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The 69 Bus – See All the Top Sights in Paris!

69 Bus -- Tour Idea for Paris

Take the 69 bus route through the heart of Paris

 

The 69 Bus Route Paris -- beat way to see Paris!

 

There are so many advantages to taking the public buses in Paris, and it’s one of our favorite “Live like a Parisian” tips that we like sharing with our guests. While the Métro is a convenient and fast way to move around Paris, the buses are also a fabulous way to see the city. Many guests write to thank us for including all the local bus connections and information in our Paris Guide that we share when you book a Paris Perfect vacation rental. They tell us stories about their stay in Paris and how much they enjoyed discovering Paris on the bus. Indeed, why ride underground when you can enjoy the breathtaking beauty of Paris at every turn?

Not long ago we wrote about the 42 bus, one of the best sightseeing buses in Paris, which runs from the Gare du Nord to the Champ de Mars gardens and Eiffel Tower. Today we’re sharing with you another excellent bus for seeing the top sights – the 69 bus route in Paris. This line crisscrosses one of our favorite neighborhoods in the 7th arrondissement and connects it with the Musée d’Orsay, the 6th arrondissement and Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Notre Dame, the Louvre Museum, the Marais, the famous Père Lachaise cemetery and more.  Come along as we share some of the top sights in Paris you can see on the 69 bus route!

 

BUS 69 – SIGHTSEEING ROUTE FROM WEST TO EAST ACROSS PARIS

The 69 bus route travels an east-west route across Paris, starting at the Eiffel Tower and finishing at Père Lachaise cemetery before returning along a slightly different route. Let’s start out at the Eiffel Tower and follow the bus across Paris to see the top sights!

Eiffel Tower
Bus stop: Rapp-La Bourdonnais

We don’t mind waiting a few minutes for the bus to arrive with a view of the Eiffel Tower just across the street! If you’re staying in one of our Paris Perfect vacation rentals in the 7th arrondissement, you can catch the 69 bus right on the corner of Avenue Rapp and Ave de la Bourdonnais. It also runs all the way down Rue Saint-Dominique through the 7th, so you can easily catch it along the several stops that we highlight below.

Catch the Number 69 bus just near the Eiffel Tower

A bus stop with a view – catch the Number 69 bus just near the Eiffel Tower

Rue Saint-Dominique
Bus stops: Rapp-La Bourdonnais, Bosquet – Saint-Dominique

From the Eiffel Tower, the bus travels eastward along Rue Saint-Dominique past many of our favorite stores and eateries including the Gregory Renard chocolate store, Café Constant and La Fontaine de Mars restaurant. You’ll also find souvenir stores, pharmacies, clothing boutiques, florists, coffee shops and much more in this charming Parisian neighborhood.

Gregory Renard chocolates and macarons – 120 Rue Saint-Dominique, Paris

Dine at one of our favorite restaurants in Paris – Café Constant – 139 Rue Saint-Dominique

President Obama dined at La Fontaine de Mars! – 129 rue Saint-Dominique, Paris

 

Rue Cler Market Street
Bus stop:  Saint-Pierre du Gros Caillou

The second stop along Rue Saint-Dominique is at St. Pierre du Gros Caillou named after the church nearby. Hop off at this stop for the famous Rue Cler market street. This is our favorite food shopping spot in Paris – lined with specialty food shops, excellent cheese shops, butchers, fish shops, fruit and vegetable vendors and even supermarkets. You can find everything you need for a gourmet meal at home along Rue Cler!

Fabulous specialty food stores along the rue Cler market street

Decorate your apartment with fresh flowers from the rue Cler market street

 

Les Invalides & Pont Alexandre III
Bus stops:  La Tour Maubourg – Saint-Dominique, Esplanade des Invalides

Continue on a few more blocks, and you will see the broad green space, the Esplanade des Invalides on your right, and the golden dome of Les Invalides in the distance.  The Esplanade is frequently used for local sporting events…soccer, American football, and the French boules. Stop here to visit Les Invalides, built in the 17th century as military hospital, which is now a military museum and sumptuous final resting place of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Napoleon’s tomb lies under the golden dome of the Invalides

At the end of the Esplanade des Invalides you’ll find the gorgeous Pont Alexandre III bridge, with its ornate street lamps and the gold statues and decorations. It is often considered one of Paris’ most beautiful and dramatic bridges, and appears in the final romantic scenes of Woody Allen’s movie Midnight in Paris. Cross the Pont Alexandre III bridge to reach the glass domed Grand Palais and the Petit Palais just on the other side of the Seine.

Stunning sunset shot of the Pont Alexandre in Paris

 

Boulevard Saint-Germain
Bus stop:  Bac – Saint-Germain

The 69 bus route continues along Rue St. Dominique until merging with Boulevard Saint-Germain. Get off here for excellent shopping along Boulevard St-Germain, which you can follow just a short distance to the heart of the 6th arrondissement around Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Enjoy the high-end shopping and take a break at one of the historic literary cafés – Deux Magots, Brasserie Lipp, Café Flore.

 

Rue du Bac 
Bus stops:  Bac – Saint-Germain, Pont Royal – Quai Voltare

After a short distance on Boulevard Saint-Germain, the bus route turns left on Rue du Bac and in just a few blocks you are crossing the Seine to the Right Bank over the Pont Royal. Just near the corner of Rue du Bac and Boulevard St-Germain you’ll spot Deyrolle, one of the quirkiest and most entertaining shops in Paris! Founded in 1831, this taxidermy shop has a fascinating selection of animals of all shapes and sizes (some even dressed in clothing!) as well as displays of insects, shells, botanical prints and all kinds of curiosities. If you enjoyed the movie Midnight in Paris, one of the party scenes was filmed at Deyrolle!

Deyrolle taxidermist store – 46 rue du Bac, Paris

 

Pont Royal & Tuileries Gardens
Bus stop:  Pont Royal

Once across the Seine, the beautiful Tuileries gardens are right in front of you with the Louvre Museum on the right. The bus turns right on Quai Francois Mitterrand and continues alongside the Seine.  If you want to stroll the Tuileries gardens, get off on the first stop once you cross the Seine, which is the Pont Royal stop.

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Tuileries garden – the perfect spot to rest your feet while sightseeing!

 

The Louvre
Bus stop:  Quai Francois Mitterrand

The next sight you will pass on the left side is the incomparable Louvre, with its I.M Pei designed glass pyramid.  Exit here (stop: Quai Francois Mitterrand) to visit the Louvre, or just stroll along the Seine.

The world-famous Louvre museum at night


Pont des Arts (The “Lovers Bridge”)
Bus stop:  Pont des Arts
Continuing on past the Louvre, look to your right for the pedestrian bridge Pont des Arts, also known as “Lovers Bridge.” It has become a romantic tradition for couples to place padlocks on the bridge as a symbol of undying love. You may see locks all along the bridge, even though the city of Paris has attempted to remove the locks because some consider them to be an eyesore.

Love locks on the Pont des Arts in Paris

 

Pont Neuf, Ile de la Cité (home of Notre Dame) & Ile Saint-Louis
Bus stops:  Pont Neuf – Quai du Louvre, Chatelet, Hotel de Ville

The next bridge on your right is the Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge in Paris, which crosses the tip of Ile de la Cité. Get off the bus at one of the stops listed above to visit the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, the Conciergerie, Sainte-Chapelle and explore the Ile de la Cité and the Ile St. Louis, the two famous islands in the middle of the Seine.

Pont Neuf – The oldest bridge in Paris

Tip of the Ile de la cité island in Paris

Hop off on either of the next two stops (Chatelet or Hotel du Ville) to begin your exploration of the islands, including the iconic Notre-Dame Cathedral and the Gothic St. Chapelle with its stunning stained glass windows. Don’t miss the very moving Deportation Memorial, behind Notre-Dame, built to remember the 200,000 French men, women and children who were deported during WWII and died in Nazi concentration camps.

Notre Dame cathedral sits in the middle of the Ile de Cite

The two islands, Ile de la Cité and Ile St. Louis, are linked by a pedestrian bridge and you should definitely stroll around the Ile St. Louis as well. Stop in at Berthillon for glacé (closed Monday & Tuesday), or make reservations for a themed dinner with strollingtroubadours at Nos Ancetres les Gauloise…a bit touristy, but lots of fun, especially the do-it-yourself salad basket delivered to your table.

Berthillon ice-cream store in Paris

 

Marais & Place des Vosges
Bus Stop:  Birague

Shortly after passing Notre Dame, the bus cuts a diagonal to the left, away from the river and into the beginnings of the Marais, which is a vibrant shopping and dining neighborhood and home to several lovely parks and museums. If you exit at the Birague stop, walk north about 1 block on the Rue de Birague and you find yourself in the lovely Place des Vosges. Visit the Victor Hugo Museum in the southeast corner of the Place to see where Hugo lived when he wrote Les Misérables.

The beautiful Places des Vosges in Paris
© Paris Tourist Office – Photographer : Amélie Dupont

Then wander further north and west behind the Place into the heart of the Marais.  Best time for strolling and people watching is Sunday since many of the shops are open here (when the rest of Paris’ shops are closed). Try out the famous falafel at L’As du Falafel (the baba ganoush is outstanding!) and enjoy the quaint feeling strolling the Rue des Rosiers.

Paris Marais Street Musicians

Musicians playing in the shopping arcades of Place des Vosges on a Sunday morning


Bastile & Paris Opéra
Bus Stop:  Bastille – Rue Saint-Antoine, Bastille

The route continues along Rue St. Antoine, which has numerous nice restaurants (Petit Bofinger is also nice for lunch, with a reasonable prix fixe menu). The bus then enters the grand Place Bastille, with its soaring center column marking the former site of the famous prison. It was on this spot on July 14, 1789 that Parisians stormed the Bastille and French Revolution began. The new Paris Opera, with its modern gray glass architecture, is located just across the Place de la Bastille.

Place Bastille and Paris Opéra
© Paris Tourist Office – Photographer : David Lefranc – Architect : Carlos Ott

To your left, running north of the Place on Boulevard Richard Lenoir, you will find Marché Bastille, one of the largest outdoor markets in Paris (produce, cheese, fish, meats, poultry, kitchenwares, etc.), open Thursdays from 7am – 2:30pm and Sundays from 7am – 3pm.  Exit here as well if you want to take the cruise on Canal St. Martin. It leaves from the Port du Arsenal, between the monument and the Seine, and travels upward through the locks of old Paris.

Buy fresh fruit and veg from the Marché Bastille

 

Père Lachaise cemetery
Bus Stops:  Roquette – Père Lachaise, Gambetta

Continuing on bus 69, your route continues another 8-9 stops where it terminates at Place Gambetta and the famous Père Lachaise cemetery. This is the final resting place for famous historical figures, including Frederic Chopin, Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, Haussmann, Modigliani, Moliere, Abelard and Heloise, Sarah Bernhardt, Jim Morrison, Proust, Pissarro, Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas and thousands more. While you can get off at the stop labeled “Père Lachaise,” you may find it easier to stay on until the last stop at Gambetta and walk down the street to the side entrance.

Pere Lachaise Cemetery

Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris

 

 

BUS 69 – SIGHTSEEING ROUTE FROM EAST TO WEST ACROSS PARIS

Now returning in the opposite direction, you will need to purchase or validate another ticket for bus 69 to go back to Champs du Mar in the 7th arrondissement. The route westward is similar to the eastbound route, with a few important additions. Starting off, you’ll travel round through the Place Bastille again, along Rue St. Antoine and then continue onto Rue de Rivoli.

Hotel de Ville & Centre Georges Pompidou
Bus Stop:  Hotel de Ville

Exit at the Hotel de Ville stop to admire the architecture of the grand city hall of Paris – the Hotel de Ville. In the wintertime you can go ice skating at the Hotel de Ville while enjoying this lovely setting!

Hotel de Ville in Paris
© Paris Tourist Office – Photographer : Raymond Mesnildrey

Ice Skating in Paris at the Hotel de Ville

Winter ice skating at the Hotel de Ville in Paris

Or you can walk north on Rue de Renard about 3-4 blocks to visit the Centre Georges Pompidou modern art museum. The outdoor water sculpture alone is worth the visit. The Pompidou Center houses an extensive collection of modern art, and the building was quite controversial when it opened. Its modern, colorful design is unique in that the infrastructure is on the outside of the building.  Many Parisians wondered, “When will it be finished?” due to its scaffold-like appearance.

Pompidou Center Paris

 

Rue du Rivoli
Bus Stops:  Hotel de Ville, Chatelet, Rivoli – Pont Neuf, Louvres – Rivoli, Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre

Bus 69 travels westward along Rue de Rivoli past a myriad of shops, cafés and hotels, and then continues along the north side of the Louvre, (exit Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre to visit the museum), then turns left down Place du Carrousel to pass the beautiful glass pyramid again on your left, with the Tuileries gardens to the right, and the crosses the Seine to the Left Bank.

 

Musée d’Orsay
Bus Stops:  Musée d’Orsay

Turning right on Quai Voltaire, the 3rd stop after you cross the river is the Musée d’Orsay, which houses the largest Impressionist and Post-Impressionist collections in the world, along with sculpture, photography and decorative arts.  It is a must see!

Visiting the Musee d'Orsay in Paris

The gorgeous interior of the Musée d’Orsay in Paris

 

Rodin Museum & Napoleon’s Tomb
Bus Stops:  Bourgogne

The 69 bus winds its way back through part of St. Germain, before making a right turn on Rue de Grenelle, heading back toward Les Invalides. Exit at Bourgogne to visit the Rodin Museum and Sculpture Garden, or to visit Napoleon’s tomb under the golden dome of Les Invalides.

Explore the wonderful galleries and gardens of the Rodin Museum

Continuing on Rue de Grenelle, you have another chance to hop off at the south end Rue Cler via the stop for St. Pierre du Gros Caillou. Or you can continue on, turning right on Avenue de la Bourdonnais.  The remaining stops on the line are for the Champs du Mar and the Rapp-Bourdonnais intersection, before the last stop on the route at Avene Joseph Bouvard in the middle of the Champs du Mar gardens behind the Eiffel Tower.

Champ de Mars at the foot of the Eiffel Tower

Congratulations!  You have just seen some of the most important sights in Paris! Now that you know your way around the Paris buses, you will be pro in no time. Be sure to print out a map of the bus line to bring with you so you can find your way back home easily. Keep in mind that some of the Paris bus routes are not exactly the same both directions due to one-way streets.

 

Using the Bus in Paris

The number 69 bus is a great sightseeing route in Paris, and for the price of a single ticket (€1.90), you can ride for 90 minutes in either direction, hopping on and off as you wish. With so much to see on the 69 route, you could easily spend your whole vacation visiting the museums, churches, shops, restaurants and monuments on this line. Be sure to print out a map of the line from the RATP website and bring it with you as you travel the route.

Paris Metro and Bus Ticket

Paris buses accept the same ticket as the Metro and can be purchased from the bus driver. A “carnet,” or 10-pack of tickets, is the best value if you plan to use the public transportation system. When you get on the bus, validate your ticket in the little machine behind the driver. Always enter the bus at the front, and exit in the middle. Push the red button ahead of your stop to signal the driver to stop. Watch the map and be aware of the names of stops just before your intended stop, so you have time to collect yourself and proceed to the middle, ready to exit when the bus stops. The names of each stop are posted on the top or sides of each bus stop waiting area.

Enjoy your ride through Paris on the number 69 bus!

Please leave a comment and let us know what are your favorite stops, shops, cafés and sights along the 69 line. We’d love to hear!

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Thank you to Mary Ann Grisham for contributing this excellent blog post!

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15 Responses to “The 69 Bus – See All the Top Sights in Paris!”

  1. bonniewhitehead@hotmail.com' Bonnie Whitehead says:

    This is too funny! Last year when I was in Paris with my brother, we rode the #69, quite by accident! Along the way, we relaxed, even though we were going in the wrong direction, because we realized what a wonderful “accident” we had stumbled upon! Thank you Bus #69 for some fabulous memories, and for allowing us to see parts of Paris we had never seen before…as my borther kept saying, “It’s all new to us!”

  2. joy.searles@duke.edu' Joy says:

    Wonderful information! Thanks so much for sharing. I’ve been to most of these places but I’m always ready to return. I’ve never ridden the #69 bus…usually use the metro. The bus is a much better idea.

  3. Kathy@kathymurrayhomes.com' Kathy Murray says:

    What a fantastic and informative article on the public bus system in Paris. I never would have thought to take the bus earlier this year when visiting earlier this year. Luckily i was traveling with a witty, brilliant and well traveled friend who stated that the bus was the way to go. I was a Metro type! C’est idee excellente!! Every moment looking out the window was a filled with great Parisian views. I stayed at beautiful Paris Perfect apartment in the 6th with an amazing view the Eiffel Tower on Saint Dominique on the same street as the incomparable restaurant Cafe Constant you recommend. . Just breathtaking. What a wonderful memorable experience and a magnificent accommodation. Thanks for sharing your insight and can personally attest that the local bus can add a great dimension to anyone’s trip.

  4. ek2345@aol.com' Ellen Kaye says:

    Hello. Will a audio commentary be provided of the sites we will be passing?

  5. Laura says:

    Thanks for your comment, Ellen. No, there’s no audio commentary on the regular Paris buses. For that you’ll need to ride one of the sightseeing buses in Paris.

  6. Rhbohl@gmail.com' Roger Bohl says:

    Can we buy a 10-pack ticket on the bus?

  7. carlielnsw@hotmail.com' Carlie Lapacka says:

    Magnificant info re 69 Bus and all that for Euro 1.90!! However when I tried to print out to take with me (13 pages in all) page no.1 would not print out – such a shame. It certainly beats the expensive tourist trap bus rides. Thank you for taking the time to do this for all those who follow you to Paris – magnificant work. Thanks again Carlie

  8. Laura says:

    Hi Roger, I’m not sure if you can buy the 10 pack carnet of tickets on the bus, but you definitely can at the Metro stations. Have a wonderful time in Paris!

  9. magrisham@gmail.com' Mary Ann Grisham says:

    Hi Roger, yes, definitely you can purchase your 10-pack of bus/metro tickets from the bus driver as you enter the bus. Just ask for a carnet (car nay).

  10. […] bus route #69 (I am a transit geek after […]

  11. binodrishi@yahoo.com' binod says:

    We will be in Paris on May, 2014 arriving by Eurostar from London and would like to know if we can take nbr 42 bus from Gare du Nord to Novotel Paris Gare de Lyon where we have our hotel.- Can we Hop on with lugagge? only one medium suitcase? tks for your reply rgds Martin

  12. faia.analyst@gmail.com' Marilyn Hawken says:

    I love it. My aunt n me can travel cheap.

  13. geg903@aol.com' Grace says:

    LOVE your blogs about the Paris busses. Thanks to reading your blog on Bus 69 we used it a lot on our trip last month and it was awesome!

    Will you be doing any more bus blogs? Its hard to find such good in depth bus information and yours really rocks!

  14. Hi Grace, just saw you nice comment on the Bus 69 blog. Thank you so much, and I’m glad you found it helpful! Did you also see our blog on Bus 42? It’s a great line as well. Just go to the Blog page, and in the upper right corner search box, type: Bus 42.

    That’s a great suggestion to write more bus route blogs. I should probably do Bus 87 next. It leaves from the Champs de Mars/Eiffel Tower, and cuts through the heart of the great shopping area, Sevres Babylone, the 6th and 5th arr., St. Germain des Pres, continuing on to Bastille, Gare de Lyon, and Gare de Bercy.

    Thanks again for your kind words.
    Mary Ann

  15. pallas@threadsintime.com' Pallas says:

    My husband and I are taking our first trip to Paris, and although we will be with two other couples on this trip, we will be on our own for our first full day in the city. I had read a bit about bus #69 in a Rick Steves Paris guide, but your coverage here is so much better. I now feel confident that we will be able to navigate a wonderful day of sightseeing using bus #69. Thank you.

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