stop Paris-RATP". It will map the route for you based upon your location and destination. Additionally, it will work offline if you don't have service. I found it very useful. Otherwise, the website mentioned for the RATP by others contains all the route info as well. I hope you have a great trip!

Posted by
9 posts

I'm going to throw in another recommendation for the citymapper app!! Just returned from a visit and we found it invaluable. Much easier to use than the RATP app. Just plug in your destination and it will give you the best way there, and every other option. It will even show you which metro car is the best one to get on for your exit later. If you have kids along, make sure you scroll to the bottom of the page - it will give you options like "jetpack" or "catapult," which are fun.

Posted by
3699 posts

Google Maps also has public transit advice which you can compare to the itineraries on RATP.

Posted by
2 posts

American living outside london, here. My husband and I plus our 3 kids have travelled quite a bit in Europe, and City mapper and google maps are the best for this. First, make sure your phone is UNLOCKED. Just tell your mobile carrier you're travelling overseas and they shouldn't put up a fight. When you're in the airport in france you will see vending machines full of SIMS. Buy one for 30 euros and you'll have plenty of data and peace of mind for your trip. My husband swears by city mapper but I'm old school with my google maps and love it. I'm not great with navigating but successfully navigated Paris with my 7 year old daughter last year. While we did use a hop on hop off tour (why the negativity on those? I LOVE them!), we also used the busses and metro. Google maps will tell you which train/bus to take. Quick tip, if you grab a taxi at the airport or train station, be sure you take one of the official ones lined up. The guys lingering near the station but not in that line will take advantage of you (This almost happened to us. I was going to walk and changed my mind so I went back for a cab and stopped at a random cab near the station. The guy quoted me something like 60 euros to get to my hotel and I turned around and walked away. As I did, he instantly dropped his price to 30!)
Anyway, now I'm off to check out this Foxity tour you mentioned bc I'm going back to paris in a week!
Cayce

Posted by
3350 posts

First, make sure your phone is UNLOCKED.

Disagree. Unless the OP opts to buy a SIM card, her phone does not need to be unlocked especially with wifi and international plans available from one's domestic mobile provider.