Public transportation in Paris, France
Paris is indeed an amazing city with world famous monuments and people. It is as beautiful as they say but still causes many surprises for a first-time visitor like myself.
Paris - Transportation
There are two different cities, one under the earth and another one up in the sunlight. The metro network of Paris is extremely wide, but the good thing is that once you can travel as much as you want using as many lines as you need with one metro ticket of 1,60 Euros (August 2009) if you don’t leave the territory of the metro. You have to stamp your ticket at the gates when you enter it and when you leave.
We arrived to the Charles de Gaulle (CDG) Airport. We were surprised when we saw that there are not escalators but moving pavements that link the airport with the train station. The ticket to the city for the Ile de France RER train (blue B line) cost 8,50 Euros (August 2009). The train has common stations with the metro, so again you don’t have to buy a new ticket if you change to metro there. The average time to get to the city center from CDG is 45 minutes, but be careful, it can take even more than 1 hour. We had to change from the blue B to the red A at the Chatelet les Halles station to arrive to the Gare de Lyon, but it is only one station away, so it is much better to get out of the metro and walk.
You can use the luggage lockers (consignes) of the train stations with trust. The Gare de Lyon and the Gare d’Austerlitz are in the city center and they are not far from each other, so if one locker doesn’t function, you can take a walk to the other. If you travel forward from Paris, you better buy your ticket from Paris earlier on the internet or at the station because there are long queues in front of the ticket offices.
Paris - Some useful tips
Once in Paris you should take in consideration several things. French people really appreciate if you politely ask if they can speak English – do this in French, if possible (Parlez-vous Anglais?)- before you ask them for information. You should also learn some basic French, the names of the directions at least (en droit= to the right; en gauche= to the left, en avance = straight, en retour= back). You should also bring a pocketbook with basic French expressions and frequent sentences. Good news is that there are quite many information stands for tourists, at the train stations they also provide you with free maps of Paris (city map, metro network, trains).
You should bestir some time to go on a boat tour on the Sein or to sit down on the grass on the square in front of the Esplanade des Invalides. I repeat, you better walk around the city than wander in the metro tunnels, it takes more time, but it is amazing. If you decide to go sightseeing, you should visit a supermarket before, drink and food is extremely expensive at the tourist spots. One bottle of 2 l mineral water costs 1 Euro in the shops and one of 0,5 l is 4 Euros at a stand next to the Eiffel Tower (but it is the same with every tourist spot).
You also need much time if you want to see more places and don’t want to run. There are very many things to see in the museums and the Eiffel Tower for instance is extremely crowded, there are 50 meter long queues at the entrance. You should also take a long walk on the bank of the Seine from the beautiful Pont des Invalides to the Eiffel Tower watching the boats and the beautiful buildings hand in hand with your beloved.
Things about Paris you may be interested in
1. Aug 6, 2009 Public transportation in Paris (Paris)
2. Aug 7, 2009 Brioude - the best place to visit in Auvergne (Brioude)
3. Aug 10, 2009 What to see in Blesle (Blesle)
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Read about Paris in our travel-guide
Top things to do in ParisGetting around in Paris
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