Paris can be a very expensive city if you want it to be, or it can be very reasonable. If you need your Paris trip to be reasonably priced, than you need to really look into all the details of your trip and plan it carefully. One of the things you need to clarify would be: how will I move around in Paris? What mean of transportation will I chose? Do Paris walks make sense or would I be better off renting a car or a motorway? Or maybe subway would be the best solution?
Walking in Paris is one of the greatest pleasures and has the advantage of being able to stop at numerous cafés and shops. You will also be able to explore, at your pace and leisure the narrower, medieval side streets of the central arrondissements.
To get a great orientation of the city on foot while seeing many of Paris' major sights, you can get on Google Earth and get an idea about the aria you need to visit. Many of the must see hot spots of Paris are packed around a 5-7 km area along the Seine, in the center of the City.
Be careful though, if you decide walking in Paris, you should pay attention to the shoes you wear. Paris walks can be tiresome, and if you wear your normal shoes, after a few hours you would definitely have heavy feet, or worse, you might get blisters and you will need to stop or start chasing a pharmacy instead of enjoying the tourist attractions around you. Thus you should try some super light, very portable and comfortable shoes, the kind of barefoot walking shoes.
Riding a bike in Paris
A walk in Paris can be very romantic but so can be a bicycle riding. You will be able to move around faster and more efficient but still enjoy all the sites, and all of this will be in a safe, secured environment. Paris is one of the safest cities in the world as regards to riding bicycles. The drivers are not only knowledgeable about bike riders, Credit: By Pierre Rudloff (OperÄƒ proprie) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commonsbut also very respectful and protective of them. In the center, the most touristic area, there is practically no place where you can’t find a bicycle lane. In total, Paris bike network counts 150km of tracks. You will have separate bike lanes, not only on the sidewalks but in the streets too, and you will also be allowed to share the bus lanes on most major boulevards.
Paris municipality is very protective and supportive towards the bike riders. A Vélib program (vélo Liberté or Freedom Bikes) was set in place in 2007, which allows riders to rent a cruiser bike, with a front basket for the backpack, at a very reasonable price. The bike stations are basically at every step, less than 300m away from each other in all touristic areas, usually close to the subway stations. To avoid long rentals and immobilizing of not-used bikes, the municipality promoted the “pick and drop” model. By this, you can get to pay as little as 1.70€ per day or 8€ per week if you can get from one bike station to the other in less than 30 minutes. You can very easily make the rental by paying directly at the bike station with your card or, if you pay on the internet, by entering your ticket code at the station.
Hop on hop off in Paris
If you are not so keen on reading maps or just like to lay back and enjoy the ride, there are solutions also for you: you can take in the fantastic views from the open top double decker of the hop-on hop-off bus tour. You will be able to explore the city at your leisure by hopping on and off as you please and see Paris in your own time.
Through Paris by boat
Credit: By Elliott Brown [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsAnother smart way of going around in central Paris is by using one of their excellent boat services. There are regular shuttle services between major landmarks on the Seine shore but also guided sightseeing cruises along its canals. You can buy a day or 3 days ticket and hop on and off the boat when needed, or you can take one of the romantic cruises and enjoy the view. All boats usually take a circular route from the Eiffel Tower to Notre Dame and back on the other bank past Museum D’Orsay. There are also romantic cruises in the evening, when you can have dinner and a nice glass of wine while enjoying spectacular night-lights of Paris.
Around Paris by scooter or motorbike
The scooters and motorbikes are other smart picks of transportation means in Paris. You can see that use of motorbikes is encouraged by municipality, by the number of two wheel parking all over the city.
As with the bicycles, the drivers of Paris are very used to drive amongst scooters as they have practically done it all their driver lives. Besides being safe to drive a scooter in Paris, it’s also fast: scooter drivers are allowed and encouraged to lane-split between the rows of cars in traffic jams. The driving scenery in Paris is quite civilized: it’s very rare when drivers change lane without signaling or unexpectedly. Be aware though that, unlike bikes, scooters are not allowed on pedestrian pavements.
Fastest way to travel long distances in Paris:
The smartest travelers stay above the ground as much as possible. The subway network being so dense, taking the subway between 2 stops takes as long as walking the distance between them. So, walking is less expensive and more fun, as you can take in the nice, peaceful atmosphere of “la vie en rose” around you. That said, for longer fastest trips you should pay attention to the Métro stations; the Métro stations are at each step within the city and the lines are located directly underneath major boulevards. Knowing that subway stations are under major boulevards makes it useful also for your orientation: if you become lost, it is easy to regain your bearings by walking along a major boulevard until you find a Métro station.
Don't try to visit Paris by car!
If you thought about renting a car to visit Paris, than you should think again. Traffic is very dense during the day, parking places are scarce, and not to mention that you would be paying more money for an absolute headache. Fortunately, Paris offer so many cheaper, faster and more reliable options that you would not miss you car at all.
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