How to get around in Paris (and how not to)
According to the Theory of Relativity, the faster one travels through space, the faster one travels in time. Go figure. But when it comes to how to get around in Paris and its cockleshell-shaped arrondisments, speed is not the question here. Rather, it is how best to travel without missing a thing. For, in Paris, those tucked away restaurants only the locals know, backstreet vintage shops that don’t find their way into city guides, and the most photogenic views, are not marked by colour-coded signposts.
1 On Foot
Where the sights, sounds and sensations of each street and corner seduce you away from the Google Maps route, 30 minutes on foot in Paris is 5 minutes in London or New York. Indeed, the most beautiful things to experience are the smallest and simplest that the senses need to take time to savour: the scent of fresh baguettes permeating every street, the uniqueness of each ancient cobble stone, and the changing light, streaming down open boulevards, washing the angled walls of apartment rows in every shade, as the Impressionists were so astute to translate to the most iconic paintings of our time. So switch on your GPS and off you go.
2 By Metro
There are some distances, however, that even the slow moving sights of the river Seine or the crisscrossing contrails across the glassy blue sky can’t console. The trek from Montmartre to the Eiffel Tower, for example, is one even yours truly would be reticent to suffer on foot. The opportunity arises, here, for a different way to get around in Paris altogether.
The iconic Paris metro, the glossy white tiles paving long tunnels and the mosaic lettering of each enigmatic station name. Perhaps already a registered hobby, is the guessing game for the correct pronunciation of these inexplicably spelled places.
Paris is extremely well connected by the Metro. Google Maps will tell you just the station and line to take. Tickets can be purchased from machines at just about every station, which take card and cash. For a bit of economy, buy a pack of 10.
3 By Car
As for travel by car, this is your last resort which, I might wager, arose due only to some self-inflicted urgency. The promise of speed or accuracy by car is an empty one. But if one must travel by car share economy is always preferred. Uber is widely used in Paris, and is often 10€ or more cheaper than Taxi, such that rival taxi apps such as G7 have cropped up to offer similar convenience and price to get around in Paris. Even the trip from CDG Airport to your accommodation and back by taxi would be 50€, when the PER B train is 10€, and Uber, 36€.
Consider further economising by choosing Uber Pool for short distances. However, longer distances pose the risk of being taken all over Paris on intervening fares that can more than double your travel time.
Location: Paris, France | Photography: Self-portrait