Getting around Paris

paris-metro-tickets

Paris is quite surprisingly a spread out city, and tourist attractions can be some distance away from each other. Paris is made up of twenty areas called Arrondissements that work their way from the city centre in a spiral pattern beginning on the north bank of the river Siene. A little planning ahead can help you navigate the areas of Paris and how to get to those must see sights on your list. Getting around Paris is somewhat easy once you have decided on the mode of transport that best suits you.

If you are somewhat fit and enjoy walking then Paris is a great city to explore on foot, all you need to do is arm yourself with a map and away you go. The summer is particularly well suited to this activity as there are more daylight hours to spend your day meandering in pleasant weather. Walking provides good opportunities to make those unexpected little discoveries on the way to your destination. Being able to wander into shops en route and perhaps finding something unique to take home or a great little patisserie that satisfies your sweet tooth. Good photo opportunities also abound on every corner, as Paris has amazing character and interesting architecture. These are things you may miss if you were taking the train in the underground Metro to get to your destination.

Working out the Paris Metro System for the first time can be daunting. Once you are shown how, the Metro really is a simple and convenient way to get around Paris. The hardest part in the beginning is to work out which ticket you need to buy. All ticket machines will have the option to change the language to make your purchase easier but if you really run into trouble there will be an attendant to help you buy the right ticket or a willing good Samaritan. On my last trip I spent twelve days in Paris and we found that buying a carnet of ten tickets to be the best cost effective option, costing around 13 euros. By the end of the twelve days my kids were working the Metro like locals! Your ticket is valid for any connection within the Metro System but once you emerge from the Metro and onto the street you will need to purchase another ticket to re-enter.

Always carry a Metro map whenever you venture out especially when you have overdone the walking or shopping and your feet are crying out for a rest. You will need to locate the nearest Metro to get back to your accommodation. When booking accommodation I take into consideration where the nearest Metro stop is and how far I will need to carry my luggage. Metro stations involve a lot of stairs, some more substantial than others, be on the look out for the lifts with the word “Sortie”, which means exit.  They are often hiding around the corner.

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