Yes, the metro is a super-efficient way to get around Paris, but you don’t see anything (unless you take the Line 6, that is). In contrast, hopping on the bus might be a slower way to get from point A to B, but you get a cheap city tour with some stunning views along the way.
Bus, RER, and metro tickets are one and the same (called T+ tickets), costing 1.90€ per ticket. While in the metro you can change lines on the same ticket, on the bus you’ll need one ticket per ride. There are daily passes, such as the Paris Visitor Pass, but these cost 13.20€ for one day in the city center, so they’re only worth it if you intend to spend the entire day on public transportation. Otherwise, just get a carnet of 10 normal tickets for 16.90€. Normal tickets can’t be purchased on the bus, so head to a metro or tram station to buy them, then make sure to validate your ticket once you board the bus.
Bus 67 lets you take in some of the lesser-known spots in Paris. Catch it in Pigalle and it transports you all the way south to near Parc Montsouris, through the center past the Bibliothèque Nationale, the Comédie Française, the Louvre, Hôtel de Ville, Ile Saint-Louis, Institut du Monde Arabe, the Grand Mosque of Paris and Moulin des Prés.
Bus 42 also has a great route: from the Eiffel Tower across the Pont de l’Alma alongside the eternal flame, up Avenue Montaigne with its luxury shopping, down the Champs Elysées, across the Place de la Concorde and past Madeleine and the Opera Garnier, past the department stores on Boulevard Haussmann and on to Gare du Nord, where the Eurostar arrives.
Bus 89 from Montparnasse is one of the best to explore the Rive Gauche (the Left Bank). You’ll ride past the Jardin du Luxembourg and the Panthéon to the Roman amphitheater the Arènes de Lutèce, then passes the Jardin des Plantes and the Gare d’Austerlitz to arrive in the modern 13th Arrondissement and make a stop in front of the gigantic Bibliothèque François Mitterand.
But, quite honestly, it doesn’t matter which bus you hop on in Paris, you’ll always see something extraordinary.
Join our free Urbansider Club to access personalized recommendations, downloadable guides, and a monthly newsletter with the latest from Paris as well as our new top addresses and experiences. You’ll also be invited to our exclusive Urbansider events in Paris.