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Getting Around

Paris is divided into 20 districts known as arrondissements. The word arrondissement comes from the French verb arrondir (to encircle). It is usually not translated into the English word "district."

Each one has its own personality and attractions and its own mayor. There is a unique layout to the arrondissements with a clockwise spiral (similar to a snail shell). The arrondissement numbers 1 - 7 are in the middle of the circle and work their way out.

As you prepare for your Paris journey, it is worth taking the time to explore what each arrondisement has to offer. For tourists, some of the more popular attractions will be found in the 18th (Montmarte), 3rd, and 4th (Le Marais, Notre Dame), the 5th (Latin Quarter), and the 8th (Champs Elysees). The arrondissements are highlighted below and each of Andy’s listings details which arrondissement it is located in for better itinerary planning.

Paris is extremely walkable, but the underground Métro is a great option — clean and safe if you’d like to give your feet a rest. Consider purchasing a carnet, a book of 10 Métro tickets. A single journey is 1.90€ and a book of 10 is 16.90€. Acquaint yourself with the map and open times — which run from 5:30 a.m.-12:40 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 5:30 a.m.-1:40 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

You can also take a taxi which is easiest to locate at an official taxi stand (often found by the hotels) or call to reserve online with any of the three primary Paris taxi companies: G7 (33 1 41 27 66 99), Alpha Taxi (33 1 45 85 85 85) and Taxi Bleu (33 1 49 36 10 10). Taxis have set pricing to and from the airport. Many private transfer companies are available for your service including Royal Transfer (33 7 68 79 56 56.)

Uber can be an affordable option but remember that there is an abundance of traffic in the city and surge pricing where pricing based on current market demmand is in effect. 

Biking is another great option for getting around Paris’ relatively flat terrain. Velib has thousands of bikes at over 1,800 stations around the city and is affordable to use — a one day ticket only costs 1.70€, for use in 30-minute increments.

Consider sightseeing passes and combo tickets. For instance, the Paris Museum Pass pays for itself with four admissions in two days — see the Louvre and Orsay museums one day, and Notre-Dame and Sainte-Chapelle another. 

For a deal with more breadth, the Paris Pass allows free entry to over 60 museums, monuments, and experiences such as the Palace of Versailles and Opera Garnier Guided Tour. The pass also comes with line-skipping privileges. Pay per day with costs starting at 130€ for adults.

Make some of the key sightseeing plans before your trip. Reserving a ticket for the Eiffel Tower is always a smart move. You can buy tickets up to two months in advance for a specific time. Make this a priority, as they sell out quickly.

The Louvre also allows for reservations by date and time through their site. Paris Museum Pass holders can also book a time slot to visit. Those with the Paris Pass can use a fast-track entry on arrival, but can’t reserve a time slot ahead of time.

If a la carte experiences are more your speed, check out Get Your Guide for activities like a tour through the Catacombs and a Seine River cruise happening during your travel dates at affordable prices.

Andy’s Paris Insider

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