Take a Bus!

photo: bus 29, open platform

Take a bus - take the breezy number 29 for example.

'Cult of the Dog'

Email from Mary Copeland. Sent via the Internet: Tuesday, 22. May 2001:-

Hi, Ric

I was there at the Club on 3. May with my husband Charlie. I'm the one who had the sprained ankle story. I'm now safely back in Maryland - actually at work in DC right now.

After an additional week and a half in Paris, I feel more qualified to answer the questions posed in the official members' sign-in book. So here goes:

What I like most about Paris:-

The buses! Prior to my sprained ankle incident, we were getting around entirely by métro. Since there are few escalators in the métro, we decided it would be easier onphoto: bus 58, at samaritaine my sore ankle to take the bus. With our Carte Orange - a great bargain! - it was easy to hop on and off the many buses that crisscross Paris.

Plus, we got to see much more of the city by not being underground, not to mention experiencing everyday city life.

Smooth and comfortable, many of the RATP's buses are de-smogged.

Highly recommended - the Montmartrobus. We boarded it near the Pigalle métro station and rode it to the end - to the Mairie du XVIIIe.

Up the hill and down, through streets so windy and narrow I was surprised that a bus could even pass - along all the cobblestone streets I could not navigate with my sore ankle.

At the end we had to get off - even though the bus makes a circle route - and go around the corner to re-board. On the return trip, we got off right in front of Sacre Coeur for a most scenic trip. It was much more interesting and certainly cheaper than the tour tram.

What I like least about Paris:-

The cult of the dog! Besides having to dodge the doggy piles in all sorts of places, including métro platforms, it smelled like dog pee everywhere, especially as it got hotter.

I would like to see the next mayor of Paris run for election on a 'curb your dog' platform. He or she would win easily.

A word of caution - in outdoor cafes, avoid sitting near the building or near any bushes. The smell will ruin your meal. I like dogs as much as anyone, but I would never leave my dog's mess for someone else to deal with.

We enjoyed our visit to the Café Metropole Club meeting and to Paris - despite the rain and cold, and dogs - and will definitely return again at the first chance. Next time being more careful when stepping off curbs.

PS - Regarding the Orange Cards - we had been told they were for Parisians only, but no one in the métro seemed to care where you were from.

I brought along a small photo, but Charlie didn't have one so he thought he could get one taken in one of the many photo booths in métro. But the station we started out from - Levallois - did not have a photo-booth, so he just cut out the picture from one of the copies he had made of his passport page and used that.

I later noticed that métro was pitching the Orange Card to tourists too, so maybe they have changed their minds about who can use it. It's a much better deal than the 'Paris-Visite' pass or the 58-franc carnets even if you're only going to be there a week.

I lost my Orange Card a few days before our departure and had to buy a carnet. I easily used it up in two days.

Mary Copeland

About Buses and Dogs

Bonjour Mary -

Sunday, 25. May 2001:- For readers who were not at the same club meeting as Mary Copeland, her 'sprained ankle story' was the result of mis-stepping off a curb-stone near the Tour Eiffel.

The way she told it to me, this annoying accident was neither her fault nor the city's. It was just one of life's rotten little bobos that can happen to anyone, anytime, and nearly anyplace.

Several other club members have praised Paris' public bus system. Like the - mostly underground - métro, the buses are operated by the city's transit authority, the RATP.

This means that tickets bought for the métro can be used on the buses too. However, there is no transfer possibility, so one new ticket is required for each bus ride. Most bus lines cross the city, so you can get a fair ride for one ticket.

For visitors, the Orange Cards - 'La Carte Orange' - can be a real bargain. A one-week ticket - Mondayphoto: buses on rue rivoli morning to Sunday night - for central Paris costs 85 francs and is good for unlimited travel on city buses, the métro and the RERs operating within the city.

The Orange Card tickets are sold at all métro stations, train station, and many shops such as 'tabacs.'

On the Rue de Rivoli, a small herd of Paris' public buses.

Orange cards are purchased by 'zones.' Zones 1 and 2 constitute central Paris. Both Saint-Germain-en-Laye and Versailles are in Zone 4, and a weekly Orange Card for zones 1 to 4 costs 142 francs.

Paris is made for walking too. If you intended to do a lot of it, simply buying a 10-ticket 'carnet' for 58 francs may be more economical. But if you figured on using public transit a lot one day and were considering a one-day 'Mobilis' card for zones 1 and 2, at 32 francs - if you had already gotten a 'carnet' - it would cost five francs more than a week's Orange Card.

There is no 'Paris Visite' card just for zones 1 and 2. The least expensive 'Paris Visite' card is good for zones 1 to 3 and costs 55 francs for a day, or 175 francs for five days. Like the Orange Card, the 'Paris Visite' card is good for buses, métro and the RER.

There are two double-decker open-top tour buses. The 'Cars Rouge' - the Red Buses - have one route that takes about two hours and 15 minutes to complete. A ticket costs 125 francs, but is good for getting on and off the bus over a period of two days. The 'Cars Rouges' have commentaries in several languages.

The other open-top bus is called 'OpenTour' and it has three distinct circuits, which also allow getting on and off at any of the bus's 40 stops. Commentaries are in French and English, via headphones.

One day of touring costs 150 francs and two consecutive days are 165 francs. If you have an Orange Card, the one-day adult price is 125 francs. Kids from four to 11 are charged 75 francs. 'Batobus' tickets also get reductions on OpenTour buses and vice versa.

Cars Rouges, 33. Quai des Grands Augustins, Paris 6. Métro: Saint-Michel. InfoTel.: 08 20 34 37 62. Daily from 7:00 to 21:30.

OpenTour, boutique at 13. Rue Auber, near the Opéra. Tickets can be purchased on the buses. Daily from 10:00 to 20:00. Final complete round-trips begin earlier; at about 18:00.

Fares for all RATP buses and métro lines will most likely be boosted on Monday, 2. July. The tariffs for the OpenTour buses are valid until the end of the year.

Finally, about the 'Cult of the Dog' - this seems to be the last obvious vestige of the days when dwellersphoto: bus 95, opentour bus of the city shared it with many animals. The horses, cows, pigs and chickens are gone - cats are discrete - and it is only dogs that seem to remain out of place.

An OpenTour bus stopping at Saint-Germain to pick up passengers and let them off.

Few new club members fail to note this aspect of Paris when placing their comments in the members' booklet. The city of Paris is aware of it too, according to survey results - and according to the piece of the budget devoted to cleaning up what the animals' owners don't.

However, the part of the city's budget earmarked for the governing of road traffic is far greater - supporting a far greater and even more common nuisance.

The cost of operating a car in Paris is nearly or more than prohibitive. Should the same apply to dog owners? Or, turn it around - should cars be prohibited outright? The budget savings could be used to turn some excess streets into dog parks.

If you want to call this the 'Silly Idea of the Week,' do so. Woof!
signature, regards, ric

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