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Travel to Paris Getting Around Transportation Guides

Flying isn't the only way to travel to Paris. You can drive there, but parking is never very easy in the centre of town. If you choose this option it might mean staying in a hotel on the edge of town that has room to park.

The one way to reach the centre of Paris rather than one of the out of town airports is to take the Eurostar to the Gare du Nord in the heart of town. Return fares start from £70, so book early to get the cheapest deals. When you step off the train in Paris, turn right off the platform to find the taxi rank or turn left in order to descend to the métro and the distinct bouquet of stale air will greet you, letting you know that you have arrived. You can get lines 4, 5 and 6 from the Gare du Nord, or walk through the tunnel to La Chapelle in order to take line 2.

Paris airport information

Taxis are cheaper than in the UK, around €6.50 €11 to go from the Gare du Nord to the 17e. Don't call one as it is more expensive. Hail one in the street, or wait at one of the 470 taxi ranks. A white light indicates the cab is free, an orange light means it is in use. There are never enough cabs and finding one at lunch, around 7pm, or 2am is very difficult.

There are six main train stations in Paris that take you to the rest of France : Gare du Nord; Gare de l'Est; St Lazare (for Normandy); Gare de Lyon (for Italy, Switzerland and the TGV to the Alps); Montparnasse (Brittany, Atlantic and southwest France); and Gare d'Austerlitz for the Loire and Dordogne.

The best way to explore Paris is on foot as then you get a real feel for the quartiers and see how they link up. However, Paris has a great transport system, with buses, métro and trains all integrated and using the same tickets. It is run by RATP (Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens). Buses are a good alternative to walking as you get to see the city whilst saving time (and energy!). The bus takes the same tickets as the métro and RER. A single ticket is €1.30 from the driver or, if you already have a carnet of tickets, validate one in the machine on board. If you have a carte orange or Paris Visite card, show the whole thing to the driver; don't validate the coupon in the machine. Each bus stop shows which bus numbers stop there, has a map showing each bus's route and times of first and last bus. Night buses run from Place du Châtelet from 1am 5.30am; there are 18 routes and tickets cost €2.44 unless you have a carte orange.