We where in Paris and got to experience one of the great French pastimes – the strike. We where there during this last transit strike, so getting around could have been very hard. But, we found a neat little book of maps, that had the secrets to the BUSES! “Le petit Parisien – Three Plans” What you get is a great detailed map of each of the arrendissements along with how the bus and the metro lines run through it. This is really the key to getting around Paris. The buses also have the advantage of allowing you to see the City of Lights as you move around. A great little book!!
How did the strike affect you?
The strike really did not impact our time at all. We would have liked to use the RER to get back to the airport (CDG), so had to use a Van Service. So using the Van was the only difference really. We got used to taking the buses, and enjoyed being above ground on this trip.
Above ground in Paris is good.
The frequency of strikes in France is one of those stories exagerated like bad waiters and sidewalk dog droppings....BUT...I was touched by this strike because i had reserved a ticket for the Courbet expo at the Grand Palais, hoping to avoid long line, and chose the first day of the strike. After i managed to get into the city there was no transport, except for the minimal bus. However i was surprised to discover that walking there was almost as fast as the time it would have taken me via Metro...I think i'll do more above ground from now on....and i'll look for the Bus book...Bus lines have always confused me
I agree with Regina (post above this) about the stories of bad waiters and sidewalk dog droppings in today's Paris being exaggerated. When I returned to Paris several years ago, after a period of many years when I had not been able to go, I found that I didn't encounter either of these phenomena--it almost didn't seem like the same old Paris.... the street and sidewalk cleaners have made a difference but in the process have removed a certain, uhm, essence or ambience? :)
I ike the buses strike or not, I like seeing everything , and while the metro is fast and efficent you do miss out in seeing anything inbetween the sites you are going to. Plus I find the bus service great in central Paris, the buses are so frequent compared to what I am used to here at home , buses here come every 15 minutes, at RUSH HOUR and only on major routes, usaully you wait at least 20 minutes here, whereas in Paris they seem to come every 5 to 10 !!