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Getting around Paris by Bus
Paris Tourist Buses
Apart from the public bus options of Le Balabus and Le Montmartrobus there are other tour opportunities for visitors to Paris, including hop-on, hop-off buses:
An Escorted Tour either by Bus or Minibus:
An escorted bus tour can be very convenient and often allows you to skip queues - no small benefit at e.g. the Louvre! Our affiliate partner, Viator, offers a huge variety of tours and excursions in Paris and the surrounding area - not only by bus, but walking, by bicycle, at night, by day, etc.! We reference some of these elsewhere, but you can check out the list here: Paris and surrounds tours from Viator
Save vacation time by planning and booking now, not when you're there. One advantage of booking ahead is being able to lock in your tour and prices up front.
"Hop on, hop off" Buses
As in many other major cities, Paris now has a "hop-on, hop-off" bus services that cover many attractions while offering great flexibility. Personally, we like to take one of these buses and stay on all the way round to orientate ourselves, then go round again jumping off to visit places we've picked out previously. There are two lines in Paris: "Les Cars Rouges" buses and "L'Open Tour".
Les Cars Rouges:
Les Cars Rouges have been going since 1991 and were the original "hop on, hop off" tour buses. Their Red double-deckers, with an open upper deck, run on one route:
This 9 stop route takes 2 hours 15 minutes if you stay on for the whole trip, and has a commentary in eight languages : French, English, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese Russian and Chinese - you get individual headphones when you get on.
You can hop-on and hop-off at any of the nine stops as often as you like over a two day period. The open-top double-decker bus provides fantastic views from the top floor. Buses depart every 10 minutes in summer and every 20 minutes in winter, every day of the year. Recorded commentary is available onboard in French, English, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian and Chinese. You will receive headphones for the commentary the first time you use your ticket.
If you'd like to buy your ticket ahead of time, you can do so via this link:
Paris City Hop-on Hop-off Tour bookings
You may board and redeem your voucher on the bus at any of the stops around the city:
- Tour Eiffel - Quai Branly, in front of Bridge of Iena
- Champs de Mars - Avenue Joseph Bouvard
- Musee du Louvre - Near the Pont des Arts
- Notre Dame - in front of the 25 rue d'Arcole
- Musee d'Orsay - in front of the Musee d'Orsay entrance
- Opera - in front of the 15 rue Sribe
- Champs Elysees-Etoile - in front of the 156 avenue des Champs-Elysees
- Grand Palais - Avenue Winston Churchill
- Trocadero - in the angle of the Avenue Paul Doumer
- Monday to Friday - 9:30am to 8:08pm
- Saturday and Sunday - 9:30am to 8:16pm
Buses depart approximately every 10 minutes, frequency varies between stops.
Valid from the time of first use, for the consecutive days selected.
The buses run every day of the year, starting from most stops between 9.30 and 10.20, with the last complete rotation starting from the Eiffel Tower at 6.51 pm. The buses run approximately every 10 minutes in summer
and every 20 minutes in winter at any of the nine stops.
Adult: €29 Child (between 4 & 12): €15
You can actually download the commentaries on the seven most important sights, Montmartre and the streets of Paris, great and small moments history (Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre...), in multilingual audio guides provided on Les Cars Rouges website.
L'Open Tour bus
"They do a one or two day pass and I found it perfect for what I wanted. You travel round on a green open top double decker bus, complete with headphones providing helpful tips in most languages. It stopped at all the main tourist attractions, and I found it much more pleasant and safe than the underground system. It costs around 34 euros for 2 days for adults, and is well worth every penny."
The yellow and green L'Open Tour double-decker buses offer a "Hop on, Hop off" service taking you to virtually all major attractions in Paris using four different routes. The buses have open upper decks so that you can get a good view, and the four tour routes are inter-connected so you can easily switch between them.
Take the bus and drop off at any stop, then take your own time looking round before catching the next bus coming along to that stop (or any other one).
There's a recorded commentary available in eight languages, and individual earphones are given to Pass holders on initial validation. You get a free map of Paris with Metro and RER maps included, shopping discounts as well as a gift offer from the Galeries Lafayette or Printemps department stores.
L'Open Tour Paris Routes
Note: your ticket is valid on ALL routes.
- Paris Grand Tour
The entire route takes 2 hours. Buses departs every 10 - 30 minutes from each stop. Highlights include Madeleine, Opéra, Louvre Museum, Notre-Dame, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Orsay Museum, Concorde, Champs-Elysées, Arc de Triomphe, Trocadéro, Eiffel Tower and Invalides.
- Bastille - Bercy
The entire route takes 60 minutes. Buses departs every 30 minutes from each stop. Highlights include Notre-Dame, Saint-Paul, Bastille, Gare de Lyon, Gare d'Austerlitz and Parc de Bercy.
- Montmartre - Grands Boulevards
The entire route takes 60 minutes. Buses departs every 15 - 20 minutes from each stop. Highlights include Funiculaire de Montmartre, Gare du Nord, Gare de l'Est and Grands Boulevards.
- Montparnasse - Saint-Germain
The entire route takes 60 minutes. Buses departs every 15 - 20 minutes from each stop. Highlights include Jardin du Luxembourg, Observatoire, Catacombes, Invalides and Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
In France, You can buy the pass :
- on Open Tour buses
- at the Paris Open Tour office (13 rue Auber, Paris 9ème)
- at the CITYRAMA Agency located at 4, place des Pyramides, Paris 1er
- at the RATP kiosk, place de la Madeleine, by the flower market
- at the Paris Tourist and Congress Office (25, rue des Pyramides, Paris 1er)
- at the Montmartre tourist office (21 place du Tertre, Paris 18ème)
- at the main Batobus stops (all year round except January)
- at the Ile-de-France Tourist Office (Carrousel du Louvre)
- at Beauvais Airport (www.aeroportbeauvais.com)
- at the Paris Tourist Office agencies
- at your hotel or in travel agencies
Prices valid until April 30, 2006
||Children ( 4 to 11 )
| 1 day
valid for 2 days
| 2 consecutive days
If you prefer, you can "hop on, hop off" a Batobus, the water-born equivalent of the above land-based buses, along the Seine, see the next page:
Next page: Paris Batobus water bus or go to Paris Sightseeing Index