Please help interpret my Paris Metro Map

Jul 15th, 2001, 10:00 AM
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Please help interpret my Paris Metro Map

I've gotten lots of good info here but have another question. My mother & I are going to Paris in Sept. She is in good shape and doesn't have trouble walking, but she is 78 and doesn't move as fast as she used to, so I plan to use the bus most of the time to avoid the many stairs and long corridors in the Metro. However, we are interested in flea markets, which are far enough from St. Germain that maybe the Metro would be better.
I have the Streetwise Paris map, which shows the various Metro lines in different colors. If the line goes from one point to the other all in the same color (such as it does from Odeon to Clignancourt), does this mean there are no changes involved?
Going from Odeon to Porte de Vanves, it changes color once at Gare Montparnasse, so does this mean one change to get there? Does anyone know if that particular change involves a long way through stairs and corridors?
Also, how far a walk is it from the flea market at Clignancourt back to Sacre Coeur?
Any info is much appreciated!
Jul 15th, 2001, 10:13 AM
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I by no means am an expert on the Paris Metro, but I do find it a fairly easy system to navigate, once you get the hang of it. To answer your first question, each color on the map represents a single line on the Metro, so that if you went from one end to the other (such as on line 8, from Balard to Creteil), you never would change trains. Of course, sometimes to get from point A to B, you have to change trains. It seems like one way to get from Odeon to Porte de Vanves, you could go on the 10 towards Boulogne Pont de St. Cloud and change to the 13 towards Chatillion at Duroc. My guess is Duroc is a smaller station with less of a walk than Gare Montparnasse. It seemed to me that if on the map the "circle" indicating a stop was large, then there was more of a walk between lines. Of course, this might just be my perception. Quite a few of the stations do have good walks between lines, and to reach the platforms in almost every station, you need to use stairs.
Jul 15th, 2001, 10:28 AM
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You are correct - if the color does not change, you are on the same line and no transfer between trains is required. If the color changes, you are indeed connecting to another line and there is some walking involved - in some cases, a great deal with lots of stairs. If your Mom has no problem navigating stairs you should be fine. The trains run pretty frequently, so the rate at which she is able to get from one tain to another shouldn't be that big a deal. From my experience in a similar situation, your best bet is to use the Metro for point-to-point (no train change) rides and use the very good bus system otherwise. And, here's some unsolicited advice: pay attention to fluid intake and rest stops. Older folks tend to become less sensitive to dehydration, and sometimes even let themselves get too dry so they won''t have to make as many bathroom visits. Invest in a water bottle carrier you can comfortably tote along, and as the fabulous Dixie Carter said, "Never pass up a clean bathroom, as you never know how far it will be until the next one."
Jul 15th, 2001, 10:40 AM
Bob Brown
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The Metro ride you describe between Odeon and Clignancourt should not require a change of trains It is the same line, #4, between both stations. The station called Montparnasse - Bienvienue is huge. I never made the particular transfer you describe, but I avoided that station after the first two or three trips in and out of it. My hotels the last two trips were near there, so it was either an origin or a destination rather than a transfer point. I know I had rather take the bus, even it means an additional ticket, than to descend into some of those Metro caverns. If I can afford Paris, I can afford to buy an extra 4 or 5 bus tickets.

The walk that you describe back to Sacre Coeur is about a mile, and some of it up hill. (At least that is my recall.)
Jul 15th, 2001, 10:42 AM
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You're correct. The same color is the same line and does not require changes.
However, the corridor length and stairs from one level to another (sometimes several required) could be a bit taxing.
While the Metro is easy to use sometimes it may be better to use alternate methods.
Taxis are quite inexepnsive unless you have luggage with you.
Jul 15th, 2001, 10:48 AM
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I found the Metro involves lots of stairs and preferred buses when possible, both to avoid the stairs and save my energy for lots of walks above ground and for the views. By seeing where we were going I was able to get a better sense of what was where. Also, sometimes we would pass something that looked interesting and I could either get off or catch it on my return. The buses, however, can be complicated. I recommend you have a bus route map with you at all times. The most difficult part of the bus was figuring out where the bus stops are. Just because a bus drops you off on a main street doesn't mean the return bus stop is across the street. It might be around the corner. Once you get the hang of it, the buses are great.
Jul 15th, 2001, 10:48 AM
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Very smart the idea of changing at "Duroc". "Montparnasse" is to be avoided and it can be done. Félicitations.

And Susan, you see, you got it right.
Avoid changes at "Montparnasse" and "Châtelet" whenever possible.
Do get a bus map at your hotel or any metro stop. The system is excellent, a little more difficult for first-timers. On Blvd. Saint-Germain, you fill find a couple of lines, like one of my preferred, 63. It will take you to Trocadéro. A nice trip, mostly along the Seine.
Enjoy your trip!
Jul 15th, 2001, 12:43 PM
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I'm another fan of the buses in Paris. If you want to plan your routes in advance,pick up a copy of The Paris Mapguide (available at bookstores and online booksellers). This, along the the map you can download at are terrific resources. At this website, you can also download each individual bus route, with all the stops on the route. Once you're in Paris, you may want to pick up L'Indispensable (there are many versions of these maps) for the BUS, Metro, Rer (Les lignes, Les stations, en un seul coup d'oul). The bus routes are color coded, with stops and transfer points indicated. This is one fabulous bus routes map.
Jul 15th, 2001, 02:23 PM
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Thanks to all for so many quick replys! I do like the sounds of changing at Duroc if we decide to take the Metro to Vanves, I had heard that Montparnesse was huge. We will definitely make sure we drink plenty of water and will rest whenever we feel like it. I already told my mother that we can stop at a cafe any time we want a rest! I do have a book with bus routes that I plan to study in more detail. Thanks for all the input, it's a big help.

Jul 15th, 2001, 06:42 PM
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The flea market at Port de Vanves is several blocks from the metro and no signs indicating which direction to go. I used the Streetwise map but should have taken a larger map. Luckily others were at the metro stop looking for directions and had bigger maps. Unless the bus drops you off near the flea market I'd take a taxi with your Mom. Also, I have been told a taxi from near the Eiffel Tower to the Clignancourt flea market is only about $10. Since you spend so much time walking around the flea markets and really no place to sit, I think your Mom would be happier with less walking just to get there.
Jul 15th, 2001, 07:21 PM
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I havent been to Paris in several years, but we found the Metro system to be excellent. What is amazing is that often people will run to get on the train when the next one comes in about 5 minutes! Praise God that your mother is 78 and still traveling. We went to the Flea Market when we were in Paris, but I can't remember which one, however, I do recall it was very close to the Metro system, we only have to cross a few streets. I know that I used Fodor or Frommer's Travel Book and it was listed in the back. I never used the bus while in Paris, so I dont know how that is, but we seen everything there was to see in Paris including Versailes and used only the Metro.
Jul 15th, 2001, 07:31 PM
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It is several city blocks from the metro stops to both vanves and st oeun,, and you do have to step lively to cross the intervening steets. vanves is not that large that it should be a problem but st ouen( marches de puces is and CROWDED!!) A taxi might be better, Vanves is not that stenuous but St Oeun may be , not knowing your mothers condition makes it a hard call.There are several nice place to stop for a rest at St oeun, but it is huge even if your are not in your 70's.Also there are no bargains so don't go with high hopes!!!! You may get lucky at vanves, I have and so have several of my friends but we know what we are doing before we get there, also if you go early take a flashlight, it stays dark late in Paris inthe fall especially if you are looking for something special and don't want to be disapointed when you get it in the light
Jul 15th, 2001, 07:42 PM
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If you take the metro to Vanves, you'll take #13 dir Chatillon Montrouge, get off at Porte de Vanves. Look for an overpass, and head in that direction. Ave Marc Sangnier is on your left, and is the start of the flea market. It goes for a several blocks, then continues around the corner. After 1pm, the plastic kitchenware and cheap shoe market sets up, so be sure to go in the morning. Have small bills, and be willing to bargain; many of the dealers speak English. If they don't, and you don't speak French, write down your offer on a piece of paper, and they'll either agree, or write down a counter offer. I'll paraphrase from a newspaper article "a miniature Eiffel Tower is a cheesy souvenir, but a used one from a flea market has a certain cachet". Plan on returning to your hotel after the flea market; I've tried lugging around all my treasures on a day of sightseeing, and it stinks.
Jul 15th, 2001, 09:24 PM
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Hi everyone, These extra details are great! We certainly haven't ruled out a taxi if we need it, and I had thought about it for Clignancourt. It might be a good way to go, especially if it is only approx $10. My mother is in good health, but of course at her age you have to conserve your energy!
I do realize that Clignancourt probably doesn't have many bargains. Elvira, I love that thought that an Eiffel Tower is better if you buy it second-hand! Thanks everyone for the additional input.

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