The River Seine flows roughly east to west, cutting the city in two. The area north of the river is known as the right bank (rive droite) and the south is called the left bank (rive gauche).

Think of the Louvre as the centre, the Eiffel Tower the west, and the white domes of Sacre Coeur on top of the hill Montmartre the north.

Paris is best  explored on foot as most of the major sites are within walking distance. However you have an excellent choice of public transportation.

The Metro

If you are visiting Paris for some days then it's practical to buy a carnet or a set of ten tickets from any station or tabac. The same tickets are valid for both bus and metro within city limits and immediate suburbs. Other possibilities are the Paris  Visites one, two, three, and a five-day visitors passes. These are valid in Paris and in close suburbs including the airports, Versailles and Disney land Paris. A half-priced child's version is also available.

Free maps are available at most stations and every station has a big plan of the network outside the entrance and several inside. For RER journeys beyond the city, make sure that the stations you want is illuminated on the platform display board. The metro runs from 5:30am to 1am and the RER trains run from 5am to midnight.  For further information: www.ratp.fr

The Buses

Buses in Paris are not difficult to use and you will see more of the city than you will do sitting in the metro. Free bus route maps are available at the metro stations, at the bus terminals and the tourist office. Every bus stop displays the numbers of buses that stop there and a map shows all the stops on the route. Generally the buses run from 6:30 am to 8:30 pm, but some services continue until midnight. However most of the lines don't operate on Sundays and on holidays. For further information visit www.ratp.fr *See “Fares, travel passes and reductions”

If you plan to use buses a lot purchase a booklet with all the Paris bus routes.

See also our selection of the best local sightseeing buses in Paris>>>


Taxi charges in Paris are considerable reasonable. You can tell which rate is operating from the three small indicator lights on its roof. "A" or the passenger side indicates the daytime rate, "B" is the rate for Paris at night and for the suburbs during the day and "C" is the night rate for the suburbs. Taxi drivers don't take more than three passengers and if a fourth passenger is accepted then extra charge will be added. Tipping is not mandatory, but usually ten percent is expected. If you're going to take a taxi, it's a good idea to learn a few words of French, act confident and look like you know where you are going, otherwise you could get taken on an expensive ride.

Taxis can be hailed in the street, called at a taxi rank or booked via their reservations hotline.

Within Paris (to and from the airports as well) you can book TAXI in English with

Taxis G7 on 01 4127 6699 or  online  adp.g7booking.com/en/

You can also download their app on www.taxisg7.com/order-taxi/taxi-from-smartphone

Taxis Bleus 01 4936 1010 or online www.taxis-bleus.com

The Velib

This innovative “free bicycle” system was launched in July 2007. It is a Self Service “bike hire” system available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Multi pick up and drop off location allows you to pick up your bike from one service point and drop off to another.

You can buy a one-day pass for one euro with your credit card (you can’t pay in cash) and take a bike from the station. Once you have your pass, the first half hour is free, the second is one euro, the third is two euro, etc. The city has a large number of bike paths, which make it really easy to bike, even with the traffic. More Information on velib.paris.fr

Tip: Ride it for FREE Ride it for half an hour, simply put back your bike into the nearest station (it doesn’t have to be the one you took it from). You then can take another bike, so that you are only riding during the free half hours. This way, you can have a bike all day in Paris, and in the end pay only one euro for the day. But be careful—if you don’t give the bike back, or if it is damaged, your credit card will be charged 150 euro.

Late night transport in Paris

Paris has an efficient metro system serving all areas of the city until 1.15am on weekdays and until 2.15am at week-ends and the night before the public holidays. Métro – www.ratp.info

Night owls have several other modes of transport for getting around the city late at night.

These include: Vélib’, Autolib’, taxis and bus Noctiliens (night buses).

The capital has over 1,800 Vélib’ stations with a total of 20,600 bikes available to rent for a short period. www.velib.paris.fr The same principle applies to the Autolib’ electric cars service, with 508 stations dotted across the city.

The night bus or Noctilien runs all year round between 12.30am and 5.30am, with over 47 routes picking up and dropping passengers off at any of the 2,000 stops across the city and suburbs. www.noctilien.fr

Getting around Paris

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Transfers from the Airports

All information about transfers and flights can be found on Aeroportsdeparis.fr Official site for Orly and Roissy (Charles de Gaulle) airports.

Beauvais Airport  is the hub for few low cost European carriers. There is a shuttle service from the airport to Paris. More information can be found on  Aeroportbeauvais.com

Best local sightseeing buses in Paris