Only very few tourists visiting Paris use the buses for traveling from one visiting site to another. Most people do not even notice the buses and bus stops because the metro is the most common way of traveling in Paris. Another reason for avoiding the bus system is that trying to figure out how to use buses to get around the city can seem like a challenge for tourists. In case you choose to visit Paris, especially in summer, you should read this short travel guide and learn about Paris buses. The bus can be both more scenic and less claustrophobic than the metro or RER. Taking time to get familiar with Paris’ clean and pleasant buses can be a good investment.
Metro stations are located close to one another in the city center. As you go further you will have to walk more and more in order to find a metro station. Paris buses have stations equally spreaded all over Paris, not only in its center. As a traveler you can be in the situation when the bus stop is much closer to your hotel than the metro station. If you’re not comfortable walking the further distance to the Metro station you should check out the Paris bus system and the bus map.
If you plan to stay out late in the city, and your hotel is not located in city center you should check the Paris bus system before leaving. The metro stops running at midnight and starts at 5:30 in the morning. In weekends it runs till 2 Am. If you missed the metro only two alternatives left: take an expensive Paris taxi or hop on a bus. The night buses run till 5:30 in the morning when the metro starts.
Paris bus fares and tickets price
If you buy the ticket on the bus, a single journey ticket costs €1,90.
Paris metro,bus,tram ticket
However, you’ll save 20 cents by using Metro tickets (now called T+ tickets). Children between 4 and 9 can travel with half-price tickets and for children under age of 4 the travel is free of charges.
Important Tip: T+ tickets allow transfers between bus lines or between buses, trams, and the Metro. Tickets sold by bus drivers (which are marked “sans correspondences”) allow transfers only on surface transportation (i.e., buses and trams)
Several money-saving options are available:
- Buy a carnet, which is a stack of 10 T+ tickets. You can buy this from the metro stations and from most tabacs (shops that sell cigarettes and newspapers). It costs €12,50, which means you’ll save 50 to 60 cents per ride.
- The Paris Visite pass gives unlimited access to all transportation means in Paris: Paris buses, the Metro, RER and SNCF suburban trains, the Montmartre Funicular, trams, and the Optile bus network for 1, 2, 3, or 5 days. The fares depend on the number of days and zones. Children tickets are half price. Paris Visite gives you discounts at some attractions and tours. The easiest way to buy Paris Visite is in a Metro, RER, or SNCF railway station or at the airport upon your arrival.
Where to buy the tickets ?
You can buy bus ticket at a ticket window located in main stations and airports. There can be long queues at these ticket windows and most of the times the assistant speaks only French.
The other alternative is to buy the ticket from a ticket machines. You can find these in all metro and RER stations. The machines sports English, Spanish, German and Italian language. The trick is that you choose the language on the second screen. You can pay using credit cards. This is an easy alternative if the ticket window is crowded.
How to ride the bus?
Paris buses start running at 06:30 am. The last bus usually leaves the terminal between 20h30 and 21h30, but a few lines run until half past midnight, as indicated by signs at the bus stops. There are also night buses, called Noctambus, which operate hourly between Chatelet and the main gates of Paris from 01h to 05h. The night routes are labeled with letters rather than numbers.
In order to ride a bus you should:
- Wait at the bus stop. The bus stop will have either a shelter or a signpost. Some of them have electronic displays that show the numbers and waiting tine till the next bus arrive.
- When the bus arrives, board at the front.
- Validate your white cardboard T+ ticket immediately in the stamping machine, or buy a ticket from the driver if you don’t have one.
- When you’re ready to get off the bus, press the nearest red button to activate the “stop requested” sign. (You’ll see red buttons scattered throughout the bus.)
- Leave the bus through the rear doors.
Paris buses map
Official Paris bus map
You can find an interactive Paris buses map on RATP page.