The One-Day Tour

photo: batobus, tour eiffel

With Batobus, cruise the Seine all day for 60 francs.

All Paris Jammed Into 12 Hours

Paris:- Wednesday, 2. June 1999:- There are the people who do the nine-country tour in seven days - some European countries are small! - and we've had our laughs about this. "Oh, those silly tourists," sort of thing.

On Monday, an email fluttered into my in-box, asking how to make a 'good' one-day tour of Paris.

If I was still one of those 'laughers' in the first paragraph, I would be rolling around the floor giggling like a yellow jell-o - but - 'tis not my job to take such requests less than seriously. For myself, if I hadscan: metro ticket, stripe a day to spend in London, Rome or Berlin, I wouldn't know where to start or what to do.

So I tried to figure out what might give the 'most bang for the time' of a one-day go-go tour of Paris and winged it back by email. Since you may be in this situation, the following is my suggestion for single-day visit to Paris. This assumes that it is a first visit, and you've never seen Paris before.

I will be stoned and if they catch me, I will be flogged for writing this - but - for a unique first-time one day visit to Paris, I would skip all museums and monuments.

Paris itself is what there is to 'see' and it is Paris that is the main attraction.

In area, Paris is not big. You could arrive at Gare du Nord, buy two métro tickets and see plenty on foot - starting at métro Cité. With a fifty-franc sandwich and a glass of mineral water, you could have a perfectly good tour of Paris for a grand total of 68 francs.

I do this kind of thing a couple of times a week, but lately I have been skipping the sandwich part. Since I buy my métro tickets by the 'carnet,' my outlay is around 18.40 francs.

However, spending a bit more buys transportation and this is a way of reducing travel time, which enables you to see more of Paris. City buses and the métro get you around, but there are two special cases that offer a lot of sights - the OpenTour buses with their circuitsscan: sncf suburban ticket and the Batobuses that do a round trip on the Seine, from the Tour Eiffel to the eastern point of the Ile Saint-Louis.

There are three great things about these two; they have connection points between them and you can get on and off as many times as you please. The third great point, is the fact that they pass nearly all of Paris' major sights and you can get off where you feel like to examine them closely.

Taking photographs from the Batobus is not as easily done as from an open-deck 'bateau mouche' Seine cruiser, but is very easy from the open top deck of the OpenTour buses. If you don't like the high angle, just get off the bus.

Riding around in circles on the Seine is peaceful, but after a while on the bus you might want to escape from hurly-burly of the traffic. I see from the map, that the OpenTour bus crosses the Seine via the Pont-Neuf.

This means it passes in front of the Samaritaine department store. This has a rooftop terrace café which has a super view, high above the street. The closest Batobus stop, for the same terrace, is the one at the Louvre or the one at Saint-Germain, just across the river.

If it is your choice to 'do' Paris in just one day, then what I have suggested here will give you the most of it. Details of the various tickets and options are below:

The Essential Tickets

For a go-go 'One-Day' tour, you will have to do some calculating to figure out the best combination of tickets - either to suit your budget, or to suit what you want to see. If you are solo and want to see a lot of Paris, I suggest the 'Mobilis' ticket, a 'Batobus' ticket and an 'OpenTour' ticket. The cost of them all will be exactly 200 francs.

If other than solo, then getting a 'Carnet' will allow rides for five adults, from Gare du Nord to métro Saint-Michel, where a 'Batobus' ticket can be purchased. This ticket enables you tophoto: opentour bus a discount price for the 'OpenTour' buses. The five remaining métro tickets return you at day's end to Gare du Nord. Also remember, children's tickets are either discounted, half fare, or are free.

Instead of yellow-brick road, a bus that looks like a yellow brick.

An average price for entry to a Paris museum or monument is 40 francs. Some entries are only 20 francs. For a go-go 'One-Day' tour I don't think the 'Paris Visite' pass is a true value unless you intend making a number of museum visits; and this ticket's associated 'discounts' are of unknown value.

If you do spend a lot of time in museums, then the 'OpenTour' fare is probably excessive. The 'Musées-Monuments' card explains itself, "The more you see the more you save." Except you don't see a lot of Paris inside a museum.

The 'Carnet' - A single RATP ticket for the métro or bus costs 8 francs. Buy a 'carnet' for 52 francs and this gives you 10 tickets for 5.20 francs each. Carnets are available at all métro stations and at some café-tabacs.

The Métro: - starts operations at 05:30 in the morning and the last trains at night start their last runs about 00:30 - or 12:30 am for those with 12-hour clocks.

'Mobilis' - this is a one day ticket that costs 30 francs for unlimited travel on the métro, buses and on the RER within Paris. This price is for zones one and two which include all of Paris inside the Perifreak! Zones one to three cost 40 francs for a day's ticket. These are available at every métro station and some train stations.

'Paris Visite' - this special ticket for one or more days, costs 55 francs for zones one and two for one day's unlimited transport. Children under 12, half price. The benefit of this ticket is that it entitles you to certain reductions at some museums and monument in Paris. Tickets available at all métro, RER, train stations and at the airports.

Carte Orange - with a simple passport photo you can have a real 'Parisian' Carte Orange. You get a handsome card with your photo, and a week's ticket for Paris' zones one and two costs just 80 francs. Write the card's number on the ticket, cancel it once and away you go for a week of unlimited travel on Paris' public transport. Good from Monday morning to Sunday's last train. Do not buy a 1st class ticket because there is only 2nd class within Paris, except on some RER trains. The Carte Orange is available at every métro station.

'OpenTour' - is for a open-top doubledecker bus which operates daily, year round, from 9:45 - to 16:40 for thescan: rer ticket last complete tour, with a bus every 25 minutes. The minimum fare is based on two days of unlimited travel and costs 135 francs; children under 12 - 70 francs, under four, free. Note: if you already have a valid 'Paris Visite,' Carte Orange or Batobus ticket, the adult fare is 110 francs. Commentary is provided in French and in English. Tickets available at Gare du Nord, Châtelet, the Paris Tourist Office on the Champs-Elysées, at RATP shops and on the buses themselves.

'Batobus' - Operates daily from May to September, from 10:00 to 19:00, with a boat every 25 minutes. Tickets available at each Batobus stop. Fares: all day for 60 francs for adults and 30 francs for children; the two day pass is 90 and 45 francs. The Batobus stops at the Tour Eiffel, Musée d'Orsay, Saint-Germain, Notre-Dame, all on the left bank, and at the Hôtel de Ville and the Louvre on the right bank.

The 'Musées-Monuments' Card - this card costs 80 francs for one day, but allows entry to 70 museums and monuments in Paris and the Ile-de-France - but not to all of them. On sale at most of the locations mentioned above.

Other Times - Other Rides: - most Paris city buses stop operations about 20:30, but there are several 'late' lines plus some lines that operate all night long. Taxis within Paris are not overly expensive and there are about 15,000 of them.

Arrival In Paris

By Train - arrive at Gare du Nord: - connectionsphoto: open platform ratp bus to métro lines 2, 4 and 5; plus the RER 'B' line, and the RER 'D' line, which connects to the Gare de Lyon.

By Air - arrive at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle [CDG]: - open daily from 06:00 to 23:30. To get to city centre, use the following:

RER 'B' - to Paris station Gare du Nord and métro-RER station Châtelet-Les Halles. The RER 'B' trains run every 15 minutes, from 04:55 to 23:55.
Roissybus - every 15 minutes, from 05:45 to 23:00, to Rue Scribe, near the métro Opéra.

By Air - arrive at Orly: - open daily from 06:00 to 23:30. To get to city centre, use the following:

RER 'C' - with shuttlebus ADP - to go to RER-métro station Saint-Michel - connect to métro line 4; Rer 'C'
The RER 'C' trains run every 15 minutes, from 05:45 to 22:50.
'Orlyval' train, to connect at Anthony with RER 'B'
The Orlyval operates from 06:00 to 22:30; on Sundays until 22:55 and there is a train every 5 minutes.
Orlybus - every 15 minutes, from 06:00 to 23:00, to Place Denfert-Rochereau - métro lines 4 and 6; plus RER 'B.'

The Roissy - Orly Airport Connections: - The simplest connection between the two airports may be the RER 'B-4' line, with the connection at the RER station of Anthony - to or from - the Orlyval train. These RER trains run every 15 minutes, from 04:55 to 23:55. See the times for the Orlyval train above.

The Paris transport authority's Roissybus and Orlybus, running from the airports to the city centre, do not connect with each other in Paris. Air France's shuttle-buses to and from both airports do not connect in Paris either.

The New RER Line 'E' for Eole: - is scheduled to begin operation on Wednesday, 14. July. This new line starts near the Gare Saint-Lazare at the station Haussmann-Saint-Lazare, makesscan: e for eole, new rer line a handy stop near Gare du Nord at the station Magenta, and runs out east to Chelles-Gournay.

A second branch will open on 30. August, which will go to a station with the name of Villiers-sur-Marne - Le Plessis-Trévise.

The best part of this new RER line is it reduces travel time from Saint-Lazare to Gare du Nord to just three minutes. In reverse, from Gare du Nord, you have direct access to Printemps and Galeries Lafayette via underground connections. No need to see Paris before you start serious shopping.

In Metropole Paris
Latest Issue
2008 Issues
2007 | 2006 | 2005
2004 | 2003 | 2002
2001 | 2000 | 1999
1998 | 1997 | 1996
In Metropole Paris
About Metropole
About the Café Club
Links | Search Site
The Lodging Page
Paris Museums List
Metropole's 1996 Tours
Metropole's 2003 Tours
Support Metropole
Metropole's Books
Shop with Metropole
Metropole's Wine
metropole paris goodblogweek button
Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
Metropole Midi © 2014
– unless stated otherwise.
logo, metropole sml midi logo No matter how good it tastes,
there is no such thing
as a free lunch.
Waldo Bini