Try to travel by bus in Paris, it’s a great way to discover the city. There are a wide variety of routes, many of which go though the city centre, along the Seine River banks or through well-known historical areas.
The bus network in Paris covers a wider range of areas than the Paris metro system, and being above ground they are also more pleasant to use.
The bus network which covers central Paris and also extends out into the Ile-de-France region. The buses cover central Paris like the métro, but just a bit differently. Buses have to contend with traffic and this is worth bearing in mind if you need to get somewhere fast and it's rush hour ! Buses only stop if someone has pushed the button which lights an "arrêt demandé" sign at the front of the bus above the windscreen or to pick up passengers. However, as buses have two doors and you are expected to get off at the one in the middle and get on at the one at the front, don't rely on passengers getting on as your way of getting off.
The bus network with its 59 routes perfectly matches and complements that of the metro. The buses use the same tickets as the Paris metro system, and if using regular tickets they need to be inserted in the stamping machine on each bus.
Buses operate from Monday to Saturday from 7am to 8.30pm or thereabouts, and are fairly frequent - usually 15 minutes apart.
Some bus lines also operate in the evening from 8.30pm until 0.30am, in particular those that begin at train stations or serve major metro and RER links, as well as the 3 circular PC routes. Around half of the buses also run on Sundays and public holidays.
Bus stops can be either glass-covered shelters or simply poles. They display the numbers of the buses that stop there and the itinerary of each. There are also details of the first and last departures, and the average waiting time between buses. In bus shelters, electronic displays show the number of minutes before the next bus for some routes. The number and terminus are displayed above the driver at the front of each bus, and on the sides. You must indicate to the driver as he approaches if you wish him to stop. In general you must get on the bus at the front and get off by the middle or back doors, except for the articulated “bendy buses” where you can get on or off at any door by pressing the button beside the door. Remember to punch your ticket in the machine as you get on or show your pass to the driver.
Inside the bus will be a map showing the route and each stop. However, there is usually no indication of which stop is being approached, so keep your eyes open and don't be afraid to ask which stop is next. It may be best to ask your neighbour rather than the driver though
Inside the bus will be a map showing the route and each stop. However, there is usually no indication of which stop is being approached, so keep your eyes open and don't be afraid to ask which stop is next. It may be best to ask your neighbour rather than the driver though.
When your stop is approaching, just press one of the red buttons dotted throughout the bus. The sign “arrêt demandé” (stop requested) will light up at the front of the bus above the driver’s cabin. Within each bus there is a network map and the detail of the route.
The free public transport maps available in metro and RER, stations, bus terminals and the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau, also show bus lines.
The “Noctilien” (replaces “Noctambus” and “Bus de nuit”)
You just missed the last metro (between 0.40am and 1am) or you’re too early for the first one at 6am? Night travellers, the new regional bus network launched on 20 September 2005 is just for you!
From 0.30am to 5.30am, the “Noctilien” network means 35 lines throughout Ile-de-France and increased frequency, better visibility (clearer signage), greater access and improved welcome!
Extending the former “Noctambus” and “Bus de nuit” (night bus) lines, almost doubled, the “Noctilien” will allow both residents and visitors to make the most of Paris by night and still be able to get home easily! You can use your travel pass or a metro/bus ticket if it covers the zones concerned (the same zones as for the metro/RER).