Thursday, March 05, 2009

Do You Take The Bus?

Paris Metro Metro Saint-Sulpice, original art, 5" x 7"
Are you a Paris bus person?
Or like me do you find yourself alway taking the Metro?
They say the bus is a much less frantic way to go.
And much more scenic.
After all you are above ground!

I feel so comfortable on the Metro.
Did you know the Metro trains always arrives on your left?
I once got on a Paris bus and after 10 minutes, I freaked.
I had to get off!
It kept stopping and starting!
And I didn't know where the H--- I was?
Plus I'm joined at the hip to my old Metro map.
It's been fortified with Scotch tape over and over...

And I always store a closeup of the Metro area map in my camera of where I'm staying to refer to later.
Who needs to buy a copy of ParisScope when the Metro provides you with posters of the latest hot exhibits and shows?
I am sweet on the Russian buskers too...
And bien sur Metro dogs...
Are dogs allowed on the bus?

One stop I must go to is the METRO shop in Chatelet Les Halles 75001
These watches help you know the stops on each of the 14 lines.
Ask any Parisien if they take the bus or the Metro and they'll tell you they take the RER (pronounced ear-E-ear) because it's vit vit vit!
Sophia Coppola in her Miss Dior commercial suggests you take a bike.
Tell me your thoughts


  1. Anonymous10:05 AM

    I've been to Paris once, and we took the Metro and I must say it was the most intense subway ride of my life. Trying to navigate the levels of train systems, trying to get somewhere on time, all through rush hour traffic was insane.
    New York subways are way easier than this.

    I loved it anyway tho!

  2. I feel the exact same way...I want to take the bus....I am not sure how to? Does the Metro Pass work in it...are the bus drivers friendly...will I know where I am? In the end...I am in the metro with my good old worn out map.

  3. We only used the bus to get from and back to the Gare du Nord, and the metro to get to and from a party on the outskirts of Paris. The rest of the time we were on foot or bicycle. S. Coppola is right to suggest the bicycle; the Velib kiosks are everywhere and it is a very inexpensive and easy way to get around.

    M. Baker

  4. Like you, I am a Metro rider when in Paris (as well as here in DC). I understand it completely and have never found the levels to be an issues (is that because I am used to the depth of the London Tube?). That said, I only seem to take the Metro if I have to go longer distances or have a lot of packages, because I love to walk in Paris. The RER is also good, but again only long distances.

    Next time I am in Paris, I have to get one of those watches...they are very cool. I wonder which line I will choose? Mmmmm, maybe all of them? LOL

    Fun Post!

  5. Oh Carol:

    What a brilliant idea to have a picture of a map showing the location of your apartment!

    I am so jealous you came up with such a essential solution! You can show it to a cab driver as well, if you find your self in that situation.

    I love buskers as well as you do. Of course we have electric blues in our Chicago subway.

    Enjoyed the Coppola commercial, although I though it was to stress the bike as a solution to getting around. I do, here in Chicago all the time, except of course, in the snowy winter.

    I have a similar beat up treasured map, but it is for San Francisco. They don't make one like it anymore and I have so many unique pieces of information noted on it, like camera angles and time of day on such a such date of a sunrise or sunset.

    Loved your painting, as usual.

    Stef in sunny warm (50's), well you know that already!

  6. Definitely a Metro person! I tried the bus from the Eiffel Tower, trying to go to the Louvre. You're right, you have absolutely no idea where you are. Can you imagine how idiotic I would have felt, standing up and demanding, "Ou est le Louvre?"

    I ended up at Pere Lachaise cemetery, which was on my list of "to see", anyway. Never did get to the Louvre. sigh.

  7. That's it exactly BECS!
    The bus is disorienting even if very scenic...
    Ho hum

  8. Anonymous11:14 AM

    Those watches are divine, look like the swatch watches l wear,
    can you buy them online?

  9. Anonymous11:44 AM

    what is it?

  10. Love the painting and the second photo too.
    Love the maps. When do you leave for Paris?

  11. Anonymous12:47 PM

    I love the Paris bus. Not when working, of course, but when sightseeing.
    A Must have: "Le Bus Repertoire des 80 lignes".
    Hard to find, but truly "l'indispensable".
    Just riding along enjoying the street scene is great.
    Of course, le metro is super, and easy to understand, and fast, but oh so claustrophobic.

    If you're out after 12:30 am, then the "Noctambus" is your only option when you can't find a cab (like after Midnight Mass at Notre Dame).
    Amazing how the French would not consider extending Metro hours on holidays and June 21 (les nuits blanches).

    nancy in Savannah

  12. Anonymous12:54 PM

    The Metro rules!

  13. Metro is much more sensible but bus let you breath... Anyway if the season permits, and it can be pretty cold sometimes, I'd rather take the bike. I like cicling and walking, give you time to SEE what's around you.

  14. Anonymous12:59 PM

    You sure do paint Paris Dreams...I drool each day when your post arrives.
    You really should be getting a commission check from Paris retail associations.

  15. georgeous sketch!!!

  16. Another great painting. Another great post.

    When I was in Paris I never even thought about taking the bus. The Metro seemed more of an adventure. If I was above ground, I wanted to walk instead.

    Next time I'm in paris, I have to get one (or more) of those watches.

  17. Metro! I have taken the bus, but Metro faster and easier to figure out. Love the idea of keeping your info on the camera! Love those watches!!
    Cheers, Shelagh

  18. The watercolours keep getting better and better. Fabulous!

  19. Great! Thanks for the Metro art. Love it. Are those Swatch watches? Margarita said NYC subway is easier than the Metro - if that's true, then fogetaboutit, I'm going Miss Dior style (loved that video - were those macaroons I saw?).

  20. Saint Sulpice for St Germain and St Paul for Le Marais, perfect choices!!!!!!! Bientôt.....

  21. Anonymous5:00 PM

    I travel by bus whenever I can. Not confusing at all when you get to know your lines.

    I like the Velibs too, but value my own life still better. The model in the commercial has a lovely face, but she is too thin to fit the song, and the singer. Bardot had such a gorgeous body...

  22. Anonymous8:03 PM

    Your map: I love a map with provenance!
    Sounds like the bus would be a great thing to take when you just want to sightsee for a few hours...when you're done, get off and take the ReR home!

  23. Anonymous8:38 PM

    I love the Metro too. I don't need to see the sights above ground. I'll do that when I walk around at my destination. The buskers were great both on and off the Metro. They always play the same songs, "Hello Dolly" and "Those Were the Days." I sang with one group doing my best Louis Armstrong imitation. The whole car applauded and put money in the hat. The musicians offered me a few Euros but I declined. Everyone waved when I got off at my stop. That won't happen on a bus.

  24. These latest watercolors are so engaging, Carol. Wonderful!

  25. Anonymous10:44 PM

    I would love a watch with the 12 or the 2 line on it!

    Now that I am back in Philadelphia (one of the worst subway systems of any major city in the US) I lust after the cleanliness and efficiency of the Parisian Metro.

    And your photo of the carousel brought me right back to my moments spent walking along that street- thank you!

  26. Anonymous10:48 PM

    - or the 4 - any line that goes to Montmartre, really. haha.

  27. I love the shot of the dogs!
    Great post and photos as usual!

  28. That painting is worthy of the first chapter of a book about Paris! Where to go - ah, the possibilities to dream!

    Funny that in your fair city I also had this predilection for taking the metro. Every now and then I hopped on a bus (out to the Bronx's Little Italy, on Arthur Avenue, for example), but generally I found myself to unprepared to take advantage of the bus lines. Next time!!!

  29. "too" unprepared.
    Sorry. :-(

  30. Anonymous4:22 AM

    I've only been to Paris once, but I preferred the bus so I could stand up close to Parisian people. Also, you can look out the window and site see. It was quite convenient actually!

  31. Anonymous4:27 AM

    also, I love your new watercolors. And the Miss Cherie commercial is just perfection. I cut out the ad and hung it on my's so pretty. Makes me want to visit Paris in the spring.

  32. MERISI, New York buses are good for the scenic route, like the #4 straight down 5th Avenue.
    That's it!
    New York buses go in STRAIGHT LINES
    Not all twisty-turny like the buses in Paris!!!
    Very discombobulating...

  33. Anonymous5:16 AM

    The metro of course ! Great way to people watch.
    I want one (or more) of the metro watches - any suggestions ?
    The St. Sulpice watercolor was lovely !

  34. What a magnificient post! It has "everything"! I make a mid-monthly-theme post on subways shared with NYC, London, Stockholm, Budapest.Without "stealing" this post, I hope you agree that I take the opportunity to make a link to it?

    (The Russian musicians are ALWAYS at the same spot at the Chatelet station. There are some good musicians down there. I guess you know that you need a permit to play in the métro, which you - possibly - get after an audition.)

  35. Anonymous5:27 AM

    I found the watches on and ordered the #1.
    Carol I emailed you over a year ago about the cherry shoes you photographed in NYC and I hunted those puppies down too. I had them 3 days later.
    Fun! Fun! Fun !

  36. BUS FOR SURE!!!! There is no better way to get around Paris with a stroller! When I used to visit Paris and take the metro, I'd get on and off and have no feel for how far I was from the area I just left. Many times I'd walk the streets and realize that one area was just around the corner from another but b/c I was always underground, never realized it.

    Now that I have lived in Paris for over 5 years, I never take the metro. The bus goes everywhere and it's such an amazing way to see the sights and sounds of all the different nieghborhoods.

  37. great post...just purchased an eifel tower watch from the link you had here.

    in italia i used the bus/tram/train/metro system every day. so efficient and so easy.

    have a wonderful afternoon.


  38. Anonymous11:52 AM

    During my Jan stay (Hotel St. Dominique!) I ended up walking the whole time! Went for exhibits at Le Grande Palais...Emile Nolde and Picasso...and everything I wanted to see was close to everywhere else...I love the streets...people watching..especially at night!
    Only public transportation was RER from the airport, with transfer to Metro at St. Michaels...I was going to take the Roissey Bus, but my seatmate on the plane, who happened to live on Rue St. Dominique said she always used the RER!
    Bon Voyage...

  39. Anonymous12:36 PM

    great post...just purchased an eifel tower watch from the link you had here.

    in italia i used the bus/tram/train/metro system every day. so efficient and so easy.

    have a wonderful afternoon.


  40. I DEFINITELY prefer le metro dans Paris! But, I bus it in my town because I live outside of Paris... I like to walk to the gare and then hop on the RER B to get to Paris... and once I'm there... I metro it all the way, or walk... Don't like buses because of the "stop and go" motion. PLUS, I love to be in the metro... and it's much faster!

  41. Anonymous6:32 PM

    A few tips on the PARIS BUS SYSTEM:
    I just want to encourage you to try it. It's actually wonderful, less stressful, and very visual. It was a bit scary for me as well, but after a few tries I found it less hectic and more friendly. The most important and helpful thing was to have a Paris Plan Des Lignes Map.
    When I first tried to use the bus system, I had difficulty reading the tiny print on the small maps.... ugh.
    Pick up one of those large (grande) print maps free at any Metro ticket window.
    Be sure you get the large size map.
    On one side you'll find the Metro, RER, Tram maps (and the Noctillen map too). On the other side you'll find the Paris Bus map.
    Finally, I could actually see routes and numbers, hooray!!

  42. Anonymous6:36 PM

    Secondly, I could't quite figure out which side of the street (or corner) I should be on to catch the bus going in the direction I wanted.
    After a few mistakes (which can be a very enjoyable adventure in itself), I realized the bus shelters/stops have maps displayed by Bus #, either in the shelter area or on a post where the bus stops.
    Many stops have multiple bus lines so know which bus# you want to catch.
    Look for the electronic display in the shelter or on the post that tells how long a wait before the next bus arrives.

  43. Anonymous6:47 PM

    3rdly, once on the bus, there's an electronic reader board placed near the ceiling and another in the front, which will indicate the next stop.
    The bus stops every few blocks it's not hard to walk back to your stop if you missed getting off.
    The bus can be a "poor man's" tour.
    There are a few lines that take you by all the great sites of Paris for the price of a metro ticket (Bus #21, #92, #82, #38 #85)
    *Take a YELLOW highlighter pen and highlight the Bus #'s and the routes so it's easy to spot when you are on the go.
    The Bus system has it's hubs where many lines converge-
    Gare St. Lazare, Opera, Gare du Nord, de l'Est, Chatelet, Luxembourg/Pantheon, St. Germain des Pres, Montparnasse, Gare de Lyon/d'Austerlitz, Hotel de Ville, Bastille Give the bus a try and tell us all about your adventures.
    Love.. Karen

  44. I love those watches. I would wear them all the way up my arm - one of each.


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