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Paris Sightseeing Buses


ABOVE: A bus of L'OpenTour swings past Nôtre-Dame Cathedral on the Île de la Cité.

By Durant Imboden

L'OpenTour and Big Bus Tours

If you're in Paris for only a short time, or if your body won't withstand hours of walking every day, a traditional escorted bus tour is a great convenience. Our advertising partner, Viator, offers a variety of tours and excursions in Paris and the surrounding area, with prices in a wide choice of currencies.

Independent travelers often turn up their noses at guided tours, preferring to travel on foot, by Métro or RER trains, or on city buses. (We share their preference.)

Nowadays, a third option offers a compromise between convenience and independence: the "hop on, hop off" sightseeing bus.

Double-decker buses of L'OpenTour and Big Bus Tours  (formerly Les Cars Rouge) follow set routes with stops at leading museums and tourist attractions. For a fixed price, you can step off a bus, explore an attraction or neighborhood at your leisure, and catch another bus when you're ready to move on. As a bonus, you can put on headphones and listen to a running commentary between stops.

The green-and-yellow buses of L'OpenTour cover four sightseeing routes that cover most areas of interest to visitors. A single pass gives you access to all four routes.

The red-and-gold buses of Big Bus Tours cover two routes: the classic "Red Route" in the city center and a "Blue Route" that skirts Montmartre. You can buy your pass on the bus or save 10 percent by ordering online.

Note: Other companies offer sightseeing tours of Paris (Cityrama and Foxity come to mind), but we've chosen to focus on the two major providers, who offer frequent service and extensive route networks year-round.

Next page: Batobus water bus

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L'OpenTour, Big Bus Tours

Related article:
Paris Sightseeing Boats

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