Driving and parking in Paris

Old Mar 28th, 2021, 11:36 PM
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It might be worth noting that the métro does not go to CDG. CDG has regional trains that connect to the métro, but there is a difference. It can be important because ticket pricing differs and many tourists subject themselves to 50€ fines by using a métro ticket to travel to the airport. Even if someone using a métro ticket makes it to the airport, the exit gates will not open for those using métro tickets.

I'll agree with Les that the primary reason to avoid driving in Paris is parking which is difficult to find and expensive.
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Old Mar 29th, 2021, 08:10 AM
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Parking in Paris, even with foreign plates, is not really the nightmare that a lot of people make it out to be. The main thing to watch out for is if you have an expensive and recent car that could be targeted. Meanwhile, the most stolen cars in France are:
  • DS 7 Crossback.
  • Renault Mégane RS.
  • Renault Clio 4.
  • Renault Mégane 4.
  • Smart Fortwo.
  • BMW X6.
  • DS3.
  • DS5.
Any car with electronic locks and ignition is also popular due to "mouse-jacking." Naturally, the smash and grab thefts are always annoying, but they won't get anything if you have not left anything to steal in the car.

The difficulty of parking in Paris depends mostly on your patience. I have sometimes gone around the block 10 times to find a space (I don't own a car but sometimes use rental cars.) but I always end up finding one. Parking is free from 19:00 to 9:00, sometimes on Saturdays and almost always on Sundays and holidays, depending on the neighborhood. Of course if you don't mind paying for underground car parks, there is no problem at all and they are very safe with videosurveillance 24/7. If you factor the daily cost of an underground car park into the cost of your accommodations, it shouldn't shock you all that much.

Naturally, you will want to avoid driving much in Paris except on Saturday and Sunday mornings before 10:00.
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Old Mar 29th, 2021, 11:53 AM
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Sorry, my mistake. Sarastro is correct about the regional trains. However, the airport train will go directly into the center of the city, where you can get the metro trains at any number of stops..
Individual tickets (or longer term passes) can be purchased at the airport terminal. We only stayed in Paris for 3 nights, but found the full week passes to be cheaper than individual one day tickets for that time period.
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Old Mar 29th, 2021, 12:02 PM
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Reguarding kerouac's comments, driving around the block 10 times to find parking might qualify as a "nightmare" to most tourists, considering the amount of time wasted (probably more time than it takes to commute from the airport) and the fact that you might have to do it at each end of the day's sightseeing, probably during rush hours.
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Old Mar 29th, 2021, 01:01 PM
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Should I have added that in most cases it only takes one or two times?
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Old Mar 29th, 2021, 02:28 PM
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"But I don’t like the idea of driving into the city."

You haven't lived until you drive around the Arc de Triomphe where seemingly 48 lanes of traffic merge into one big potential demolition derby. Oh, and those bus and taxi lanes. Now, that's a potentially expensive thrill ride. Here's a description of my two wild drives. Go for it. You only live once, which driving in Paris might take care of.

Arc drive:
I joked with the gang as we headed into Paris, “I sure hope we don’t have to drive around the Arc de Triomphe.” I had done that once in 1986 and nearly scared my traveling companion half to death with my erratic driving. “I have some interesting information for you,” Kim replied. I quickly gave him a glance, and he had a sly smile on his face. “Madame Bleu (our GPS) has us going around the Arc,” he reported. I looked in the rear-view mirror and saw Mary and Tracy already bracing for what was sure to be a horrific accident. Kim seemed resigned to his ultimate fate. Careening in and out of traffic, the Arc loomed in the distance. “The Arc is dead ahead,” I said. Looking back at that, it was probably a poor choice of words. First, I narrowly missed a couple of unsuspecting pedestrians who did not know they were about to escape certain death by a matter of millimeters. Soon, we were whizzing around the monument with about 100 other cars, motorcycles and trucks with a phalanx of police directly in front of us (what did they know that I did not). It was like a legal Demolition Derby. Since there are really no lanes, it is every driver for his or her self, and being a rather aggressive person behind the wheel, I was able to navigate that bad boy Audi around the Arc with no difficulty. “Phew,” I said. Then I opened my eyes."

Bus and taxi lanes inadvertent drive:

"Madame Bleu had done pretty well on this day so far, but soon she made a mistake that I might be paying for in the future. She instructed me to turn à droite at the signal. “Hey this is cool,” I said. “This is just one lane and we’re the only people in it.” Then came the words I have heard so often on our vacations. “Tom, you idiot (I believe it was all said in unison), you’re driving in the taxi lane.” Sure enough, this was the lane reserved for taxis, bicycles and buses, and although I was making great time, there were two fairly large problems. One, I was headed now in the wrong direction and (2) there were signs along the way saying that cameras were monitoring any “idiots” illegally driving in this lane. Thankfully we have no children to put through college, because we saw a few of those signs as I hopelessly tried to find some way to exit this lane of horror. After about five minutes (although it seemed like an hour), I was finally able to exit the lane, and we were headed back toward Montparnasse."

PS - I never received a ticket!
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Old Mar 30th, 2021, 06:45 AM
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Obviously the traffic police in Paris had read and appreciated your many trip reports, Tom. On slow nights at police HQ, they still sit around and watch the video of you driving in the taxi lane. Classic comedy, in the vein of Jacques Tati, Fernandel, or Norman the video guy.
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Old Mar 30th, 2021, 06:57 AM
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Just tell the kids that the winners of the Tapestry are Normans, ie descendants of Vikings (eg Danish) and so they get to win.
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