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lifes2short Mar 8th, 2010 08:03 AM

It's our last day in Paris, and I FINALLY took the bus !
My name is lifes2short and I'm a busophobic. Or I was, until a couple hours ago. This is just a quick posting for any others who may be reluctant to try the ratp bus in Paris. Listen to the experts who preach buses as the absolute best way to get from Pte.A to Pte. B in Paris [RIP, Robes]...they are right.

My excursion, which I mapped out (not sure one can "map out" a 12-minute busride, but anyway....) ahead of time online, was entirely too short (87 from Rapp-Bourdainnais to le Bon Marche, and back, of course) but it was just enough to whet my appetite. Several remaining tickets in my pocket mean a few more "rides" tonight !

So, for Paris bus virgins: I say give it a go---you'l be glad you did. And for those of you who always told us as much: allow me to say "merci," and I'll be joining your chorus from now on.

gracejoan3 Mar 8th, 2010 08:07 AM

It took me some time to use the buses, too! I now have a Navigo Decouverte...load it and use the buses almost all the time..rare for the metro. I stay in the Rapp/Bourdonnais area of the 7th..buses are so very convenient from there..if you do not want to walk..

You will now use the bus more often!!


adrienne Mar 8th, 2010 08:08 AM

Congratulations! I've only take the bus in Paris once and just followed someone else.

I've avoided the buses since I have no idea what bus to take. It's easy if you're going to a museum since the museum web site usually list the bus numbers. But how did you know what bus stops at Bon Marche for instance. Or what bus goes to Pere Lachaise cemetery?

Thanks from an old dog trying to learn new tricks! :)

Michel_Paris Mar 8th, 2010 08:12 AM

I'll bashfully admit to never having taken the bus. Metro/RER/shuttles/Air France bus...but not public bus. Alwasy figured easier ot Metro it, buses need to know stops,etc..

Maybe I need to be a big boy next visit and do it :)

StCirq Mar 8th, 2010 08:18 AM

I probably made 50 trips to Paris before I took the bus, but I'm a complete convert now. The RATP site has bus maps, and any one of the myriad Paris par Arrondissement booklets you can buy at any kiosk also has them. Every bus stop has all the information about the various lines that run on it, with all the stops described. It's not hard at all.

lifes2short Mar 8th, 2010 08:23 AM

Thanks, Joan--yes, we are in "your" hood and really enjoying it.

Adrienne, I had the same concerns/questions as you. So went back to an old bookmark of a thread started by the late, great Robespierre. I'm sure it's appropriate to paste it again here. Note: there have been other threads/posts with good bus advice--this just happened to be the one I saved.
Adrienne, the ratp site is completely interactive, so if you just plug in departure and arrival address info, you can get all the various options of transport mode, fastest time, fewest connections, etc. So it works for the metro as well.

In the case of Pere Lachaise, you can just enter that as your arrival "place," without needing an address. A new window will open, telling you how long to walk to the stop, how long on the bus (metro, whatever), how long to walk at the arrival end before reaching the cemetery.

I won't muck up Robes' notes with further commentary; he did a terrific job. Check out the link to see how easy it truly is.

Dukey Mar 8th, 2010 08:26 AM

I honestly thought the busses, despite their dedicated lanes, were periodically slowed down by other traffic. Not true?

adrienne Mar 8th, 2010 08:29 AM

I'm with Michel_Paris - I'm gonna grow up and try the buses. Lifes2short - you've given me courage.

Can you get a transfer on Paris buses? 2 transfers? From the Pantheon to Pere Lachaise I need to take 3 buses according to Paris par Arrondissements.

What's the word for "transfer" in French?

Wish me bonne route!

adrienne Mar 8th, 2010 08:33 AM

Ah...I posted the above before I saw the link to Robe's instructions. There are no transfers.

yestravel Mar 8th, 2010 08:58 AM

I love the buses in Paris -- such a great way to see the city. The RATP site is fabulous for mapping out your route. The buses may get slowed down sometimes by traffic, but since it's a vacation, never really noticed or been bothered by it.

avalon Mar 8th, 2010 09:02 AM

I love the buses in Paris ,much preferred over the metro.You can jump on and off if you see something interesting and are using a Navigo decouverte pass . I too map out my routes from the ratp website. I'm all excited because my fall apt has 3 different lines rightacross from our entrance.

Lutetia Mar 8th, 2010 09:07 AM

The bus is absolutely the best way to get around in Paris. The only exception is if you have a very important appointment for which you need to arrive exactly on time, you might be able to better predict your travel time using the metro.
But really, the bust is almost always easier, more comfortable, and all-around more enjoyable. It is often surprisingly quick to get from A to B.
You can find out which buses you need using the RATP web site. (interactive map)

lucygirl Mar 8th, 2010 09:21 AM

I too, need to transform from child to adult as well on my next visit. I've been twice but the the bus system just looked too confusing on paper so I stuck with the Metro.

Threads like this are often the kick in the pants I need to just try it already!

AnnMarie_C Mar 8th, 2010 09:30 AM

I agree-thanks for the encouragement. Buses are the one mode of transportation I have yet to figure out...and I've used them before but never, ever with confidence that I know what the heck I'm doing. We'll be in Paris next month and I hope to try, try again.

Nikki Mar 8th, 2010 09:47 AM

Yes, there are transfers on the bus. If you have a ticket that was purchased in a metro station, it is good for transfers on the metro and on the bus. For some reason, if you buy the ticket on the bus itself, it is not good for transfers.

This policy is new since the introduction of the new metro and bus tickets within the past couple of years. The Robespierre thread cited above must predate the change.

TimS Mar 8th, 2010 10:35 AM

To be more specific, the new t+ ticket allows bus-to-bus transfers up to 90 minutes after boarding the first bus. And, as Nikki said, you cannot transfer using tickets bought from a bus driver.

gracejoan3 Mar 8th, 2010 12:15 PM

Go here:

I entered # 42 in the slot and it gave me the 42 information to clikn and this is what I then received:

I can print this out the shown size or chose larger/smaller..whatever.

I print out a number of these for routes that I might use and put in folder for whatever use...some like these and can sometimes be easier to read thatn the Le Petit Parisien Bus Routes, that I also have.



avalon Mar 8th, 2010 12:48 PM

I wish I kenw where I put my Petit Parisien guide!! Thank god for the website!

adrienne Mar 8th, 2010 12:51 PM

Nikki - I would show my original ticket to the next bus driver? I don't have to ask for a separate transfer?

Judy Mar 8th, 2010 12:57 PM

adrienne, you just validate the same ticket in the machine as you would normally....if you are within the 90 minutes allowed, it will be accepted.

AnselmAdorne Mar 8th, 2010 01:04 PM

And so, adrienne, you don't actually have to know the French word for transfer, as you re-use the ticket you used to board the first bus.

But in case it ever comes up, I think the word is "correspondance". (At least it was when I was growing up in Quebec.)

gracejoan3 Mar 8th, 2010 01:18 PM


You can buy all the various le petit Parisen's all over Paris. Most tabacs seem to have them. Much cheaper them buying them from Amazon or others. They are just the best!!


eliza61 Mar 8th, 2010 02:06 PM

It's funny all the tour guides and planning sites I have been reading really stress the metro and rarely encourage using the bus. thanks for the tip. I'll give it a try on my upcoming trip

yipper Mar 8th, 2010 03:32 PM

The nice thing about the bus is that you are outside and can see Paris as you roll by. When using the metro I sometimes felt like I was in the dark too much of the day. I really do not know how I figured out to use the bus, but somehow I did.

Enjoy, Yipper

LaVisiteure Mar 8th, 2010 03:35 PM

I usually buy carnets for the metro. Am I right to assume that those are T+ tickets? Or maybe I should just break out and go for Paris Visite...

(Note to iPhone users: The RATP site has a link to their "RATP Premium" app. The Metro Paris Subway app also has complete info and route mapping for RATP. 99¢ each – such a deal!)

adrienne Mar 8th, 2010 04:05 PM

Anselm - of course it's correspondance! I should have known that from the metro but I never made the connection in my brain since, to me, the word correspondance is always about the metro.

In case I get questioned I can say "Je fais un correspondance," n'est pas?

AnselmAdorne Mar 8th, 2010 04:35 PM

Close, adrienne, but it is <i>une</i> correspondance.

Anselm (whose French is always a bit shaky)

Nikki Mar 8th, 2010 06:05 PM

LaVisiteure, yes, the tickets in the carnet work for transfer on the bus.

(OT, Anselm, trip report? I'm curious what you did in "my" neighborhood.)

kerouac Mar 8th, 2010 09:22 PM

I read somewhere that the RATP is going to extend the transfer possibilities to include 'metro to bus' -- but not this year yet. Since every change like that reduces their ticket revenue, they have to rework the financing of the system with the regional authorities.

Surfergirl Mar 8th, 2010 09:29 PM

J'aime les bus à Paris, surtout le bus numéro 68!

Guenmai Mar 8th, 2010 10:09 PM

I detest the metro and love taking the buses and have been taking them ever since the late 70s. I can get so much more done by taking the bus since I can SEE things. If I see something interesting along the bus route, then I can jump off and check it out and then jump back on and keep going. I remember in either August or April, I was wondering where another Mephisto shoe store was and while on the 95, I spotted one off of Avenue de L'Opera. Wouldn't have seen it had I been on the metro! Happy Travels!

ironfever Mar 9th, 2010 06:42 AM

The bus can be much quicker than the metro in paris (especially if you have to change), most buses havebus lanes, making it quicker than a taxi in rush hour. Also if you're travelling along the boundary you have the PC1 PC2 PC3 buses as well as the tram now.

Loisde Mar 9th, 2010 07:11 AM

This is very encouraging as I too have always been intimidated by riding the bus. I will be going to Paris next month for 5 short days and while I feel comfortable riding the metro, I am still a little reluctant to ride the bus.

This may seem to be a very stupid thing to ask, but can someone give a quick lesson on bus etiquette. Do you have to ride from one established stop to another or can you signal (shudder - I feel a little timid about that) the driver to let you out wherever. I know you can buy bus tickets ahead of time, but can you purchase on board if you run short? Any other helpful information would be appreciated.

By etiquette, I don't mean how to behave. I just don't want to look like a dork and end up being the recipient of rolling eyes and contemptuous looks from other passengers.

Thank you.

Nikki Mar 9th, 2010 07:47 AM

You can buy your ticket on the bus, but as noted above it can not then be used to transfer to another bus.

The bus only stops at marked stops. You can push a button (located throughout the bus) to signal you want to get off at the next stop.

kerouac Mar 9th, 2010 09:04 AM

The Noctilien night buses (only for advanced bus riders!) will let you off anywhere you request because the stops for picking up people are farther apart.

julia_t Mar 9th, 2010 09:55 AM

I too 'discovered' the Paris buses last May.

Fantastic -I shall rarely venture below ground again (I have come over from The Dark Side!).

Unless I am in Paris for more than a few days I use the daily Mobilis pass.

Do use the interactive part of the website - it is really helpful, and as Joan points out you can print out each individual route. I printed them with the route map on one side of the paper and the timetable on the other side.

Last time in Paris, I didn't bother with a guide book, I just used the print-out maps and bus routes from the ratp website.

Nikki Mar 9th, 2010 10:41 AM

Kerouac illustrates one major disadvantage of the bus: the bus stops running earlier in the evening than the metro.

After normal bus operating hours there are night buses, the Noctilien mentioned by Kerouac. I am not sufficiently advanced to have attempted this.

LowCountryIslander Mar 9th, 2010 12:25 PM

I have always been a metro girl (maybe because I grew up in a family of train engineers! :-D )

But this thread is giving the kick in the pants I need to step out from underground and experience the city from the comfort of bus!

kerouac Mar 9th, 2010 12:40 PM

My own bus lines (the 60 and the 65) do not give me extra comfort over the metro. They are jam packed, and I rarely get a seat.

lifes2short Mar 9th, 2010 01:16 PM

Sleep-deprived, jet-lagged and just generally triste, I am back in FL/USA. At least I have this thread to cheer me---so glad to see others who may have been timid are ready to hop on the bus. The continued contributions of tips and encouragement from bus veterans are amazing !

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