About Paris - visitor guide and travel tips

The 2018 Paris guide from

About-France.com - more than just a travel guide to France

About-Paris menu  Discover Paris Getting round Paris
Paris passes - the options The quarters of Paris Paris transport tips
  ►   Paris hotel information  Budget Paris Paris airport guide
 ►   Main Paris attractions Paris for free Paris with the kids
Paris in the Spring A week in Paris Paris car hire
For Paris travel on your mobile: see Paris travel information for mobile devices
Paris by night
Paris hotels on a map

Click for selected
Paris hotels map

Paris passes : choose the right one for your needs

  • Paris Pass : the all-in-one pass: museums, travel, sightseeing. More info here
  • Paris visite: just a Paris public transport pass.  More info here
  • Paris Museum pass : just gives entry into the main museums. More info here
  • Hop-on hop-off tourist buses : just  valid on these tour buses. More info here
  • Choose tickets à la carte :  Just buy tickets for what you have time to see. More info here
Important: Paris passes do not include the Eiffel tower; but visiting the Tower without a booking in busy holiday periods will mean at best standing for ages in a long line, at worst disappointment.
See best solutions for pre-booking your visit on our Eiffel tower page


Making the best use of Paris public transport.

Art nouveau metro station signLike most French cities, Paris is not a place to visit by car. Parking can be an expensive nightmare (though less so than London), and the city has a great public transport network, with a fast underground network that stretches well into the suburbs.
The public transport system includes buses, the underground and overground metro, the RER (express transit metro), and of course taxis. Taxis in France are ordinary vehicles with a taxi sign on the roof, not special vehicles as in London.  They are quite expensive, and there are not enough of them.
   If you plan to use public transport, it makes best sense to buy one of the passes that includes it. See below.  
  For more ideas on keeping down your costs, visit the Budget Paris page

Information on the main Paris passes:

There are several different "passes" available for visitors to Paris, and it is a good idea not to get the wrong one, as this will mean either paying too much or else getting less than you bargained for.....  Passes will not necessarily offer great financial savings, but they will offer savings in time. During a short visit to Paris, few tourists want to spend several hours waiting in long queues to get into the top attractions. With a Paris Pass you can avoid the ticket queues and skip the lines at the entrance to popular sites. 
IMPORTANT: Eiffel Tower : None of the Paris passes include the Eiffel Tower. (One pass offers a second floor Eiffel Tower ticket for 15 € extra... But a second floor ticket is only 11 € on the official Eiffel Tower site !)  Tower access must always be purchased separately, or as part of  certain specific tours – but since the Paris Pass includes tour buses anyway, don't buy Paris Pass and a tour. Buy your Paris Pass online, then buy Eiffel tower ticket online from the official site. See Eiffel Tower information.

The main passes are:

  • The Paris Pass  [Includes Skip the line at Museums and other attractions, sightseeing bus,  and public transport ]
    This is the the "all you need" pass covering transport, museums and attractions. It is the most comprehensive of the different Paris passes, giving free admission to some 60 monuments / museums in and around Paris, plus free use of public transport (buses and metro) , the Cars Rouge tour buses, a Seine river cruise, a wine-tasting session, a free Paris guide book,  and lots more. Includes the Louvre, Orsay museum for the Impressionists,  Arc de Triomphe, Versailles, the Dali museum and more - but not the Eiffel Tower.
    Buy your pass in advance, and avoid the queues to get in. The Paris Pass now offers a refund guarantee insurance, in case you have to change your travel plans. Many other online ticket sellers do not offer this. 
  • Jan 2018 Paris Pass Prices -  before discounts
    2-day pass: Adults: 134 € , Teens under 18: 82 €  Children 45 €
    3-day pass: Adults: 168 € , Teens under 18: 98 €  Children 51 €
    4-day pass: Adults: 198 € , Teens under 18: 108€  Children 57 €
    6-day pass: Adults:  238 € , Teens under 18: 128 €  Children 74 €,
    Best rates with About-France.com
    Special About-France.com discounts on the Paris Pass
    with About-France.com
    This is the best deal available on Paris Pass
    USE C0DE ABOUTFRA in the "additional products" section when keying in your payment details. For the ABOUTFRA discount code to work, you must go straight to the Paris Pass website from About-France.com, not from an advertisement that may show up on other pages.  So   Buy your Paris Pass now.
  • Paris visite:  [Public transport only ]

    Visitors who plan to use lots of public transport in Paris may find that the best or cheapest solution is to take a visitor's pass, "Paris Visite", though this is not necessarily the case (see below). The Paris Visite passes are available on a 1, 2, 3 or 5 day basis, and cover all types of official public transport in the central area or central area and suburbs, depending on the option chosen.
      DO NOT BUY A PARIS VISITE PUBLIC TRANSPORT PASS if you have bought, or plan to buy, a Paris Pass for visiting attractions and museums. Public transport is already included in the Paris Pass.  See above 
       Paris Visite
    - gives unlimited use of the metro / RER / bus network for a given numer of days. Prices start at €13.20 for a one day adult pass covering zones 1 to 3 or 21.50 €uros for 2 days (As of Jan 2018). Full details in English, plus downloadable Paris Metro and public transport maps from the official Paris visitor website,

    Take care...  Where to buy Paris visite pass ?
    The simplest is to buy it when you reach France, from any Paris area train / metro station, airport, information point or tourist office. Buy it at the ticket office, not from a machine (unless renewing). If you want to buy it on line in advance, only do so here; you'll get the tickets at the official price, but you will pay extra (at least 9 Euros) to have them mailed to you. DO NOT purchase in advance from other online websites that sell these tickets well above the real cost, and charge excessively for delivery too. You could end up paying double the cost......
  • Paris Museum pass  [Museums only ]- giving unlimited admission to some 60 monuments / museums in and around Paris, excluding the Eiffel Tower. Prices start at 48 €uros for two days or 62€ for four days.  This pass - best purchased on the day at the first museum you visit -  does not include any transport, so things like Seine river cruises, metro tickets and sightseeing tours must be purchased separately. See below. The Paris Museum Pass is included in the Paris Pass (see above). 
Other passes:
  • Hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus pass  The Open-Tour /Cityrama service, has a choice of hop-on hop-off passes from 33 € for a one-day pass, and covers four different routes (plus optional Batobus service on the Seine). Alternatively Big Bus Tours (formerly les Cars Rouges) run open-top guided tour buses linking nine major sites; a two-day pass costs  39€ if paid on the bus. Big Bus tours are now included in the Paris Pass
  • The "Batobus" and travel on the Seine. The Batobus are river buses that go up and down the Seine from the Eiffel tower to the quai de Montebello (near Notre Dame). There are 8 stops in all. An adult day pass in early 2018 costs 17 €, and a 2-day pass (consecutive days) costs 19 € per adult.

PASSES are often the easiest solution, but not necessarily the cheapest way to visit Paris ...

METRO and Bus information for Paris - 2018

paris metroWhen visiting Paris, if you plan to use the  metro or the bus from time to time but less than six times in a day, opt for a "carnet" (pronounced Car-nay). This is simply ten standard tickets at a reduced rate (€ 14.90 for ten in January 2018). Carnet tickets have no date limit, and can be shared among members of a group. If you have some left over at the end of your stay, keep them for next time. They are valid on buses, the metro and the "RER" within the cental area, and on metro and RER journeys allow as many changes as you want.
Changing: Just one important point to note: while you can change metros or change buses on a standard journey ticket, you can't change from a bus journey to a metro journey, or vice-versa.
Though the Metro is mainly an underground system, several parts of the network are above ground, and offer an interesting way to see Paris from well above street level.
Note: Neither a standard Paris metro ticket nor a central Paris pass are valid on the RER for travel into the suburbs, and notably for travel to Charles de Gaulle or Orly airports. For such destinations, you must buy a specific ticket.
Specific destination tickets and carnets are available at all metro stations, and from automatic machines which accept credit cards. Carnets can also be bought in some main French railway stations outside Paris.

Small Paris metro planGlimpse of the hypercenter of the Paris metro network     Click this small map for a larger map, or click the following link for a  printable PDF Central Paris metro map.
Set printer options to "Landscape" (horizontal) for best printing
Finding your way in the metro.
This is no big problem. Using the maps available, check the line number and terminus station of each line you want to take. If you need to change routes, follow the "Correspondance" signs on the platform and through the foot tunnels; these indicate the line numbers and the termini. Just follow the right one. The RATP (Paris transport authority) provides free maps which are usually available in hotels, metro stations and other places.

Travelling outside Paris: use the trains or hire a car at  a location on the outskirts of Paris, to avoid having to drive in the streets of Paris. See tips on car hire on the outskirts of Paris. Click here for travel to and from Paris airports

General Paris transport tips :

TIP - Train or bus from the airport: Generally speaking, the RER train service is fast, and cheapest.  See Paris airport guide.

TIP - If you arrive by air in Paris for a day trip, buy the 1 day "Paris visite" visitor pass for zones 1-5, which includes the airports. that way you also have unlimited hop-on hop-off public transport during your day in Paris

TIP - Changing trains at "Chatelet" metro hub. Chatelet is the biggest interconnection station on the Paris metro system: three main RER routes cross here, notably B (for the airports) and A (serving the Gare de Lyon and Disneyland). If you are changing from a southbound "B" train to a south/east bound "A" train, (for instance, coming from Charles de Gaulle airport and heading for Gare de Lyon or Disneyland, a common combination), just cross the platform. The same goes if you are taking these routes in the opposite direction (for example coming from Gare de Lyon and heading for Charles de Gaulle airport). Nothing could be simpler!
For other changes, follow the indicator boards, having noted which RER or metro routes you want.

TIP - Your ticket. Always keep your ticket until your journey is finished, even if it is just a single journey ticket. If you use the RER in the central urban area of Paris (which you can do, of course), you will need to put your ticket through the machine both to get onto the platforms and again to get out of the RER area.

Click here for Paris tourist attractions guide : Eiffel tower, Notre Dame, the Louvre, Montmartre, Moulin Rouge, and much more

More Accommodation ideas

About-France.com   Home page -  Site search  -  Regions  -  Maps of France  -  Contact

Bookmark or share

PARIS 2018
About-France.com guide

Your guide to the capital city of France - its life, its attractions, and how best to enjoy them

Getting round Paris,  tourist attractions, where to stay, and other things to see and do.
PARIS is Europe's most fantastic city, a place that has everything for the traveller or visitor. Whether you visit Paris on a day trip, Paris in the Spring, Paris for a week or for far longer, this is a city that has it all! Museums, theatres, shops, fantastic historic monuments, a beautiful riverscape, Paris has all of these.  this website helps you plan your visit to Paris, and get the best out of your stay in the French capital.

Disneyland Paris... just click

paris Pass

Special discounts on the Paris Pass
with About-France.com.

New! 2018 prices down !

Click here to book
Use code

In an emergency in Paris:

24 hr chemist / pharmacies:
a) 84, av des Champs-Elysées 75008, tel
0145 62 02 41
b) 6, place Clichy 75009, tel
0148 74 65 18 .

English-speaking pharmacies:
British Pharmacy
62, Avenue des Champs-Elysées
75008 Paris
0143 59 22 52

British-American pharmacy,
1 rue Auber, 75009
0142 65 88 29

English-language crisis line;
Daily 3 pm - 11pm
01 46 21 46 46

Call/phone: 15

Hertford British Hospital: 3, rue Barbès, 92300 Levallois-Perret
Tel 0146 39 22 22

American Hospital of Paris
63, Bd Victor Hugo
92200 Neuilly-sur-Seine
0146 41 25 25

Map of France

►► Site guide
About-France.com home
Full site index
About-France.com site search
►► Principal chapters on About-France.com
The regions of France
Beyond Paris, a guide to the French regions and their tourist attractions.
Accommodation in France
The different options: hotels, gites, camping in France.
Guide to Paris
Make the most of your trip to Paris;  attractions, Paris hotels, transport,  and lots more. 
Tourism in France
The main tourist attractions and places to visit in France - historic monuments, art galleries, and more
Planning a trip to France 
Information on things to do before starting your trip to France.
Driving in France 
Tips and useful information on driving in and through France - motorways, tolls, where to stay....
Maps of France
Cities, towns, departments, regions, climate, wine areas and other themes.
The French way of life 
A mine of information about life and living in France,
A-Z dictionary of France
Encyclopedic dictionary of modern France

►► Other popular pages :
Staying in Paris
Routes south from Calais
Winter sports in France
France facts and figures
Climate and weather
Doctors and emergencies
The Tour de France
School holiday calendars 2017 - 2018
►► Other travel pages
The towns & cities of France
France for music lovers: festivals, places, events
Wild France - France's "great outdoors"
Guide to French wines
Food & eating in France
The markets of France
Opening and closing
►►Tourist accommodation
Guide to French hotels
Self-catering gites in France
Chambres d'hôtes (B&B) in France
Camping in France
Independent hotels outside Paris
Text and photos © copyright About-France.com 2004 - 2018

Ce site utilise des cookies. Pour supprimer ce message, cliquez  or sinon demandez plus de détails