16 January 2006

Travel in Paris : RER, Metro, Bus -- or hoof it!

Like most cities with a subway system, Paris has an online trip planner that helps you design your itenerary and tells you how long your trip MIGHT take in perfect conditions.

In Paris, the Metro itenerary planner goes a step further (no pun intended) and tells you how long it will take you to walk to or from any given address to the suggested Metro station or bus stop. It's a very thorough Web site and from what I can tell it is also accurate.

No Web site can predict strikes, security scares, international incidents or late trains. Within 24-hours, sometimes 24-minutes, you might (read: should) learn that extra patience is required at all times. As they say, sh*t happens. Paris - and all it contains - is not a model of efficiency. It has other charms on which you can focus if your train or bus is running late.

As for me, I prefer to take the bus. I don't care much for the way people on the Metro tend to stare at their fellow riders. Travelling in a subterrerean manner leaves people with nothing to see through their windows. Unfortunately I am self-conscious (not as young, thin, fashionable, etc. etc.) as I once was. I realize I can't blend in as a Parisian, but given enough time I think I could manage to not stand out. Plus it's just creepy to have someone staring at you for long periods of time.

If you prefer to stay in contact with the sun and other elements, and you don't favor the Metro "air" that often smells of machinery and urine and humanity, you can use the Web site previously mentioned for different modes of public transportation. A private Web site offering the same information and PDFs of actual maps can be found at this link. I don't think you can get to the planner from this site.

Walking is a great Parisian tradition that, along with an oppressive heatwave, assisted me in losing 40-lbs. Use MAPPY - yes, it is called MAPPY - if you'd like walking directions from point to point. That's a travel tip and a fitness tip all rolled into one.



At 25/1/06 11:54, Blogger sybariter said...

Thanks for those travel links - very useful.

You lost 40lbs ! Well done. Paris is very good for weight loss, especially for Americans; blogger black girl in Paris (?) had a similar loss.


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