Category Archives: Paris

Paris Metro or Paris Bus? Episode 142


Paris metro or Paris bus? Bus #86

Paris Metro or Paris Bus?

When in Paris, should you take the metro or should you take the bus? Is one better than the other?

This episode spells out all the differences between the Paris Metro and the Paris Bus, down to the small details that happen to matter a lot! This is all based on my recent personal experience getting around Paris without using my personal car or taxis.

When it comes to public transportation, Paris is cheaper than other capitals with similar transportation systems. A single ticket in Paris is 68% cheaper the same ticket in London, 79% cheaper than Berlin, and 36% cheaper than New York.

Would you like to tour France with Annie and Elyse? Visit Addicted to France to choose an upcoming tour.

How RER, Metro and Bus Work Together

Another train that you’ll see in Paris is the RER, I left it out of the equation because it is a commuter train used mostly to go longer distances. The RER doesn’t run as often as the metro and the distance between stops is greater, but sometimes hopping on to the RER is handy.

When you stay within zones 1 and 2, the price is the same no matter if you use the metro, the bus or the RER, so you might as well. But once you’ve used your ticket for the RER you can’t use it in the bus later.

Other Modes of Transportation in Paris

There are, of course, several other modes of transportation in Paris. Taxis, Uber, tourist buses  are also good options, but today let me concentrate comparing the Paris metro system with the Paris bus system, in other words, let’s concentrate on what the RATP (Régie Autonome des transports parisiens) a massive company that French people love to hate.

Annie’s Favorite Transportation Apps

At the end of the episode I will also recommend my favorite Apps to help you navigate Paris also:

  1. RATP App
  2. Citymapper App
  3. Par ici la sortie App
If you like this episode, you will also enjoy 10 Tips for Getting Around in Paris.

Episode Highlights with Timestamps

  • [10’15”] In Paris most people rely on public transportation because using private cars is not practical. Yes, even really posh and rich people use public transportation in Paris!
  • There are lots of public transportation options and all are safe and inexpensive. 
  • Public transportation gets a bad rap in North America, but put that out of your mind please. If you’ve taken the underground in New York you’ve seen it all. In Montreal the metro is so gentile, it’s a much smaller metro system too, but it’s great.
  • Both the metro system and the Paris bus system are great, but they are best at different things:
  • The Paris metro is better if you’re in a hurry and if you can take the stairs
  • The bus is better if you are looking for simplicity and/or going cheap
  • If you’re listening to this podcast, you’re into planning your vacation, so you will probably plan enough to avoir zooming around Paris too much. If you’re going to visit both the Eiffel Tower and the Quai Branly, do it in the same day, they are close to each other!
  • If you plan your days out well, you can save yourself some money by not getting a transportation pass but by getting a pack of 10 tickets instead. I never use more than 4 tickets in a day in Paris, that’s 6.4€ in transportation for the day. Any of the passes I could get cost more than that.
  • Buy a pack of 10 tickets (16€ currently), kids under 4 ride for free and there are discount tickets  for kids under 10. 
  • You can buy packs of 10 tickets at any metro station. Hotels often sell them too, and so do tobacco shops.
  • You can always buy single tickets from the bus driver, it costs 1.9€ and they like people to have exact change or as close to it as possible. 
  • [14’22”] Tickets for the bus and the metro are the same, you pay the same whether you take the metro or the bus.
  • The metro is usually a little faster than the bus, and it works well for people who don’t mind stairs. There are elevators and escalators in the Paris metro, but you can’t count on them always working.
  • Buses can get stuck in traffic, especially at intersections. But buses also have their own lanes and they trigger green lights when they approach. Sometimes the time difference between the metro and the bus is very small.
  • Your bus ticket is good no matter how far you ride, no zones to worry about. If you need to change bus, you don’t have to worry about what zone you’re in when you switch, transfers always work between buses.
  • The metro is a little more complicated: you can ride till the end of any line on one metro ticket, but you can’t always transfer anywhere. As soon as you enter zone 3 things get complicated with the metro and single tickets.
  • [17’57”] If you’re planning on mostly using the metro or in transferring between metro and bus, it’s probably best to get a pass, just to save yourself some hassles. You have to choose one of 3 passes:
    • Paris visite which has different prices depending on number of days, number of zones, and the age of the rider.
    • Mobilis Pass, it’s good for 1 day and you have to choose how many zones you’re going to use.
  • Navigo weekly, you can ride in any zone for a week for 22, 15€, but you need to pay 7,60 to get your account setup initially and you need to give them an ID photo
  • There are a few Paris City buses that cost more: Noctilien (runs between 00h31 and 5h30 AM), Orlybus, Roissybus, 221, 297, 299, 350 and 351. More on those later.
  • You can transfer between buses for 90 minutes from first validation. You can also transfer between bus and tram using the same ticket, also for 90 minutes. 
  • You cannot transfer between bus and metro with the same ticket, to go extra cheap, look for all-bus options when deciding on your route (I’ll talk about Apps later).
  • [22’28’] You cannot use the same ticket to ride on the same line more than once. If you get off to buy a sandwich you can’t get back on with the same ticket. If you ride to the end of the line and want to go back in the opposite direction, you’ll need a new ticket. 
  • [23’15”] Keep your ticket until you exit the bus or the metro, especially for the metro, you often need your ticket to open an exit gate.
  • To recap, why do I usually choose the bus rather than the metro? A. I can see the city B. I like the atmosphere better. C. No stairs. D. In the bus you don’t have to worry about zones. 
  • I can’t comment on hop-on/hop-off buses because I’ve never used any of them in Paris. They have their value for people who are only in Paris for a couple of days and don’t want to figure out the public transportation system.
  • [26’51”] Apps I recommend to get around Paris: the RATP App and Citymapper.
  • These Apps always puts the fastest route on top. It’s often faster to do metro+bus rather than stay on the same bus, but sometimes it’s only faster by a minute or two, so pay attention to the details!
  • Why I like Citymapper better than the RATP App: it’s not as prickly about needing the exact address, you can enter the name of a hotel or a venue for instance and it will find it. With the RATP App you need to enter the name of the bus stop or metro station.
  • Also consider an App called “Par ici la sortie” App that helps you find the best metro exit for where you are going.
  • [29’30”] One of the reasons why Paris cafés are always full and lively.
  • [30’35”] Make your life simpler and decide where you want to go in Paris, then group visits into geographical areas in order to save on transportation time.

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Paris Packing List, Episode 137

Paris Packing List

Fancy older woman wering a hat and jewelry
You may run into this person in Paris, but she’s the exception, not the rule.

Some people fret about what’s acceptable to wear in France, and it is true that there are some things you should NOT wear in France. Annie is in a good situation to talk about that because being someone who doesn’t worry much about clothing, she’s made every mistake in the book since moving home to France. But she’s working on it! Being an artist, Elyse worries a lot more about being stylish and has excellent tips to share. Click Continue reading to see our recommended Paris Packing List!

If you love our approach to travel and want to tour France with us, visit Addicted to France to look at upcoming tours.

Paris Packing List Episode Highlights

  • [4’11”] Americans tend to dress more casually than French people.
  • [6′] There is a Paris Style.
  • [7’50”] How to dress for Paris specifically.
  • [8’30”] No Bermuda shorts, sexy short shorts only for very young women.
  • [10’50”] Paris brings out the dressiness in people, but don’t get too dressy.
  • [11’30”] People don’t dress up to go out at night as much as they used to and you will not get turned away for not wearing a jacket and tie in Paris.
  • [13′] You can wear business casual even at the Symphony in France.
  • [14’10] Scarves will dress up any outfit as a decorative element for both men and women.
  • [15′] Practical tip: bring interchangeable items in dark solid colors and add colorful scarves or wraps. Women can bring summer dresses and capris.
  • [16’20”] Shoes: no sandals with socks, no clunky “nurse’s shoes”, but it’s OK to wear sandals and casual shoes.
  • [17’45] Men wear capris in France!
  • [18’20] Annie’s faux-pas at the Disneyland Hotel and at Louis Vuiton in Paris.
  • [22’44”] How to up your clothing game as a tourist in Paris: accessorize, wear a leather jacket (or a crochet jacket, or any sort of jacket), clothes that are cut closer to the body.
  • [24’20”] Change your outfit at the end of the day, women don’t wear t-shirts with words.
  • [26′] Some women in Paris wear dresses and high-heels, but they are not the majority. When walking a lot, wear closed shoes where your feet can’t move around too much.
  • [28’27”] No shorts for women over 30 in the city. Capris are fine. Sun-dresses and skirts are commonly worn in France.
  • [29’25”] Whatever you wear, you MUST have a bag that zips and goes across your torso. Men should not have their wallet in the back pocket of their pants.
  • [30′] Clean pants and a nice polo shirt works great for men, even if you are going to a nice restaurant.
  • [31′] A lot depends on who you hang out with. Fancy situations call for fancier clothes and accessories.
  • [32’44”] Layers are important in the winter.
  • [35′] French people wear fitting clothes, but don’t do it if you’re uncomfortable.
  • [38′] No baseball caps, berets are for old folks, Panama hats are stylish and can be worn by both men and women.
  • [40″] If you’re a “fluffy person” (aka fat) do what you want, wear what you want, don’t worry about what other people think. You don’t have to wear black.

Take the 5 minute audience survey here.

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The Orangerie Museum in Paris, Episode 136

The Orangerie Museum in Paris, Go or Skip?


Couple visiting a museum black and white photo, Orangerie Museum

The Orangerie Museum in Paris is not one of the major museums that everybody feels like they need to visit, the question is: should you go see it or is it one of those you can skip?

If you like this episode, you should also check out Episode 102 about the Rodin Museum because it is also  a small museum that doesn’t take hours to see, yet offers amazing world-famous pieces that will blow you mind and introduce you to artists  who revolutionized their fields.

Would you like to tour France with Annie and Elyse? Visit Addicted to France to choose an upcoming tour.

Orangerie Museum Episode Highlights

  • The Orangerie Museum Building [6’11”]
  • What’s an Orangerie Anyway? [8’30’]
  • Monet’s influence [10’40”]
  • How Monet Took Advantage of His Bad Eyes to His Creative Advantage [11:50]
  • Why you must look at Monet’s Paintings Up-Close and then at a Distance [13′]
  • A Space for Meditation [14’12”]
  • What else is there? [19′]
  • Giverny [23’47”]
  • Marmotan Museum in Paris [27’26”]
  • Annie and Elyse talk about the Inaugural Paris Tour [37′]
  • Conclusion: the Orangerie Museum is a lovely place to visit. If you happen to be at the Louvre, you can easily walk through the Tuileries Gardens to go to the Orangerie. Even if you don’t have the time to do that, we recommend taking that short walk through the gardens because it is gorgeous and there are a lot of places you can sit and rest or sit and picnic or simply watch the world go by.

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Inaugural Paris Tour Announcement


Paris Tour Promo, Paris by nightJoin Annie and Elyse in Paris on their first Paris Tour with Join Us in France listeners.

For details visit Addicted to France where you can review all the glorious details and reserve your spot.

We will be back for a regular episode in a couple of days.

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Why Is Napoleon Buried at Les Invalides in Paris? Episode 135

Why Is Napoleon Buried at Les Invalides in Paris?


Les Invalides in Paris at night

As you probably know, Napoléon Bonaparte’s importance in French history and life is difficult to over-estimate. Yet, surprisingly, we haven’t talked about Napoleon much on Join Us in France besides in Episode 58, titled Napoleon in Paris. This has everything to do with the fact that, well, it’s a complicated subject, and it is impossible to do it justice without going on and on and on about it and be a little bit more scholarly than ideal for my taste. BUT, Napoleon has left his mark in almost every aspect of French culture and history, so we can’t ignore him. So, let’s start the year 2017 gently by dipping our toes gently into the Napoleon soup and ask a simple question: Why is Napoleon buried at Les Invalides?

If you like this episode, you may also like Napoleon in Paris.

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Click here to support the show on Patreon and get access to Lunch-Break French, designed to help you sharpen your French skills before your visit to France.


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Montmartre in Paris, Episode 134

Montmartre, Paris Podcast

Overview of Montmartre as seen from the Eiffel Tower
Montmartre from the Eiffel Tower. Photo Antonis Lamnatos.

In today’s episode Elyse and Annie look at what makes Montmartre so special and so popular. Why do tourists go there in such great numbers? What do French people think about it? Is Montmartre genuine Paris, or is it just a tourist trap?

Would you like to tour France with Annie and Elyse? Visit Addicted to France to choose an upcoming tour.

Montmartre Restaurants we like: A la mère Catherine on place du Tertre. or one Annie enjoyed very much, Le Potager du Père Thierry (16 rue des Trois Frères), it is very small, reserve the day before!

If you like this episode, you should also check out the episode on  Moulin Rouge.

Episode Highlights

  • Where is Montmartre?
  • How to Get to Montmatre
  • Montmartre as a Neighborhood
  • Montmatre, a Brief History
    • Origins of the Name Montmartre
    • Martyrs at Montmartre
    • Saint-Denis at Montmartre
  • Montmartre the Village
  • Vineyard in Montmartre
  • Montmartre during the French Revolution
  • How Did Montmartre Become a Place for Artists?
  • Le Mur des je t’aime or Wall of Love
  • Le Passe Muraille on Place Aymé

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Continue reading Montmartre in Paris, Episode 134