Mar 20

10 reasons to ride the bus in Paris

by in france, paris, travel

dog on bus in parisWhen I tell foreign friends living in Paris that I prefer the bus to the metro, there is usually some surprise and admiration…and intimidation at using the bus system here. I didn’t use the bus until a few months after I settled in Montmartre because I also thought it seemed complicated. Making up my mind to figure out the bus system was one of the best things I did after my arrival and has changed the way I see the city. A year on and I’ve come to love the bus and advocate for the rolling public transportation in Paris every chance I get.

Et voilà: 10 reasons why I use the bus in Paris and think you should too.

1. More human connection

Practically everyone says bonjour to the driver, and the driver says bonjour to everyone. That’s a lot of bonjours everyday. I rarely see anyone greet anyone on the metro, and certainly not the conductor since she or he is usually well cached in the compartment at the front and has little to no contact with riders. It seems there are fewer barriers to talking to people around you on the bus compared to the metro, which I honestly can’t explain.

2. The city views

Need I say more?

eiffel tower from bus in paris3. Discover new neighbourhoods

I’ve come a cross countless markets, boutiques and cool cafes that I’ve visited just because I spotted it from the bus once.

4. Get closer to your destination

Ok, ok, I know sitting is the new smoking, but I can appreciate that often a bus will stop closer to my destination than the metro. Using the ratp.fr website is huge help in planning bus trips, knowing when the next bus is coming and if there are any disturbances en route. I use the app almost daily. Which doesn’t work if you’re in the metro, because well … see reason #10.

5. Slow down, life

It’s true I work from home and am rarely in a hurry so I love that I have the time to actually enjoy riding the bus in Paris.

6. Always warmer than the metro

What you probably don’t know is that I have Reynaud’s syndrome which is a weird sort thing like an allergy to the cold that is most common in women my age from northern climates. Go figure. My toes get all icy and lifeless and I’m often really, really unnecessarily cold. Medical advice is to work hard at staying warm and taking the bus helps me do this. I know exactly which seats have heaters under them.

7. Easy out in case of emergency

The bus feels somewhat less claustrophobic than the metro. Not that I’m a claustrophobic but I hate the idea of an emergency and getting trapped underground. I somehow think I could escape the bus more easily in case of you know … unthinkable emergencies in public transportation.

8. Safer & Cleaner

#7 being said, I do feel overall much safer on the bus than the metro particularly as a woman out in sometimes unsavoury neighbourhoods or when it’s dark. There’s significantly less riff-raff and fewer creepy men on the bus than the metro. It seems to me that there are more old people and parents & children on the buses in Paris and well, I like old people and children.

Also buses in Paris generally don’t smell like pee. No guarantee for the metro though.

9. Daylight!

I’ll take as much vitamin D as I can get!

10. Internet Access

Ok so there’s no free public wifi on Paris buses but if you’ve got data on your phone and you’re in Paris, you’ll know that 3G never works in the Paris metro and always works on the bus.

PS – I wrote this post while on the bus.

And to top it all off, I found this today nice touch today:

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3 Responses to “10 reasons to ride the bus in Paris”

  1. From Paula:

    I think you have seriously convinced to switch transportation methods when I get back to France in two weeks. I get so sick of the metros and the unfriendly shoving! Great post! I actually just started a blog…I only have one post, tis a shame but I’m sure I’ll get there!

    Posted on April 19, 2015 at 10:53 pm #
    • From jeanette:

      The bus it where it’s at! Thanks for your comment, looking forward to seeing your blog!

      Posted on April 21, 2015 at 10:49 pm #
  2. From Dave:

    My wife and I were in Paris last fall and we mostly used buses to get around. We saw much more of the city that way, and the buses always seemed to be more convenient. Traffic jams sometimes slowed us down; but, hey, who’s in a hurry in Paris?

    Posted on April 24, 2015 at 7:56 am #

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