Sometimes it feels right to do touristy things in Paris. If it's your first time to Paris… heck, even if it's your 10th time to Paris, an open air bus tour will give you a sense of discovery, of freedom, and even of exhilaration. Under the open skies, with the breeze in your hair, you take in the monuments, landmarks, and streetscapes of the city. It's one of the best ways to get a quick overview of Paris.
Luckily, there are a few options available. The first one is the hop-on-hop-off open air bus tour included in the Paris Pass. The second one option is to book just the hop-on-off bus tour as a standalone. The third option is to combine the open-air buss pass with another activity like a skip-the-line tour of the Eiffel Tower. Let's look at each choice.
One of the bus services has nine stops in a giant loop around Paris. The other service has about two dozen stops on four different loops, and this is the one we like best. As the name implies, you can hop off at any of the stops, then explore the area before hopping back on again. No questions asked, no transfers needed.
The way we like to use the bus pass is to hop off at each of the 9 stops and spend some time walking around and digging deeper in the quartier before making our way back to the bus stop and hopping back on. The next bus rolls around often, so there's not much waiting. Without the pass the one-day bus pass alone costs about 30€.
What you'll learn is that Paris is a compact city. An open-air bus tour gives you practically an aerial view and you can see how the city is connected by their river, the museums, and the landmarks. And with the Paris Pass you can hop-off the bus at you a museum and then stroll inside for free and without waiting in line.
In the summer months, the open air buses arrive every ten minutes. In the winter, every 15 minutes. Children under 4 ride for free. The open air buses run from 9:30 AM to 8:00 PM. There is an included audio guide in many languages and headset.
Among the things we like about the Paris Pass are all the extras, like the hop-on, hop-off open bus tour that comes with the pass.
Along with the hop-on bus tour and free entry at most museums and monuments, the Paris Pass also lets you ride for free on all the public transportation — the Metro, RER, city buses, and even the Montmartre Funicular. Use our exclusive Paris Pass discount code to save an additional 10%.
If you just want to ride an open-air bus, you can buy a standalone pass for Paris l'Open Tour, good for one day, two days, or three consecutive days. You can hop on and off the bus as many times as you like. This bus option includes four routes, all interconnected for easy access., with many stops on each route. Your ticket is valid on all routes. An audioguide and headset are included.
Unlike the Paris Pass, l'OpenTour Paris passes do not include free access to museums or unlimited rides on the Metro. Children under four ride for free. The day pass is not actually valid for 24 hours, it's good until the end of service on the day you start using it.
This may be the ultimate hop-on bus option since it also includes a skip-the-lines Eiffel Tower tour. You know us, right? We hate standing in lines and will do anything to avoid it. Getting past the 2- or 3-hour lineups at the Eiffel Tower was our ultimate escapade! Now, with this new activity, you can combine that priority access tour with a one-day open-air bus pass.
1. THE EIFFEL TOWER
Known as the Iron Lady, La Dame de Fer, the Eiffel Tower is the enduring symbol of Paris and one of the most popular destinations. Hop off and explore the area. Wander along the Seine river, grab a crepe at one of the outdoor stands or an ice cream before continuing on your bus journey.
2. CHAMPS DE MARS
It's hard to believe that the magnificent sixty acres of green space that surround the Eiffel Tower was once a vast garden during the 17th century. Today, it's a perfect place to watch sun worshipers, soccer players and locals soak up the sun and enjoy the park. Looming larger than life over the park is the Eiffel Tower.
3. LOUVRE MUSEUM
It's the biggest & busiest museum in the world. The good news is that with your Paris Pass, you have fast-track entrance. And if you're not in the mood for the museum, you can wander through the courtyards of the Louvre and the Jardin des Tuileries.
4. NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL
Hop back on and ride to Ile de la Cite, one of two islands of Paris. The 850-year-old cathedral stands majestically surrounded by a park, cafes, and cobblestone streets. Head inside the cathedral or walk to the side entrance with your Paris Pass fast track access to climb the 387 stairs to the bell tower for spectacular views of Paris and the gargoyles.
5. MUSEE D'ORSAY
Your next stop is the fabulous museum that is home to the Impressionist painters and other artworks created between 1848 to 1915. Formerly a train station, it was transformed into a modern museum in 1986. From the clock tower patio on the 5th floor you can almost touch the Louvre Museum across the river.
6. PALAIS GARNIER OPERA HOUSE
You now move from the Impressionist art museum to the glittering opera house. You'll be amazed at the perfection of the 19th-century Palais Garnier. The building stands proudly, taking its prominent place in the Opera district. With your Paris Pass, you're allowed inside to take in the glorious chandeliers, mirrors, and sweeping staircases
7. CHAMPS ELYSÉES – ÉTOILE – ARC DE TRIOMPHE
Less than two miles long, the avenue of Champs Elysees is still a significant stretch of land. After all, this is where Charles de Gaulle marched after the liberation of Paris. Today it's a famous shopping street and home to the top international and French brands like Louis Vuitton. Use your Paris Pass to climb to the top of the Arc.
8. GRAND PALAIS
The stunning Beaux Arts building links the Right Bank to the Left Bank at the Pont Alexandre III, the most ornate bridge in Paris. Across the street from the Grand Palais is its little sister, the Petit Palais.
First-time visitors to Paris might not realize that this is the best place to view the Eiffel Tower. From across the river you have a clear view of the Tower and the Champs de Mars. It's an easy walk to cross over and go directly under its magnificence.
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1. LIGNE VERTE – THE GREEN LINE
This route takes 2 hours. Buses departs every 10 to 30 minutes. Highlights include —
2. LIGNE JAUNE – THE YELLOW LINE
This route takes one hour. Buses departs every 30 minutes. Highlights include —
3. LIGNE BLEUE – THE BLUE LINE
This route takes one hour. every 15 to 20 minutes. Highlights include —
4. LIGNE ORANGE – THE ORANGE LINE
This route takes one hour. every 15 to 20 minutes. Highlights include —
What to Do in Paris While You're There
• Skip-the-Line Museum Tours…
• Open-Air Bus Tours…
• Ballet at Palais Garnier…
• Paris for Kids…
• First-Timers Guide to Paris…
• Paris Honeymoon Planning…
• Paris Department Stores…
• Monthly Activity Calendar…
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