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Paris's metropolitan area is made up of over 12 million people. This large city has many options for transportation both within the city and the surrounding areas. In order to make your visit more pleasant you should learn about some of the ways to navigate the transportation in Paris.
If you fly into Paris you will likely fly into Charles de Gualle Airport. From here there are many options of how to get into the city center. The suburban commuter train known as the RER B is one of the easiest and fastest ways to leave the airport. This train runs about every 15 minutes and will take you straight into the center of Paris. You can purchase tickets for this train inside the airport and then pick it up at two station locations. There are other train lines for people wishing to go to cities other than Paris.
The bus takes slightly longer than the train, but they are frequent and plentiful. For bus options you can take the Roissybus shuttle or public bus numbers 350 and 351. Another option is to take the Les Cars Air France shuttle option. Taking a Taxi is always possible, but not necessarily the most cost efficient. Pick up taxis at one of the many designated areas outside the airport.
Getting to Paris by train is a great option if you are visiting other areas in France or even other countries in Europe. If you take the train into or out of Paris you will likely be using the Paris Nord Train Station. Common destinations from this station are Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, and the United Kingdom. The train companies that use Paris Nord Train Station are Eurostar, TGV, and Thalys. There are many places to eat, as well as exchange money at the station.
If you are coming from other parts of France as well as Switzerland you are likely to come through Paris Lyon Train Station. For many Italian destinations you will use Paris Bercy Train Station. There are many options for rail passes if you choose to travel by train such as the Eurail Pass or the France Rail Pass.
Paris taxis are a popular and easy way to get around Paris. There are tens of thousands of taxis working in the city at any time. You can hail a taxi on the street or look for a Taxi stand. There are stands all over the city and at major train stations and airports. You can also call ahead for a taxi, but the meter will start running while the taxi is driving to pick you up. Taxis are an especially popular way to get around the city late at night, as they run all night long. Be aware that rates are higher at night and in the early morning.
The Paris Bus System is another great way to get around while seeing Paris at the same time. The city bus is known as the RATP. Being above ground allows you to actually see where you are going while riding the bus. The bus extends into the suburbs while the metro does not. Tickets can be purchased on the bus as well as at some stations.
If you plan on riding the bus or metro extensively you may want to purchase the Paris Visite Card as it provides unlimited rides. The regular bus stops around 11pm but there are special night buses known as Noctilien. Be sure to look at the station to make sure night buses make stops there.
The Paris Metro system is extensive. With 16 color coordinated lines the Metro is easy to navigate. With that said, picking up a Metro map is highly recommended when visiting Paris. Trains run frequently with increased service during rush hour. The train runs late on Friday and Saturday night as well. With over 9 million people served by the Metro each day it is important that you are aware of your surroundings and safe while you travel.
Walking and biking in Paris are easy to do. While Paris may be a European capital, it is a small city geographically. Some Parisian streets have designated bicycle lanes for riders. These are the safest way to travel on bicycle. Walking may just be the most Parisian thing you can do while in the city. The size of the city makes it very walkable, as you can pass through many arrondissements in less than one hour. One good way to start your walking experience in Paris may be to take a walking tour of the city.