The best method of transport is your feet!
Paris is a wonderful, safe place to walk around, taking in all the beautiful sights and buildings. There are so many beautiful buildings and lovely parks, cafes to stop at, crepes to be eaten that it's a shame to spend time underground.
Bring at least a couple of pairs of comfortable walking shoes and at least one pair that has a bit of traction for rainy days, the cobblestones tend to get slick when it rains. Unless you are wearing red patent leather clown shoes, no one will notice what is one your feet. Really, no one will notice. And why should you care if they do? Having blisters and limping is enough to ruin a visit to this fabulous city.
Nothing beats strolling Paris’ boulevards and backstreets but the city also has an ultra-efficient public transport system encompassing the metro, RER (regional) commuter trains, and buses, as well as the hugely successful Vélib’ bike-share scheme and world’s first electric-car-share scheme, Autolib’. To combine a river cruise with land transport, hop on and off the Batobus (www.batobus.com), with eight key stops along the Seine between the Eiffel Tower and Paris’ botanic gardens, the Jardin des Plantes. I spent four days in Paris this past December and spent nearly one entire day visiting the Eiffel Tower, Musee d'Orsay, Cathedral de Notre Dame, the Louvre, and the Trocadero with only the Batobus and my feet for transportation. It rained more than it didn't during this particular visit so it was very nice to be able to retreat to the (relatively) warm comfort of the boats between stops on my overly compressed tour, but I still came home with my worst cold in years, which I am still trying to shake after three weeks.
Paris is certainly for walking.
You get to see so much that is missed by getting around Paris any other way.
For instance there are Artistic plaques in many places, Many statues, small parks and gardens that are gems, Historic places that are only really accessable on foot, and so the list goes on.
Want to see Paris without the tour group but you're afraid of getting lost? Don't worry; do what the Parisians do. Use a small discreet booklet map. Paris taxi drivers use this map!
I highly recommend the "Paris Pratique Par Arrondissement" which is a dark blue 5 x 7 inch booklet map that has a complete index. An arrondissement is a district so each page is a distinct district of Paris. Each arrondissement is on a separate page (larger districts on two pages) and there is a Metro map, an RER map, bus map and emergency phone numbers for Paris. You can't possibly get lost with this little booklet. It fits into a pocket or purse and is easy to open and view even in close quarters (like the Metro).
You can get the little booklet at most news stands, tabacs, bookstores, FNAC stores or at Amazon.com online. We update at a news stand because there are so many on the street. The last time I checked amazon.com it was $14.15 so I'd recommend waiting and buying it in Paris or getting a used one. Try to get 2009 or later because a couple street names were changed and won't be in, for instance, the 2007 edition. When the trip is over, it's a great souvenir.
Climbing to Sacré-Coeur is not too hard, but after a day strolling in the city, the funicular is almost a blessing.
Not cheap, demanding one ticket each way, it is usually used upwards to visit the hill descending to Clichy.
There is no better way to explore a city like Paris than on foot. There is so much that is missed when riding the metro or in car. Exploring small side streets and back alleys can lead to interesting shops, small churches or a long forgotten statue.
The website below has the fascinating history of the only pedestrian bridge across the Seine. Walking across slowly and savoring the views is one of the nicest pleasures for me in Paris. Ahead is the Louvre -- behind Institut de France -- and each way wonderful views of the river. The current bridge dates from 1985.
After all the best way to discover Paris is on foot.
Our favorite walks from Square of the Star and Arc de Triomphe down the Champs-Elysees to the Louvre.
We also suggest the river banks; the walk: from the Eiffel Tower >> Champ de Mars >> to the Ecole Militaire >> to Invalides >> Pont Alexandre III >> Grand Palais & Petit Palais >> Champs-Elysees >> Place de la Concorde .
Use The Ile de la Cite with Notre-Dame as a starting point >> to Luxembourg through the Latin quarter >> to Hotel de Ville (City Hall) >> Centre Pompidou >> to Le Marais and Place des Vosges through Ile Saint-Louis.
One of the best ways to fully experience a place is on foot. The same goes for Paris. It gives you a chance to get lost in its streets, feel the atmosphere, closely admire the architecture... not to say take pictures from different, maybe unusual angles.
One recommendation is to have a good, sturdy umbrella type stroller. I saw people trying to navigate the large stroller system and/or jogging strollers and it is really hard. We purchased a Maclaren Volo and absolutely love it. It is light weight and easy to open/close in a hurry. It is also comfortable for my little girl and has storage room underneath. Another recommendation is a good bag. We purchased the SkipHop bag. It fits perfectly over the handles of the stroller and holds a lot of stuff without being too heavy. This was the only bag that I carried the whole time we were there.
“The plaques receiving a street name inscription will be rectangular and will have different dimensions depending on the size of the name being inscribed.”
— from a 1938 law about Parisian street signs
The best way to experience Paris, or any great city, is on foot. Your feet always are the best mode of transportation; this is also cheap!
To find the city’s many sights knowledge of its street signs would be helpful. The street signs in Paris are designed with an old-style appearance; this helps reinforce the notion that the city is so romantic.
Generally street signs are fixed to the sides of the buildings at either end of a street block. They are much higher than eye level, and even higher than signs affixed to polls in the USA, so look up! Traditionally they are dark blue trimmed in green with white lettering and accents. Paris is sectioned off into 21 arrondissements. The number of the arrondissement is often shown in the little semicircular space above the street name.
Most of the time, I walked. I probably walked about 5-6 kilometers per day while I was in Europe. In Paris, I walked about 10 kilometers. Just looking for the restaurant for our VT meet, I walked 50 blocks!
I don't have problem in walking because I can see more and upclose.
I bought a good pair of shoes and although it was a bit expensive, it was a good investment for me. The shoes gave me better posture and better physiological walk.
My friend talked me into buying an MBT Physiological Footwear before I left for Europe. I bought it at Walking Company. If you wanted to buy one, just go to their website.
I thought Paris was a great city to walk - the streets are charming and there is a lot to soak up that you would otherwise miss by taking the Metro everywhere. Get yourself a good map and go for a stroll (I prefer the Knopf pop-up mapguide books - they break up the city by section and provide detailed street-maps of each section so it is easy to get your bearings). It took me about 4 hours to walk from the Sorbonne to the Louvre, through the Tuileries to the Place de la Concorde, back across the Seine to the Eiffel Tower, across the Seine again to the Trocadero and up the Champs-Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe. It was a great way to see the city and I didn't feel so guilty when indulging in all the delicious bread, wine and pastries!
No matter what type of transportation you use, you will do some walking in Paris, especially with the metro system. However, walking around is a good thing. You can not experience the beauty of Paris in a bus or a car. For my group, walking kept us awake during long days without sleep. Also, it was great exercise after being on a plane for eight hours.
In conclusion, no matter what type of transportation you plan to use, bring comfortable shoes. I cannot stress that enough.
With only one line, the T3 tram, running within Paris city limits, coverage is still limited and concerns mainly south Paris, but the Paris tramway is expected to grow in the coming years.
You can ride the Paris tramway using regular metro tickets and passes.
For itineraries on the Paris tramway, consult the RATP itinerary-finder page.