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Paris Buses (2019)

How to buy transit tickets and ride public buses in Paris, France.

Paris bus photo

ABOVE: A No.63 bus heads toward the Gare de Lyon. INSET BELOW: Line 69 runs from the Père Lachaise Cemetery to the Eiffel Tower.

In a city where Métro stations are never more than 500 meters apart, buses may seem like an anachronism. Still, there are times when a bus line may be the shortest distance between two points in Paris, and some travelers would rather look out a bus window (assuming that they can find a seat) than feel cooped up in a subway tunnel.

Paris transit buses are operated by RATP, the regional public-transportation network. Bus lines within the city have two-digit route numbers (such as 63 or 82), while suburban lines have three-digit numbers.

Paris bus photoYou can obtain free bus maps from tourist offices and Métro stations, or you can download maps and apps from the RATP Web site.

In this article, we'll tell you about fares and tickets, how to ride the buses, and where to find more Paris bus and transit information on the Web.

Paris bus fares and tickets

Montmartre bus

ABOVE: An electric Montmartrobus. INSET BELOW: A single-journey T+ ticket for use on the bus or Métro.

A single journey costs €2,-- if you buy your ticket on the bus. However, you'll save money by using Métro tickets (now called T+ tickets), which are slightly cheaper and don't require dealing with the driver. (Just be sure to validate your ticket once you're on board.)

Paris Metro ticketImportant: T+ tickets allow transfers between buses and trams, but not between buses or trams and Métro or RER lines. Tickets sold by bus drivers (which are marked "sans correspondences") can be used only on surface transportation (i.e., buses and trams).

For current information on tickets and transfers, see the RATP's T+ Tickets page.

Several money-saving options are available:

  • A carnet is a stack of 10 T+ tickets that you can buy at any Métro station and from most tabacs (shops and other locations that sell cigarettes). It costs €14,90, which means you'll save quite a bit of money on every ride.

  • The Paris Visite pass gives unlimited access to RATP buses, the Métro, RER and SNCF suburban trains, the Montmartre Funicular, trams, and the Optile bus network for 1, 2, 3, or 5 days. Adult fares depend on the number of days and zones. (Children's Paris Visite tickets are half price.) Paris Visite also entitles you to discounts of 20 cent or more on some Parisian tours and attractions. You can buy Paris Visite online and pick it up at one of several redemption points in Paris, or--more conveniently--you can purchase it at a Métro, RER, or SNCF railway station or at the airport upon your arrival.

  • Please note that only the higher-priced "Paris + suburb + airports" version of Paris Visite covers airport transportation.

Which offers the best value, a carnet or Paris Visite? That's something you'll have to calculate for yourself, based on how frequently you'll use public transportation and where you plan to go in the Paris region.

Traveling with children:

Children under age 4 travel free on buses, trams, or the Métro Kids from ages 4 through 9 pay the full adult fare for single tickets, but a children's carnet of 10 tickets is half price, so it pays to plan ahead.

How to ride Paris buses

Paris bus stop photo

ABOVE: A No. 82 bus stop at the Eiffel Tower.

  • Wait at the bus stop, which will have either a shelter or a signpost. (Some stops have electronic signs that display bus numbers and waiting times.)

  • When the bus arrives, board at the front.

  • Validate your white cardboard T+ ticket immediately in the stamping machine, or buy a ticket from the driver if you don't have one.

  • When you're ready to get off the bus, press the nearest red button to activate the "stop requested" sign. (You'll see red buttons scattered throughout the bus.)

  • Leave the bus through the rear doors.

Note:

  • If you're traveling with the Paris Visite pass, follow the validation and usage instructions in the accompanying booklet. Do not insert the pass's ticket in the stamping machine on the bus; show it to the driver instead.

  • The "how to" instructions on this page apply to standard Paris city buses, which can be identified by their route numbers.

Paris bus and transit links

Paris bus photo

ABOVE: A bus enters the Avenue Friedland from the Place Charles de Gaule (a.ka. the Étoile). The Avenue des Champs-Élysées is on the right.

RATP
The official site of the Paris and suburban transit network has maps, timetables, current fares, etc. in French, with some tourist information in English and five other languages.

Paris Visite
If you want to buy a 1-, 2-, 3-, or 5-day transit pass before you leave home, this site will make the process easy--though not as easy as buying the pass after you arrive. (Please note that the cheapest Paris Visite pass is good for only Zones 1-3 and does not cover airport transportation.)

Paris: Buses
Today's RATP buses aren't nearly as distinctive as the vintage buses that you may have seen in classic movies--and which are shown in glorious black-and-white on Dewi Williams's Web site.

Paris Transportation Articles - Index parisforvisitors.com
This page has links to our articles on the Paris Métro, RER, Montmartre funicular, sightseeing buses, airport ground transportation, Vélib' city bike rentals, Seine sightseeing boats and water buses, St-Martin canal boats, and Eurostar trains between London and Paris.

Inset photos copyright © iStockphoto/Patrick Breig.

Related articles:
Paris Transportation Index