Paris has an excellent Metro service that contrives to link all the arrondissements. They are fast efficient, and inexpensive. With their famous Art Nouveau station entrances, the Metro covers the whole of the city, across 16 lines, and with the stations very close together it is generally the easiest way to get from A to B in Paris.
The Art Nouveau style entrance to Porte Dauphine metro station (16th arrondissement).
© ATOUT FRANCE/Patrice Thébault
The Metro is the fastest and most practical way of getting around: 15 Metro lines and 5 RER lines criss-cross the city and suburbs – ask for a free map at any ticket counter. The five lines (A, B, C, D and E) of the RER (Regional express network) cross Paris and the Ile-de-France during the same times as the metro. Please note that outside Paris ticket charges are not the same. Check Metro Ticket price changes at http://parisbytrain.com/paris-metro-tickets.
Trains run between 5.30am and around 12.30am. Later than that, you can choose between taxis and "Noctambus" night buses operated by Noctilien (http://www.transilien.com).
Pyramide metro station on the automatic Line 14 (1st arrondissement).
© ATOUT FRANCE/Patrice Thébault
But for those staying in the centre, and with the energy to spare, then strolling the streets, stopping for coffee, lunch and a chance to meet the locals is by far the best way of proceeding.
For quick trips across the city, take a taxi, but, note, it is not the custom, certainly among the older taxi drivers, to jump in next to the driver. It's just one of the many quirks of travelling around the city. There are more than 16,000 taxis at your disposal. You can get information about taxi rates, here. All taxis apply the same rates, no matter what type the car is.
NOTE: You cannot hail a taxi if it is less than 50m from a taxi rank; it is in a bus lane, or if it is already reserved (signal box is white)
Since 2007 in Paris, a unique number to call (01 45 30 30 30) has been in place
allowing you to call taxis equipped with a terminal. Through an automated
assistant, you can choose which arrondisement and station is the nearest to
you. If the station then doesn't respond, you will be automatically connect to
a second or third in proximity.
You can equally reserve your taxi through internet and phone taxi services. In order to find out all the information concerning the rates of taxis in France, please refer to the "tariffs" or rates section of the Taxis of France website as a guide. Rates will depend on the area, time of day, distance travelled and number of passengers for each trip.
Spotting Fake Taxis
The Prefecture de Police de Paris is trying to help tourists avoid getting ripped off by fake taxis. You will usually find them hanging around airports and train stations, but some even have the nerve to wait in genuine taxi stands throughout the city.
There are two things
you need to know:
1. Bona fide taxi drivers don’t walk up to you asking if you need a taxi, and there is always a meter in legitimate taxis (low down on the dashboard below the radio).
2. There will be be a TAXI sign on the roof and the meter should be ON (it should have €2.50 on the display when you get in). There will be a sticker on the passenger window with the driver’s permit number (handy to note down should you have any problems or accidentally leave something in the car).
The minimum rate is €6.60 (2013), even if the meter shows less. If you have a fourth passenger or more than one suitcase they will add €3 and €1 per bag, respectively, to the final price.
A fleet of ‘tuk-tuk’ taxis took to the streets of the city at the end of 2011, offering free journeys around the French capital.
The service is set to run seven days a week, using 24 tuk-tuks and stopping at 150 points on some of the most popular fixed bus routes in the city. The service is operated by entrepreneur Kheir Mazri, who aims to cover costs by selling advertising on the side of the vehicles and by selling a variety of pastries, tea and popcorn to passengers during their journey.
To avoid competition with Parisian taxis, tuk-tuk drivers will not accept special destination requests. If the service is successful, there are plans to expand nationally offering the service in cities across France.
© Paris Tourist Office - Photographer : Amélie Dupont
Hop On Hop Off bus
This is an agreeable and affordable way to take your first steps, to make a first contact, locate monuments or places you would like to return to by yourself. There are several bus companies, but Opentour is the biggest, offering four different routes (more than 40 stops), all included in your pass for one or two consecutive days.
Free earphones are provided for commentary in eight languages: French, English, Spanish, Japanese, German, Russian, Italian and Chinese.
The four routes are all centrally located, covering the main areas of interest:
Walking, leisurely, is certainly the best way to see the heart of Paris, or any of the surrounding arrondisements. But, of course, walking means taking it easy, and not trying to do too much. Plan on exploring just one small district, or no more than two, in a day; relax, have a coffee, chill out, take in the atmosphere...you will learn so much more this way about Paris, and the way of life in this pulsating capital city.
And, if walking doesn't allow you to see everything you wanted to see, the answer is simple...come back!
© ATOUT FRANCE/Nathalie Baetens
© Paris Tourist Office - Photographer : David Lefranc
You can view a Paris Metro map, here.
Information about travelling around Paris and out to the suburbs and airports by train is available, here.
Leaving a possession in a taxi, and then trying to get in
touch with the taxi company can lead to disappointment.
Taxi companies don’t deal with these matters themselves. All drivers are supposed to drop off any found items at the Prefecture de Police’s Service des Objets Trouvés within 48 hours. They are the people to contact (Tel: 08 21 00 25 25 (0.12€/minute); email firstname.lastname@example.org).
Or you can call in person at 36, rue des Morillons, 75732 Paris Cedex 15 (Monday-Friday 8:30am-4:30pm).
Anything estimated to be worth more than €100 will be kept for a year; anything less, for 3 months.
Be precise when emailing about the item, and, of course, this has to be done in French. It will help your cause if you get into the habit of always asking the taxi driver for a receipt because this gives you the taxi’s serial number.