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Paris's speedy underground stystem 

 

Think Paris public transport, and you’ll probably think of the Metro. But easy as the underground system is, that isn’t the only way to navigate your way around Paris. Here are our favorite ways of getting round the City of Light.

 

For speed: Metro
It’s held up as one of the best systems in the world, and although those coming over on the Eurostar from London might not be so impressed (not a train every minute? Shocker), it’ll still get you within a few blocks of where you need to go faster than going above ground. Watch the door handles – you need to practise an insouciant kind of flick to open the doors. You can buy day passes, but unless you’re planning on using it a lot, it may be cheaper to buy a carnet of 10 single tickets (that you can share with your fellow travelers). 

 

For longer journeys: RER
The RER is more like a regional train than the metro, although it too runs underground (below the Metro, as it happens). Because it makes fewer stops, it can offer a more direct route to the Metro. Bear in mind, though, that it may be a little more gritty than the Metro – so keep a close eye on your belongings.

 

For ease: Bus
People often discount bus travel in Paris, but it has its advantages. You’re going to see more of the town, for a start, and specially designated bus lanes mean that traffic jams aren’t such an issue. In fact, some routes – particularly cross-city ones - can be quicker on wheels than underground. Plus, they’re easier to lug bags around on than facing the stairs of the Metro system, meaning you’re not facing a choice of a wallet-spanking taxi or a back injury. Just leave plenty of time to get to your destination – just in case.

 

For romance: Walk
Don’t forget that half the pleasure of discovering a new city is walking it. If you’re used to the London underground or even the New York subway, you might be slightly disappointed by the metro – connections can be tricky – so walking’s often the best option. Most of the tourist destinations along the Seine are walkable (although the Orangerie is a fair walk from, say, the Louvre).

 

For fun: Bike
Don’t be scared! Cycling is huge in Paris, thanks to the government-run Velib’ scheme (actually the largest cycling programme of its kind in the world). Think of it as a pay as you go scheme – there are (unmanned) rental stations stocked with bikes every 300m or so in the center of town, and all you need do to get one is to feed the meter. You need to “subscribe” in order to rent one, but you can do that for as little as 24 hours (€1) with a credit card; then, you rent the bike in half hour increments, and dump it wherever you fancy. Chouette!

 

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