While the metro may be quicker, the Paris city buses let you traverse the town and take in some sights. You'll need one ticket per ride, no changes allowed unlike the metro, but for just 1.90 € you can get an authentic tour. Here is all you need to know about taking the bus in Paris along with our picks for the best routes to take for sightseeing.
Yes, the metro is a super-efficient way to get around Paris, but you don’t see anything. 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 14.90 €. 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 72 hugs the Seine from the Hôtel de Ville past the Statue of Liberty on the Île aux Cygnes, so it’s perfect to take one way, and then walk back along the Seine.
Bus 69 passes by all the major sights, from the Eiffel Tower, Les Invalides, the Musée d’Orsay and the Louvre, past Hôtel de Ville, Bastille, all the way to the famous Père Lachaise cemetery.
Taking in some of the lesser-known spots in Paris is bus 67. Catch it in Pigalle and it takes 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, Institute de Monde Arab, 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.
To see more of the Rive Gauche (the Left Bank), hop onto bus 89 at Montparnasse. It takes you 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 onto in Paris, you’ll always see something extraordinary.