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Best Paris city buses for touring?

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Jun 4th, 2016, 08:04 AM
  #1
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Best Paris city buses for touring?

I know there has been a thread here about certain numbered buses being especially good for seeing the city, but I can't seem to locate it. Suggestions welcome.
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Jun 4th, 2016, 08:43 AM
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I think I wrote a detailed write-up, SemiMike, years ago. However, while I dig for it, start with THIS bus, Bus 69.

http://www.ratp.fr/informer/pdf/orie...=pdf&nompdf=69
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Jun 4th, 2016, 08:57 AM
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I'm having problems digging it up. Here, though, are top bus routes with similar links:

Bus 89: Latin Quarter
http://www.ratp.fr/informer/pdf/orie...loc=bus_paris/

Bus 86: Bastille to St. Sulpice
http://www.ratp.fr/informer/pdf/orie...mpdf=86&fm=gif

Bus 69: The Grand Tour
http://www.ratp.fr/informer/pdf/orie...loc=bus_paris/

Bus 80: Sacre Coeur to the Eiffel Tower
http://www.ratp.fr/informer/pdf/orie...loc=bus_paris/

Bus 72: Right Bank
http://www.ratp.fr/informer/pdf/orie...loc=bus_paris/

Bus 38: Gare du Nord to Latin Quarter
http://www.ratp.fr/informer/pdf/orie...loc=bus_paris/

Bus 22: Arc de Triomphe and Opera (goes through the Arc de Triomphe roundabout)
http://www.ratp.fr/informer/pdf/orie...ris/&nompdf=22
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Jun 4th, 2016, 09:09 AM
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I like taking a bus anywhere in Paris. Rather than seek out particular lines, I take printed charts of the lines that stop near where I'm staying, from the RATP website above, then check first when I'm leaving "home" to see if I can get where I'd like to go by bus. Or near enough to where I'm going. Sometimes the walk is no farther at the end than it would have been connecting on the Metro. It takes a bit of effort to figure out the system, I'll never know the whole thing, but I can manage the 3 or 4 lines near me and enjoy seeing Paris as I go, consider it all worth the extra effort.

http://www.ratp.fr/plan-interactif/

Click on "Bus" in the upper lefthand corner.
Click on any line that interests you.
Click on the symbol for seeing the stops, to the right of the line number in the box (red dots connected by short lines). The "Plan de Ligne" will appear and can be printed.
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Jun 4th, 2016, 09:35 AM
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Hi SemiMike, my notes from recent trip say:

"The 95 goes from Gare Montparnasse all the way up to Clichy-Caulaincourt in Montmartre. €1,40 not a bad investment [one way]. It stops at Louvre. 94 also goes north but via Place de Concorde."

Call up the PDF plan of Paris busses to see the general routes. I took a 28 also.

There are some nuances with ridership if you want to read my recent TR to learn from my mistakes:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...f-bordeaux.cfm
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Jun 4th, 2016, 11:48 AM
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Okay - time to mention the "BUS RULES", because so many visitors are not used to using mass transit and are not aware that the city bus was not designed to be an official sight-seeing device.

The city bus is meant for moving as many people as possible, and will usually be crowded, hot and uncomfortable. It is not always possible to get a seat.

If you want to see the sights, you should take a HOHO bus tour, where you can be more comfortable and will get a much better look at the city.

If you are travelling as a group of more than 4 people, it is entirely possible that not all of you will be able to board the same bus at once.
Buses run from intervals of 5 to 20 minutes or more, so you should have a Plan B in the event this happens.

The city bus is not pickpocket-proof.
Passengers are cautioned to avoid using smartphones while on the bus and to be aware of their personal property at all times. The bus is usually very crowded, and most pickpockets look just like anyone else.

Have your ticket or bus pass ready before you board.
Validate it in the front of the bus and keep it with you until you get off the bus, in case inspectors do a spot-check.
You will pay a fine if you're caught without a valid ticket or pass.

Make sure you understand how the "carnet" tickets work before you board the bus.
You cannot double-back on the same bus line, only have a certain length of time to use the tickets, and can only transfer to lines going in the same direction.
The Navigo pass and daily Mobilis passes allow unlimited travel in any direction and are good during the dates of validity.

Passengers are not allowed to remain near the front of the bus so they can look out the window.

Passengers are required to move as far to the rear of the bus as soon as they get on and should try to find a seat.
This is for your security, as the bus often makes violent stops.
No seats available? Move to the rear anyway and hang on tight.

There are seats near the front of the bus which are clearly marked for people with mobility issues - there's a picture of a man/woman with a cane.
If you are elderly, pregnant or handicapped, you may sit here.
If not, look for the regular unmarked seats.
Do not put your feet or luggage on the seats. You can be fined.

In the center of the bus, there is an open area which is reserved for people in wheelchairs and strollers.
This area is not meant for standing while sightseeing.

If you have luggage and there is nobody in this space, you may use it until the strollers or wheelchairs arrive, as they have priority.
When they board, you must move into the aisle with your luggage.

Always board the bus at the front door.
Always exit the bus at the middle exit doors.

There are normally maps posted throughout the bus with all the stops marked. There are maps posted at all bus stops.
Press the red buttons on the poles right before the stop you need.
Say "Pardon" and move to the exit doors. You'll have plenty of time to get out with the other passengers.

All these buses are best used if you can manage to get on at the beginning of the line, or use them during non-peak travel times. That's when you'll be most likely to get a seat and enjoy looking out the windows.

But if someone clearly needs your seat, you should do the right thing and let them have it.
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Jun 4th, 2016, 12:04 PM
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"...if someone clearly needs your seat, you should do the right thing and let them have it."

I'm by no means decrepit but I've found people on Paris buses the most consistently polite in this regard and I'm always amazed when a young person gives me their seat. London has a great deal to learn from Paris.

As for the rest of the litany of rules above, most are common sense and you'll find Paris bus riders willing to help, should you forget any of it (how can you not!). I find bus riders in general more gracious than subway/metro/tube riders.
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Jun 4th, 2016, 12:29 PM
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Bottom line : take the hoho bus.
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Jun 4th, 2016, 12:48 PM
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Take the HOHO bus if riding around gawping is your sole intent. Take a city bus if you'd like to see where you're going while going somewhere. Take the bus, too, during off-peak times to enjoy the people who ride the bus. Older people on the buses, in particular, can be a jolly bunch.
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Jun 4th, 2016, 01:06 PM
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We were in Paris for 10 nights in November 2015. We opted for the L'Open hop on / off tour and paid for 2 days.

WORST ever hop on off tour. The signage was unhelpful unless you were sitting on the bus where you could see each stop. The commentary was juvenile and boring with really bad music and was completely out of sync for where we were. We ended up tossing our earphones and used it as a transportation only.

Since we were there for such a long time, we should have just taken the city bus to a section of Paris and visited like we did for the last 7 days.
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Jun 4th, 2016, 01:31 PM
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On our last day of our fifth trip to Paris in September, we hopped on the #69 at Blvd. St. Michel and rode it clear to end of line at the Trocadero. Awesome. Walked backed taking newly found streets, a very pleasant day. We got seats all the way in the back at end of aisle so had great viewing out both sides. Riding a bus is always a great lesson in observation.
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Jun 4th, 2016, 02:23 PM
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I HATE the Paris HOHO. Hate it, hate it. We bailed one hour into our ride for the same reasons Photobear did. I've used a HoHo in Dublin, in London, etc. with much better results, mainly because those also helped us with overall transportation more efficiently. Heck, half the time, we could have WALKED faster than the Paris HoHo.

Sometimes the public buses have been crowded, but we have had some great luck getting seats, especially around 10 a.m. on many of the routes. I like riding it at night!

I forgot to list 92--We were totally dependent on #92 when we stayed in the 7th (goes to Eiffel), so that was great, too. Not as scenic but gives you a feel for the 7th.
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Jan 24th, 2017, 08:38 PM
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Bookmarking for great info on this thread.
Sue4 is offline  
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Jan 24th, 2017, 11:40 PM
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There are a number of excellent bus routes including 69 and 87, all very busy during rush hour. You can download the RATP app, which shows you Rail, Bus and Night Bus, and allows you to plan your day.
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Jan 25th, 2017, 12:02 AM
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The City of Paris is planning to discontinue half of the bus lines in the near future. This is due to too many buses running redundant routes with virtually no riders.

The complete revision of the new bus lines will be put in place by September 2018, but riders can expect to see some bus lines discontinued before then.

Looks like the HOHO buses might be the best option for sightseeing.
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Jan 25th, 2017, 03:02 AM
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I have not seen anything specifying that any bus service is about the be terminated or cut in half. There is a review planned with the objective of optimizing routes to meet the needs of travelers, something that has not been done in decades.

Some routes could be cancelled, there may be routes modified, there maybe completely new routes added to the network. I think we´ll just need to wait to see what happens exactly.

In the meantime, the Balabus has been cancelled permanently but the RATP is promoting L´Open Tour buses for those wanting to see the city from a bus:

http://www.ratp.fr/fr/ratp/r_61658/opentour/

City buses are not really ideal for sightseeing. Visibility is restricted, windows fog up in winter, and they can be absolutely packed with people.

I recommend walking.
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Jan 25th, 2017, 04:48 AM
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I realize this post is from last summer, but if anyone is interested in a bus-oriented tour, here is a bit of information.

Paris Perfect (yes, the organization that rents out apartments in Paris) has put together a few tours explaining sites & sights you'd see from the bus. I think the idea is to ride the bus from one stop to the next (or maybe even walk from one stop to the next). Here are the tours:

http://www.parisperfect.com/blog/201...tseeing-paris/

http://www.parisperfect.com/blog/201...ghts-in-paris/

https://www.parisperfect.com/blog/20...-bus-87-guide/

https://www.parisperfect.com/blog/20...ide-to-bus-63/

Anyway -- might be interesting for some folks --

s
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Jan 25th, 2017, 05:35 AM
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My experience is that buses are not usually so crowded in the middle of the day.

I am not sure why some folks on this thread are trying to discourage people from riding the bus when there are clearly many people who post here who find it a fine way of exploring the city. And I wonder whether the people recommending the hop on and off buses have ever taken them, as I have mostly read very bad reviews such as the ones posted above.
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Jan 25th, 2017, 06:08 AM
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Here's a link to the city plan to change bus routes

http://paris.grand-paris-des-bus.fr/documentation/

Although the system will no be completely reorganized until 2018, as pointed out in previous posts, changes before then are expected.
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Jan 25th, 2017, 06:13 AM
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"The city bus is meant for moving as many people as possible, and will usually be crowded, hot and uncomfortable. It is not always possible to get a seat."

Realizing we can cherry-pick our experiences, my non-rush-hour bus rides were none of the above.

DH and I took the HOHO and got very backed up at Notre Dame. More people than busses and we ended up walking. Based on our one-time experience with HOHO, we started taking the busses.

Again, based upon but a few experiences, the busses I rode had electronic signage. That made figuring out the correct stop much easier.

When I worked in D.C., tourists stopped in the middle of the sidewalk trying to figure out which way to go slowed down everyone so maybe fuzzbucket has been annoyed by tourists on busses (a good book title) that way? BTW, thanks, fuzzbucket, for all the info. DH purchased a wonderful booklet with all the bus lines at a kiosk so I think there is at least a nod to tourists.
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