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Six ways to get around Paris without the Metro

The Paris Metro inspires much love and a fair bit of hatred among its users, but while it is undeniably useful it is also perfectly possible to get around Paris without using it at all.

Six ways to get around Paris without the Metro
Photo: AFP/French Marine Nationale

Whether you want to avoid crowded carriages for health reasons or whether one of the periodic strikes has halted services, here are the six best ways to get around Paris without using public transport.


It sounds obvious but Paris really is a walking city and the map below shows just how close Metro stations are to each other. As capital cities go Paris is amazingly compact at only 10km wide. It’s also – famously – a rather beautiful city and walking gives you the opportunity to sight-see as you go.

If you need to go from north to south or east to west to the outer reaches then that would take you about two and a half hours, but if you usually take the Metro for just a few stops then it’s much the easiest.

The map below, created by Guillaume Martinetti shows the walking distances between Paris Metro stations, some of which are as little as three to four minutes for stops on the same line.

If you fancy a slightly longer stroll, French newspaper Le Parisien has created this very handy map of all the areas you can cover in a walking time of one hour.



For anyone who doesn’t have their own bike there is always the option of using the Vélib’ bike-share service.

A one-day pass is available meaning it will be free for the first 30 minutes, €1 for the next 30 minutes and the €1.30 per minute for anything above 60 minutes.

There are around 1,300 Vélib’ docking stations in Paris and there are thousands of electric Vélib’ to cater for those who don’t want to arrive at work perspiring.

And there are also other bike operators in Paris like Uber which has rolled out its bright red Jump bikes around the city. 

There has been a lot of work recently on creating new bike lanes around Paris, including an ‘RER Velo’ network leading from the suburbs into the city centre, so getting around by bike is getting easier.

Electric scooters

As you might have read or likely seen, there are thousands of electric scooters on the streets of Paris belonging numerous operators including Uber.

An estimated 20,000 scooters operated by several companies have flooded the French capital since their introduction last year, a number projected to surge to 40,000 by the end of this year.

In general these are recommended if you need to cover distances of around 3km, so not if you need to cross the city because that might leave a hole in your wallet given the rates can be quite high.

One thing you’ll need to note is the rules for being on an electric scooter in Paris. While you don’t need to wear a helmet you’ll face a fine if you get caught riding on the pavement.

And after accidents involving pedestrians, Mayor Anne Hidalgo also ordered the operators to cut the speed of the scooters to 20km/h and banned them from being left on pavements.

READ ALSO: How to avoid falling foul of the new rules on electric scooters

In the crippling transport strike of 1995 Paris authorities laid on free river shuttle services to help people get to and from work. Photo: AFP


Paris has a fleet of official Paris taxis – which must operate a fixed rate for trips to and from the airport – and also several VTC firms like Uber.

The VTCs prices change according to demand, so on strike days when there are lots of people using them this could represent a very expensive option.

There may be certain unscrupulous Paris taxi drivers (unfortunately there are a few) who might try to take advantage of the demand and trick customers into paying more. Read the article below just in case.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about taking a taxi in Paris

Electric mopeds

If you need to travel a little further and quicker then you could sign up to “Cityscoot”, which has 3,800 electric mopeds on the streets of Paris and numerous surrounding suburbs.

They work in the same way as electric scooters in that you need to locate them and then can leave them wherever you want (apart from on pavements of course). You pay for however long you are using the scooter, but the service generally has a good reputation among users.

Just download the “Cityscoot” app. Cityscoot’s rival Coup has around 1, 700 scooters and operates under a similar system. 


Given the amount of roadworks in Paris we wouldn’t particularly recommend driving in Paris. This is also a problem on the outskirts of the city as people try to commute in from the suburbs. The most traditionally congested roads in Ile-de-France are, in particular, the N118 at Vélizy-Villacoublay (Yvelines), parts of the A86 and the ring road, or the A1, A3, A4 and A6 motorways as they approach Paris.

Nevertheless there are options if you really think it’s the only option.

You can rent electric cars with operators such as Free2Move, Moov’in Paris and Car2Go which have cars parked around Paris that you just need to leave in marked parking spaces once you have finished the journey (so not on the pavements). If you are coming in from outside Paris then Drivy or OuiCar rental services might be better. 

And don’t forget covoiturage (carsharing) services like Klaxit or BlaBlaLines – part of national service BlaBlaCar that specialises in commuter trips.

And if you do make it into the city and have trouble finding a parking space, apps like Zenpark, OnePark, Yespark, oPnGo or Parking Map can help.

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French customs officers strike over job cuts

Customs officers across France will walk out on Thursday in protest at job cuts that unions say will “weaken the customs network”.

French customs officers strike over job cuts

The national strike on Thursday, March 10th is expected to lead to delays at ports, airports and on the Eurostar.

The strike, which will include a rally outside the National Assembly building in Paris, was called by the CFDT-Douane and has the support of other unions. 

A work-to-rule protest over pay and conditions by customs officers in 2019, under the shadow of Brexit, led to delays and disruption at airports, as well as ports including Calais and Dunkirk, and on Eurostar trains.

Unions are calling on the government to axe plans to switch responsibility for import duty collection to the Direction Générale des Finances Publiques by 2024, at the cost of 700 customs’ officer jobs – and, according to strikers, tens of billions of euros to State coffers.

“We are asking for the reforms to be stopped, mainly that of the transfer of taxation, which is disorganising the network with the elimination of nearly a thousand jobs,” CFDT-Douane’s secretary general David-Olivier Caron said.

The planned job cuts come after years of restructuring and streamlining that has seen thousands of positions disappear, the unions say, when customs fraud and smuggling is rising because of a lack of resources.