Paris bus tour

Jul 5th, 2007, 04:14 PM
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Paris bus tour

This is not a totally new post, but I'm looking for more specific answers than what I have found on "Superthread" and "walking tours" and "100 things to do in Paris." I am interested in taking a bus tour with a commentary. I know most of you say, "explore on your own." However, I think seeing the overall perspective of Paris with a brief commentary could be very enlightening before exploring on our own. That being said, would you still suggest the Red open tour ( I've looked at the "bus touristique" on the ratp site, but I don't think there is commentary.

Thanks for all your information,
Malya is offline  
Jul 5th, 2007, 04:31 PM
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I think a bus tour is an excellent way to get an overview of the city. I don't think most of us say "explore on your own" at all. You can cover much more ground in a short period of time with an organized narrated tour than you possibly could wandering around on your own two feet with a map.
suze is online now  
Jul 5th, 2007, 04:32 PM
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AFTER the tour you can explore on your own
suze is online now  
Jul 5th, 2007, 04:57 PM
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City bus tours are the way to go in a new city. It's impossible to cover a whole city unless you're staying a month or so. Go for it but be sure you get "live" commentary. The recorded stuff can put you to sleep.

After the bus tour you'll have a better idea of the lay of the land and can coordinate your trip.

Get the Streetwise Paris Map as it shows all areas of central Paris. It was my Bible during the month it spent in Paris.
nancy is offline  
Jul 5th, 2007, 05:42 PM
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This is my first post... how exciting!
My husband and I had our first trip to Paris last spring. we bought tickets on the Hop on Hop off bus abnd paid for it on the bus itself. It was great as it has a headphone for translation in a about 6 languages.
There are about 5 routes that the bus takes and all we did the first day was travel each of the routes and fully orienate and immerse ourselves in Paris. The second day we activitaed our museum pass ( which is essential no queues anywhere) and went to the furtherest away museums from where we stayed and had fun.
Friends of ours used the metro the whole time - which is fantastic- but they had no idea what Paris was like above ground.
The rest of the time we walked or caught the metro.
sydgirl is offline  
Jul 5th, 2007, 06:25 PM
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I frankly don't see the point of paying $30 more to ride a bus along a predefined route rather than riding from sight to sight on a city bus using the excellent Tourist Bus Services* map for $6 a day. Audio tour guides of the landmarks can be purchased if you're not a reader, and you get to keep them to share with those who follow.

RATP buses are a great alternative to the Métro in any case.

* Print out before you leave home.
Robespierre is offline  
Jul 5th, 2007, 07:43 PM
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I respectfully beg to differ,Robespierre...Riding the tour bus is indeed expensive, but seeing all the major landmarks on one ride really gives a first-timer a visual for the entire layout of a city far better than a map . We try to do this everytime we visit a major city for the first time, and afterward we begin our point-to-point touring on foot or city transit. It really helps the first-timer. That said, I have ridden the 69 bus in Paris that does cover a lot of the city. I would recommend that and I think it is the 86 if money were an issue.
wondering is offline  
Jul 5th, 2007, 08:36 PM
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L'Opentour has the best routes but I don't know how the commentary is.
Travelnut is offline  
Jul 5th, 2007, 11:52 PM
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sydgirl - welcome to the forum!
suze is online now  
Jul 6th, 2007, 01:14 PM
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Hi Malia,

Having just came back from Paris, I must say that for me, taking a bus tour (the hop-on/hop-off kind) was what worked best for our situation. We took the L'Opentour bus, which is a yellow bus with 4 lines spread out among the city. Everyone got their own pair of headsets and could listen to commentaries in the language of their choice without bothering anyone. 8 languages were offered, English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, and one more I can't remember.

I thought the commentaries on L'Opentour was pretty good and informative, and the route was pretty satisfactory for us. Old French pop music played between commentaries, which I loved.

We purchased the 2 day ticket at €29 each, which was €3 more than the 1 day ticket, and were able to go on all 4 routes in 2 days. We basically stayed on board for the entire route, getting off only to change to a different line.

I must admit, we did this a little backwards, having roamed Paris on our own first, then taking the L'Opentour bus our last 2 days. But it worked for us, and we got to see the city with minimal walking, which was important for us this time.

The Red Bus does basically what the green line on the L'Opentour covers. Here is the link to L'Opentour

Enjoy Paris. It's such a beautiful and charming city.
mcnyc is offline  
Jul 7th, 2007, 08:14 AM
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went in June, and choose to skip a guided tour and try it on our own.

Bought a ticket to the Batobus ( water taxi) and found I saw paris the way I imagined seeing Paris. It was inexpensive, could hop on an off the boat and it was wondferfull. We didn't miss the the guided tour and saw far more then we would have on any bus tour. I taken guided tours before on buses in major cities and it just didn't compare with all we learned and saw using this form of transportation ( we chatted along the way with other tourists and they gave suggestions for sites or resturats they just loved) The Batobus has stops at the majority of main attrations and the ride is spectacular.

If I were going to take a guided tour , I would on my next trip I would choose to hire a guide for a specific type of tour of something I wanted to learn about in particular place, or site off the beaten path.

I think my next trip I would book a private wine tasting at a resturant, or a guided tour of sections of the town that are more off the beaten path,or a dinner boat ride to see the Eiffel tower at night from the water, or a walking tour of the neighborhoods and here the history of the town.

mars000210 is offline  
Jul 7th, 2007, 06:17 PM
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We just arrived home today from France. We did the bus tour our first night. Two of us had been there before, but my mother had not and wanted to take the bus. It was the yellow one...L'Opentour I think was the name. Anyway, it was good, but I do have a warning. We did part of the tour, hopped off for a bit, then got back on later. Well, at 8pm it is over with regardless of where the bus is on the route. Yes, at 8pm they stopped the bus and said it was the last stop and everyone off. There were a few locals on the bus with us and they said that was normal. So, just be sure to check the times so this isn't an issue for you.
mms is offline  
Jul 7th, 2007, 08:12 PM
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I agree that for first timers to Paris, the Hop-on-Hop-Off tour is great. I would go with the 2 day pass, as it is not that much more than the one day pass and you can't see everything in one day. It gives a great overview of the city, is very safe, you don't have to worry about taking public transportation especially if you don't speak French. The tours are offered in several languages and you are provided headsets for your language of choice. After the tour when you the lay of the land, and know what you want to go back and spend more time at, you can do that on your own.
meath1 is offline  
Jul 8th, 2007, 05:14 AM
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No question - L'Open Tour green and yellow bus, two-day pass for only a couple of euros more than a single day. Forget hopping on and off. Instead stay on and do all the routes first and see every bit of the city that a tourist needs with a very good headphones commentary.

Every time I take someone with me who has not been before, we do L'Open Tour. They always love it and afterwards know exactly what they want to go back and see in more detail.
crepes_a_go_go is offline  
Jul 8th, 2007, 05:37 AM
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We have done the L'Opentour bus trip when we had friends with us who had never been to Paris. It was very nice. there are 3 different routes and will cover a lot of Paris for the highlights. We bought the 2 day pass, thinking we would use it the next day for just transport to major sites but we did not.
Gretchen is offline  
Jul 8th, 2007, 07:59 AM
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bailey6325 is offline  
Jul 8th, 2007, 09:29 AM
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Another enthusiastic vote for the Batobus. The website [and brochurre they give you] has suggestions for the various stops. Ticket good all day and evening.
RonZ is offline  

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