Access to Paris Metro Stations

Mar 15th, 2008, 11:11 AM
  #1  
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Access to Paris Metro Stations

My wife and I are going to spend a week in Paris in October. We would like to use the metro, but I am concerned about the number of steps to access the trains. We are in our seventies and a lot of steps could be more than we want to attempt. Any help with what can we expect?
dsody is offline  
Mar 15th, 2008, 11:15 AM
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Use the bus system. The metro can have a lot of steps and hallways when connecting from one line to another.
Michael is offline  
Mar 15th, 2008, 11:17 AM
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I agree - the buses will generally be MUCH easier than the metro if one has any sort of mobility issues. It's not just the steps - many stations have very long walks to or between trains.
janisj is offline  
Mar 15th, 2008, 12:15 PM
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And yet another vote for the buses. We LOVE them, and they often get you door to door. The steps and correspondances in the metro can be absolutely KILLING to my knees!! Get a Carte Orange/Navigo card if your dates fit it pretty well. But the carnet transportation tickets now allow bus transfers so it isn't quite as important.
Gretchen is offline  
Mar 15th, 2008, 12:20 PM
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Here's another huge recommendation for the buses.

The metro is full of stairs and long hallways. Some stations have escalators, which may or may not be operating at any given time, but often several double flights of stairs are involved to get out of the station.
djkbooks is offline  
Mar 15th, 2008, 12:51 PM
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also 70 and with bad feet that finally forced me to learn the bus system. Wish I'd done it years ago, so much more enjoyable than the metro.

You can even map out some of the places you want to visit at http://www.ratp.info/informer/anglais/index.php

Put in your starting address, and the place you want to go, and chose bus !
avalon is offline  
Mar 15th, 2008, 01:09 PM
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The metro is changing little by little. For example, the Bir Hakeim station which is very much used by those visiting the Eiffel Tower has just reopened with elevators that it did not have before.
kerouac is online now  
Mar 15th, 2008, 01:56 PM
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Still, in any station, you just never know what will be required to get to the street. And, it's easy to miss elevators and escalators, even if you're looking for them.
djkbooks is offline  
Mar 15th, 2008, 02:23 PM
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That is sort of like saying "it's hard to find bus stops," isn't it?

If someone can find bus stop signs, they can also find escalator and elevator signs, which use the normal interational icons.
kerouac is online now  
Mar 15th, 2008, 05:34 PM
  #10  
 
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I am yet to see a Metro station I thought was user friendly!

I, too, am in my seventies and in Paris I found that bus riders were a different breed. More than once someone younger than I offered me a seat. I usually refused but I appreciated the offer.

Another aspect of bus riders is that they seem willing to offer help even when they do not speak English!!

I remember once I was tracking the stop on my map so I would know when we were approaching out stop at Raspail and Montparnasse. I got help even though I really did not need it. I accepted it, however, and thanked my benefactor as best I could with my very limited French.

So yes, I prefer the bus. I can see where I am going!!
bob_brown is offline  
Mar 15th, 2008, 05:41 PM
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I have never thought it was easy to find elevators in the métro, especially in the bigger stations.

The bus routes are easy, as is finding the stops. I love riding the buses in Paris! In fact, one of my favorite things to do if I have no plans for a day in Paris is to get on a bus I've never been on before and ride it to its end and get out and take a look-see. Had some wonderful travel experiences doing that.
StCirq is online now  
Mar 15th, 2008, 06:31 PM
  #12  
 
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Paris metro and its stations are NOT easy for anyone with any sort of physical limitation. Yes, there are a few mores stations that are getting elevators to the street level, but the bigger issue is the sometimes considerable walking distances and stairs required to get from the platform to the elevator or to a connection. I never realized just how much an issue this is until traveling with my slightly mobility limited mother. After the first day we started to ride the buses and never looked back.
Seamus is offline  
Mar 15th, 2008, 06:42 PM
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kerouac: even if EVERY metro station had working escalators/lifts at all times - the long walks to the trains and transfers between lines would still make most stations difficult for many people . . . . . . .
janisj is offline  
Mar 15th, 2008, 07:20 PM
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Dsody,

Another vote for the bus. The seats were more comfortable, and the bus was cleaner, and the view was better.

Pick up a bus map at any metro station, or use the online map at
http://www.ratp.info/orienter/cv/cartebus.php

Our Carte Orange also worked on the bus.

The bus drivers were friendly and helpful.

I initally used Metro, but after what seemed like endless stairs, a mile long walk under the Montparnasse to change trains, I reconsidered and carefully studied the bus map. Look at it before you arrive, and take Avalon's recommendation to plot out your bus routes.

Enjoy your trip!
like_2travel is offline  
Mar 15th, 2008, 08:36 PM
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Thanks for asking this question. My husband had knee replacement surgery, and this information will help for sure.
Photobear is offline  
Mar 16th, 2008, 02:06 AM
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Another thing I really like about most buses in Paris is the display that tells you what stop you are approaching ! Haven't missed a stop I wanted yet.
avalon is offline  
Mar 16th, 2008, 03:45 AM
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I like the buses, too, but some of you are not being fair about the amount of walking that the metro requires. Sometimes a lot of walking is required in the main transfer stations (Châtelet, Montparnasse, République, etc.). However, it should be pointed out that the vast majority of metro stations in Paris are simple stations with no transfer and therefore absolutely no long corridors -- just a simple set of steps going down to the station.

I would say that metro line 1 is probably the easiest one for people who don't like stairs. It was built using the open trench system, meaning that it is directly under the roadway and never any deeper than that.

I think that it is wonderful that tourists have all the time they need to wait for buses and ride through Paris at a leisurely pace. However, on a cold and/or rainy day, the bus suddenly becomes much less popular.
kerouac is online now  
Mar 16th, 2008, 04:47 AM
  #18  
 
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Avalon.....as you mentined the display in the bus showing the up-coming stop was a great value to me also. I just returned from a month in Paris and always ride the buses all over. I did not see one display on any of the buses I rode and am thinking they have been replaced by the recording now heard announcing the next stop. I also noticed that more bus stops now have the time display for the next bus arriving. Last year I saw only a few installed but every stop I was at this year had one.

Has anyone else noticed the ticker-tape display is gone off the buses ?
goldwynn is offline  
Mar 16th, 2008, 05:24 AM
  #19  
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Thanks everyone for the info. The buses sound like our best choice if I can just figure them out on the RATP web site. So far it has not been easy for me to retrieve the info on bus stops and lines. I will keep trying.
dsody is offline  
Mar 16th, 2008, 05:25 AM
  #20  
 
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Reading this thread has me thinking I need to get out of my subway frame-of-mind and try out the bus in Paris. Although kerouac has reminded me why I hate taking buses here at home:

>>>I think that it is wonderful that tourists have all the time they need to wait for buses and ride through Paris at a leisurely pace<<<

Guess I'm type A, I'd rather be walking up a flight of stairs or through a transfer station than standing around waiting for a bus or getting stuck in traffic (I like to keep moving because it feels like I'm getting to where I want to be, I hate getting "stuck")

I would like to try out the bus, though, just to see what it's like. So my question is, is it a good idea to avoid the bus during rush hour? Do the buses get stuck in traffic/delayed very often? And should buses be avoided on Sundays due to reduced service?

Sorry to take this thread off topic-I don't have any mobility issues, and I can see that the bus would be the better way to go for many people. I'm just wondering if in Paris, one is more likely to be held up by the bus than the metro.
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