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- Paris Uber Drivers Usually Don't Speak English
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Annie Sargent 0:00
On today’s Join Us in France tips on using Uber in Paris.
Annie Sargent 0:38
This is Join Us in France Episode 151 Bonjour, I’m Annie and today I bring you a conversation with Blair bell on her experience using Uber in Paris. For today I will forego any introduction because I am recording this episode in advance. I know I won’t have time to work on it. While I’m in Paris, leading the inaugural tour, so I will tell you all about the tour in the next episode, and I’m sure I’ll have a lot of fun things to report on.
Annie Sargent 1:11
But for today we are going to discuss tips on using Uber in Paris. I know this is of interest to a lot of you. So thank you very much Blair for talking to me about Uber. I have not used it very much because since I live in France, I have my own car in Paris. I used it once. And it was it was good. It was a good experience. But I didn’t really want to base my you know, an episode just on one experience. So thank you, Blair, for coming on the show and sharing your many experiences and giving so so many great tips. Also, thank you for helping us compare the cost of Uber versus taxi and Uber versus public transportation. So thank you very much. And here you go. Enjoy the show.
Annie Sargent 1:59
Hello Blair and welcome to Join Us in France.
Blair Bell 2:02
Bonjour Annie, good to talk to you,
Annie Sargent 2:04
good to talk to you too lovely of you to offer to come talk to us today about using Uber in Paris.
Blair Bell 2:12
Absolutely. I’m happy to!
Annie Sargent 2:14
Wonderful. So can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Introduce yourself briefly.
Blair Bell 2:19
Sure. I am. My name is Blair. And this is my This was my third trip to France in Paris. I was just there with my mother in August and got a lot of experience with Uber there. And then my husband and I just came back from our trip this week, as a last minute trip before our second baby is born and I went at 34 weeks pregnant. So I was definitely taking Uber everywhere and I looked at my credit card bill and it it shows!
Blair Bell 2:53
I have a lot more experience using Uber this time.
Annie Sargent 2:56
Wonderful. So So tell us about it. What What is it Like, how is it different from in the US?
Blair Bell 3:03
So I would say just really the biggest thing, the differences, the language barrier. For what, for whatever reason, and you know, I encounter a lot of people in France that do speak English, but the Uber drivers, either they don’t feel comfortable speaking English, or they really don’t speak it at all. Um, so that can be kind of a barrier. And then obviously, it’s a it’s a big city. So if you use the Uber pool option, you almost always have somebody riding with you. And that can really add on a lot of time to your trip.
Annie Sargent 3:36
Sure. Yeah. I haven’t used Uber pool.
Blair Bell 3:40
Yeah, it’s some of the time it’s probably about double the cost to get a sometimes because it all depends on what time you’re traveling and how many drivers they have, and you know what time of day, but sometimes it can be twice the cost to get just a straight Uber for yourself like an Uber black and so it’s The cheaper option and if you’re not in a hurry, sure, why not? Some of the time nobody rides with you. But that’s, you know, kind of a gamble that you have to take. Now.
Annie Sargent 4:08
I see. So when we took Uber in Paris, first of all, they didn’t have Uber pop. Or did you find Uber pop in Freance?
Blair Bell 4:19
I don’t know what Uber pop is actually
Annie Sargent 4:21
it’s kind of a well, as far as I understand, it’s it’s a kind of it’s see Uber with the older cars. not as nice.
Blair Bell 4:30
Okay, yeah, that didn’t even show up on my app it right, either Uber pool or Uber black.
Annie Sargent 4:35
Right. That’s what we found. And also when we use that we couldn’t see a bid up front. So we used Uber black. And maybe we didn’t know where to look for that information. I didn’t know it ended up being not very expensive at all, but but we could so did it work the same as in the US where you could see the price of the ride?
Blair Bell 4:58
Yes, absolutely. Yes. You just sometimes the pin is off to set your location. So you want to make sure you’re really paying attention to that when you set your location. And then obviously tell it, sometimes you’ll type in a place and like in a restaurant and it won’t come up. So you have to look up the address of that restaurant, just you just want to make sure it’s as accurate as possible. And then once you put in that, you hit the request Uber and it’ll give you two options for the Uber pool or Uber black, it’ll show you the difference in cost. And then if you do Uber pool, you just say it’s one to two riders, so you choose which one and the price does go up a little bit if you have two riders. Mm hmm. And then if you don’t want that, you just click backwards and then hit Uber black.
Annie Sargent 5:46
Blair Bell 5:48
And it does show you kind of all the drivers in the area, which is nice.
Annie Sargent 5:52
Yeah, that’s very nice when you can see how long you have to wait and that sort of thing.
Blair Bell 5:57
Yes. And that actually, I noticed that Time was usually off a good bit. And so I don’t know if that was just traffic or people going the wrong way. But a little bit longer.
Annie Sargent 6:09
You know, I do I’ve driven in Paris plenty. And if you take a wrong turn in Paris, you could be just to circle back around could take you another, you know, 20 minutes. It’s awful.
Blair Bell 6:20
Annie Sargent 6:21
You really don’t want to make a mistake in Paris because you pay dearly in time. I mean, you can always track back to where you needed to be. But
Blair Bell 6:31
Exactly, yeah, we had actually a couple really bad experiences while we were there. With that exact situation, you know, and we of course, were driving it. We took it on May Day on May 1. Yeah. Yeah. And we weren’t thinking I wasn’t thinking and we went to non touristy areas like the canal and a couple areas around that and of course there was protesting in the streets and all the streets were blocked off. A 10 minute trip took us over an hour. Then of course the destination that we got to was closed. So Oh, yeah, I would stay away from that on it a national holiday.
Annie Sargent 7:11
May 1 is a problem in France and I released a short episode just on that because it’s it can be a you can be surprised if you don’t do your homework ahead of time. You can have big surprises.
Blair Bell 7:24
Yes. And I read that while I was over there, and that was super helpful. As soon as we went back to the tourist areas, there was a lot more open and it wasn’t craziness. You just kind of have to stay away from the the non tour really touristy areas,
Annie Sargent 7:39
Right. If you’re in tourist areas, you will find some public transportation and some venues open. But as soon as you’re out of there, it’s like everybody’s off work.
Blair Bell 7:52
Oh, crazy. Yeah. And I would suggest for that day if tours are available outside of the city, like go into the Loire Valley are going to Normandy, do that because we had the option and we thought, well, it’s our last day we didn’t realize things would be closed. Everything would be close to that extent.
Annie Sargent 8:07
So yeah, yeah. Because you know, that never happens in America. Not even on Christmas day like,
Blair Bell 8:13
everything’s open. Yeah,
Annie Sargent 8:14
Yeah. Christmas Day Thanksgiving Day, you still find things open. No. In France when when we say it’s closing. It’s really closing folks.
Blair Bell 8:22
It’s Yeah, even though I was I was trying to find a bathroom and even the McDonald’s was closed. Yep. I mean, everything was closed. So we were I was panicking a little bit.
Annie Sargent 8:33
Yep. Okay. So a problem you had with Uber was you didn’t find in Paris. I mean, you find a lot of drivers who could speak English.
Blair Bell 8:42
Yes. And I speak very, I speak basic French. And so and of course, I have the Google Translate app. So some of the times I would, I would type something in and then play it so they can listen to it. And they would understand, but the language barrier was really big. And then I think Uber pool, unless you’re just not in a hurry at all, and you have all the time in the world, that’s a good option. But it kind of gave me a bad taste from doing uberpool. Because I do it here all the time in the US, especially when I live in Atlanta. But when I go to big cities like Seattle and other places like that, Chicago, I use it. And it’s never a problem. But over there, they’re driving all around to find these people. Andthat was pretty unpleasant doing that.
Annie Sargent 9:32
And there’s probably not as many near as many Uber drivers in France was there in the US with both
Blair Bell 9:38
Definitely, yeah. And then I noticed so when I was there in August, and when my mom and I took it a bunch of times, it was a little bit cheaper. But I think that’s because of most of the locals are gone in August. And it was really just tourists using it. And so there it’s you know, the demand for it was low, the prices were low. We never once had to share a car with anyone
Blair Bell 10:00
And then this time and April you know, end of April, early May, at all the locals are in town all the locals are using it, it was much more expensive. Yeah. And you know, busy. So that kind of that depends on what time you go if you’re going at a tourist time, it’s easy. You know, it’s fast, it’s cheap. But if you’re on a budget, not the way to go at all.
Annie Sargent 10:22
Yeah, to give you just a price reference, if I’m doing this from memory, I should have checked with my husband before we started talking but, we took, we flew into Orly I think and we wanted we were going to Disneyland Paris that day. So and there was four of us, so we decided to get an Uber and it was cheaper than buying our RER tickets. doing you know, just calling an Uber was cheaper than buying for RER tickets. So you really have to look at that as a good option anymore. I mean, Absolutely name but it’s, it can be really cost effective, especially if there’s more than two or three of you.
Blair Bell 11:07
Yes. Then are sure. Yeah. And then also, it’s always cheaper than a taxi. That’s the way I looked at it. Yeah, we did take. We did take a taxi from Charles de Gaulle on to the left bank. And that was gosh, that was over 60 euros. But Uber, we took it on the way there departing and it was it was probably 15 euros less.
Annie Sargent 11:32
Blair Bell 11:33
So it’s, it’s a it’s it definitely can be a good way to go. I did look up the price of a, like 10 tickets for the metro, and that’s going to run you right now about 14, just over 14 and a half euros for 10 tickets. And so if you have two people, that’s going to be 29 euros and then I calculated all the trips. We took we took We took almost 20 trips with Uber, which was over 185 euros. So you’re talking about three about three times more to take Uber than taking the metro.
Annie Sargent 12:12
Blair Bell 12:13
But we did find it. You know, we did feel safe. We were above ground, and you got to see the city. But if you’re certainly on a budget, and you want to take it everywhere, it’s not. Not cheap at all.
Annie Sargent 12:27
Yeah. But go ahead. No, I was just gonna say, well, that’s Everybody knows that. I mean, the cheapest way is always public transportation. Always. I mean, that’s probably true worldwide.
Blair Bell 12:41
Yeah, so if if you’re traveling with somebody with you know, obviously me being super pregnant. I wanted to take it everywhere. I just sometimes I just didn’t have the energy All right, let’s get an Uber. But, you know, anyone with bad knees or if you just been walking all day, and you just can’t, you just can’t anymore. It’s a great a great way to go.
Annie Sargent 13:00
And it’s really good. If you install the app before you come to France. You know, it’ll be all set up, you set it up at home and you don’t see the exact same map. exact same way. You’re used to it.
Blair Bell 13:11
Yes, you don’t. Yeah, there’s it. That’s smart. Do it ahead of time. That way, you can put your credit card and they never have to see that. It’s kind of nice that you don’t have to tip them. They don’t expect it. I would, you know, only tip if they were, you know, especially going to the airport when they’re helping you with all your bags. And so that’s different from the US and then I love that the license plates are also the tags are also in the front of the car.
Annie Sargent 13:35
Blair Bell 13:36
Because that’s easy to spot them coming. It’ll say Volkswagen Passat, and the license plate but it won’t say the color of the car or anything like that. So you know, you have to be on the lookout. It’ll say like Volkswagen Passat el 495, whatever. So you’re just you have to keep your eyes peeled for that coming. But that’s a lot easier than the US obviously. It’s only on the back.
Annie Sargent 13:57
Blair Bell 14:00
That’s kind of something nice over there. makes it a little easier.
Annie Sargent 14:03
Yeah, you have to have your license plate, both in the front end the back in France.
Blair Bell 14:08
Yes. So that was helpful even though the car types are quite a bit different than in the US.
Annie Sargent 14:12
Blair Bell 14:14
You know, you don’t really know what a Skoda looks like, but you’re, you know, you’re looking for the tag. So that’s helpful.
Annie Sargent 14:20
You don’t know what a Skoda looks like? Come on! What’s wrong with you?!
Blair Bell 14:26
Like I I had never heard of this car brand but I know what license plate to look for. So it’s gonna be all right.
Blair Bell 14:32
It’s a knockoff brand for Renault.
Blair Bell 14:35
Oh, I see. I heard it was kind of like a Chevy over there. Like, you know, cheaper, easier, decent cars.
Annie Sargent 14:41
And oh, now that I’m saying all this, I’m wondering, is it Renault or is it the cheap Volkswagen? I can’t I’m not sure I don’t know cars very much. But I can recognize a Skoda.
Blair Bell 14:51
Yeah, I mean, I know American cars and I know, I have some German cars that was very comfortable looking for the Volkswagens. Yeah, that’s about it. But yeah, I would also say know some basic, basic French directional phrases like it’s on the right, it’s on the left, go straight. Turn on the air conditioning was very important.
Annie Sargent 15:15
Allumez la climatisation s’il vous plait.
Blair Bell 15:19
Yes, you might want to get that put that in your notes section of this podcast, because I would try to Google Translate, and it would never quite come out, right.
Annie Sargent 15:27
Blair Bell 15:28
So just lean a little things like that would be super, super helpful for for people using it over there. And then obviously downloading it ahead of time, like you said,
Annie Sargent 15:37
Yeah, set up your app before you go. Maybe get tough. If you’ve never used Uber in the US, maybe use it to get to the airport. So you at least have one experience and then you you can use it in in Paris as well.
Blair Bell 15:50
Yes, that’s a great idea.
Annie Sargent 15:51
Yeah. Very good. I think this is going to be a short episode. You want to tell us a little bit about when this baby’s coming so soon yeah.
Blair Bell 16:00
Yeah, it’s my second baby. So I have a I have a hunch that she might be coming a little bit early she’s due in a month. So I just I just barely made a trip over there and back the whole airplane ride home. I just kept thinking, please don’t come please don’t come. Let me get off this airplane.
Blair Bell 16:19
So I recommend that but that was just when we could go and we got amazing tickets and so we just we went for it, but probably would not do that future.
Annie Sargent 16:30
Yeah. Did you do anything particularly that you particularly enjoyed in Paris that you want to share?
Blair Bell 16:37
Well, I I just since I just went nine months ago, I did a couple things that I wanted to do. Again, we use this American company called Paris picnic.
Annie Sargent 16:49
Blair Bell 16:49
And they they have this beautiful picnic set up for you and they deliver it to the picnic of your choosing includes a bottle of wine and fruit and charcuterie. And so you have your meats, your cheeses, and then you get a loaf of bread and all kinds of kinds of goodies and, and some waters and they set it up for you. And we did that in front of right by the Trocadero fountains and the Eiffel Tower because my husband had never been. So that was really lovely. And you can just kind of sit back and relax and they bring everything for you.
Annie Sargent 17:23
That’s really good. Yeah, so I do that too but I schlep it!
Blair Bell 17:27
Yes, exactly. So it’s kind of nice. I mean, it’s not. It’s not cheap, but it’s not I feel like it for the quality and for just the convenience factor. It’s totally worth it.
Annie Sargent 17:37
Blair Bell 17:38
And then we through them, we actually did a they connect you with photographers and we did a little photo shoot at the Eiffel Tower just to commemorate, you know, going over there before the baby’s born, so that was really cool.
Annie Sargent 17:51
Blair Bell 17:52
Yeah. And it did it all through the the Paris picnic, so that was really fun. Yeah, and then I said, my husband on a Bike Tour since he had never been and I decided just to shop a little bit while he was gone.
Annie Sargent 18:05
So he did a bike tour of Paris,
Blair Bell 18:07
he did Yeah, he just, we use blue bike tour and my mom and I use them twice when we are here in August and just love them had a great experience. It’s all local regions and that speak great English. So they really know the history well. And so he really enjoyed that just getting to see all the monuments and get an idea of kind of the lay of the land and where everything was and
Annie Sargent 18:30
well that’s a great idea, huh? Yeah, so that was
Blair Bell 18:33
that was really fun and then just had some really good food. So we brought back I knew this time to bring a bunch of Ziploc bags and a little soft cooler. And so we brought back a ton of pastries. So save room in your suitcase for that for sure.
Annie Sargent 18:50
Pastries, hum? That’s really cool!
Blair Bell 18:52
Yeah, I just finished my last pain au chocolat this morning. So nice.
Annie Sargent 18:58
Yeah, yeah, because the pastries in America. I don’t care where you go, they’re not as good.
Blair Bell 19:03
No, they’re just not the same. I don’t know. It’s just the butter. If it’s the flour, I think it’s just all of that. So,
Annie Sargent 19:10
yeah, yep. Wonderful. Okay, so is there anything else you can think of that you wish you knew before you started using Uber in France? That you haven’t mentioned already. Sounds like you covered it really well, but,
Blair Bell 19:22
I mean, yeah, I just, I knew it would be, you know, more expensive than the metro. But it was, it was a lot easier in August. So I would suggest kind of mixing up the transportation, we had a few friends that were there at the same time, and they were using the bus, which I had never even thought about using. So I would kind of mix it up. That way. You don’t feel like you’re, you know, giving all your money to Uber.
Annie Sargent 19:48
Honestly, to go to and from the airport. I would definitely consider Uber because I even do that because it’s so much easier and it’s not That much more money and if if it’s just you if it’s just one person, I understand that might be expensive but if two or three of you, and even more if you have four if you don’t have too much luggage if you are coming with a ton of luggage. That might be a problem but, but it’s so much easier to do it that way. I
Blair Bell 20:21
yeah, it is in one thing too. I’ve tried it at two different airports in Paris. When you arrive, I can never find where the Uber is pick you up.
Annie Sargent 20:32
Oh, it’s we found it easily. At Orly I don’t know what CDG is pretty easy.
Blair Bell 20:42
We were just standing by the taxis and we waited and waited and waited. So we ended up just canceling that and getting a taxi. So maybe at least for people that haven’t been there before aren’t familiar, maybe doing like a shared shuttle service might be a cost effective option as well. Just When you’re arriving, but when you’re departing the city, it’s super easy. There’s hardly any traffic. So that’s, you know, a quick, easy way to get there.
Annie Sargent 21:07
Well, I’ll look into that and put it in the show notes. I’ll do a little research of where Uber picks up people at CDG because I don’t really know but where we were it was where the shuttle vans at Orly it’s where the shuttle vans go.
Blair Bell 21:24
That’s good to know. Because we couldn’t we couldn’t find it when my mom and I were here in August and we walked all the way around and nobody could tell us you know, and my broken French nobody understood me. Well,
Annie Sargent 21:34
that’s that’s the problem. Yeah, we
Blair Bell 21:38
especially if you depends if you get there late at night. I mean, sometimes it’s good just to have a secured ride already. Yeah,
Annie Sargent 21:43
where you’re going. Another really good option to get into the city from the airport is the Air France has buses.
Blair Bell 21:53
Oh, that’s a great option.
Annie Sargent 21:55
Yeah, that goes some you know, they don’t stop everywhere in Paris, but they have a few stops. So I’ll put that also on the on the show notes for
Blair Bell 22:02
That’s a great idea. Yeah. And you could always take Uber from your stop to your hotel.
Annie Sargent 22:07
That’s true. That’spretty short. Yeah, that’s a good idea if they stop by Arc de Triomphe is their final stop. So right in the center of Paris,
Blair Bell 22:19
Mm hmm. So yeah, that’s a great I have a friend that’s leaving this week this this week for Paris so I’ll make sure I mentioned that to her because she’s flying Air France so yeah,
Annie Sargent 22:28
yeah. Okay, so thank you so much and I’ll put any more information I find out. I put I will put on the show notes so check that out. And and have a wonderful trip to France to Paris with Uber
Blair Bell 22:43
Annie Sargent 22:44
And let us know the baby will want a picture!
Blair Bell 22:46
I will I will definitely I’ll be taking her when she’s maybe about three will be will be going over there and seeing the rest of the country.
Annie Sargent 22:54
Yeah, I think I need Yeah, I iced well, because I lived in the US when my daughter was that age. Was and so we flew over with her every year starting when she was eight months old.
Blair Bell 23:07
Annie Sargent 23:08
And it was pretty miserable. I have to see. It’s not easy. Yeah, but my mother who lived in France demanded it. So what are you going to do grandma? Yeah, exactly.
Blair Bell 23:19
Annie Sargent 23:20
Anyway, but yeah, when when they get to be three or four and you can have a conversation with them it’s much easier
Blair Bell 23:26
and they can sit a little more still. They’re not trying to run all over the plane. I think that’s good.
Annie Sargent 23:30
Yeah, yeah. Alright. So much flair and and best. Best wishes for a lovely baby.
Blair Bell 23:37
Thank you so much mercy, any.
Annie Sargent 23:42
Thank you for listening to the show. To connect with me. You can email me, Annie at Join Us in france.com or leave me a voicemail by calling one eight to 1806115 if you enjoy the show and would like to express your appreciation for What we do here, please visit Join Us in france.com forward slash support, where you can donate to pure guide or help us earn a commission when making purchases. Again, that’s Join Us in france.com forward slash support.
Annie Sargent 24:24
This episode is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial non derivatives international license.