Public Transport > Bus & Tram

The Bus

The RATP bus system has come a long way since the "Green" Mayor Delanoë came into office in 2001.  It's more efficient, with many dedicated bus lanes and electronic signs at major stops to indicate the wait time between buses. With over 200 lines running through the city, it may take a bit more work to figure out, but the bus is worth it because it's safer, more comfortable, and virtually stair-free compared to the Métro. And you've got a view! About 45 lines are now equipped with ramps for wheelchair access.

  • How It Works

Most buses operate Monday-Saturday from 7am-8:30pm, although many major lines are open daily until 1:30am. The signs at each bus stop indicate all of this information, and clearly show the route of each bus which stops there. There are also route maps inside the bus. If you’re not sure, you can ask the driver, but be sure to let other passengers get on before doing so.

If you’re the only person standing at a stop used by different bus lines, be sure to raise your hand or stand at the end of the sidewalk to indicate that you want the bus stop. Drivers are not supposed to let passengers on or off outside designated stops, but will usually wait if they spot you running down the street.

Inside the buses you'll often find electronic signs indicating the next stop (accompanied by a voice recording) and the time until it reaches the end of the line. Push one of the red buttons if you want to get off. Always exit through the back doors (many open automatically, some require you to push a silver button).

Note: To get off a crowded bus, just say "pardon" and start gently pushing your way through. You might have to be a bit aggressive! If the door closes before you can get out, just yell "La porte, s'il vous plaît!" to the driver.  

  • Tickets

These are the same as those used on the Métro. Drivers can sell single tickets for €1.70 only, no carnets or passes (these can be purchased at Métro stations or tourist offices). Tickets should be punched into the ticket machine. These are only good for 90 minutes within the bus and tram network (but not for transfers onto the metro). The Navigo passes should be swiped in front of the purple panel until you hear the ding and see the green light. Keep your ticket until you get off in case the security agents get on board and start checking. If you have any questions at all about the tickets and what to do with them, ask the driver (but be nice and get on last so you're not blocking others).

  • Other Buses (all accept regular RATP tickets)

The RATP’s Noctilien Night Bus operates roughly between 11pm-5:30am throughout the city and the immediate suburbs and airports. It works just like the regular bus sytem, with its own 35 routes that overlap the day routes (you'll see the Noctilien's sign and map at bus shelter where it stops). The five main stops are Châtelet, Gare St-Lazare, Gare de L'Est, Gare de Lyon, and the Gare Montparnasse. Tickets are the same as you use on regular buses and the Métro (Carte Orange and Mobilis are accepted for the right zones). Times between busses vary from 10-60 minutes depending on the line. Check the website for schedules.

The Balabus (Bb) is a special tourist bus that operates on Sundays and holidays only from mid-April to mid-September, with a particularly scenic route along the Seine between La Défense and Gare de Lyon.

The Petit Ceinture (PC1, PC2, PC3) buses do a loop of Paris just inside the périphérique ring road, connecting to the T3 tram terminals on the south end of the city.

The Montmartrobus circles the Butte de Montmartre between M° Anvers and M° Jules Joffrin with stops in front of Sacre Coeur Basilica and Place du Tertre.

There’s also the Montmartre Funicular, a short but steep rail ride up to the foot of Sacre Coeur in a glass box for those who can’t bear another flight of stairs. 

Okay, it's a Boat: But the Batobus works just like a bus on the Seine, with eight stops at the Eiffel Tower (Port de La Bourdonnais, 7th), Musée d’Orsay (Quai Solferino, 7th), St-Germain-des-Prés (Quai Malaquai, 6th), Notre Dame (Quai de Montebello, 5th), Jardin des Plantes (Quai St-Bernard, 5th) Hôtel de Ville (Quai de l’Hôtel de Ville, 4th), Louvre Museum ( Quai du Louvre, 1st) and the Champs Elysées (Port des Champs Elysées, 8th). Day passes are €12, €8 for Navigo holders. Two-day passes are €16, €11 for Navigo holders. Checkout the website for seasonal schedules.

The Tramway

There are two small tramway lines on the outskirts of Paris in St-Denis (T1) and La Défense (T2), but these are rarely used by visitors. More exciting is the new 5-mile long Tramway de Marechaux Sud opened in late 2006, which connects Métro stations in the lower 13th, 14thand 15th arrondissements such as Porte d’Ivry, Porte d’Orléans and Porte de Versaillesb (it also connects to the PC buses that circle Paris within the périphérique).

The trams use the same tickets as the Métro and bus (€2 for a single ride).