The world of travelers is often divided between those who love the adventure of discovering public transportation in new cities and those who are a little unsure. The Paris bus and métro systems are one of the best ways to get around the city, and they're easy to navigate once you get the hang of it.
Bus 42–Best Sightseeing in Paris
While the métro is a classic Parisian experience, the bonus of Paris buses is that you can enjoy great sightseeing views along the way! The number 42 bus is one of our favorites, and here's why:
- Picks up right next door to the Eiffel Tower
- It's convenient to nearly all of our apartments in the 7th arrondissement
- You can catch the bus to/from the Eurostar train at the Gare du Nord station
- It takes you along the Champs-Élysées and to Galeries Lafayette and Printemps for fabulous shopping
- Follows a very scenic route through Paris and is much cheaper than a tourist bus
The 42 bus route begins at the Gare du Nord train station and cuts diagonally across Paris going through Place de la Opéra, past the grand Garnier Opéra, around Place de la Madeleine and Église Madeleine, through Place de la Concorde, up the lower Champs-Élysées, across the Seine on the Pont de l'Alma bridge, along the Left Bank quais of the Seine, through the Champs de Mars and around the Eiffel Tower. Come along as we share some of our favorite stops on the Paris number 42 bus!
Bus stops: Champ de Mars-Suffren, Rapp-La Bourdonnais, Montessuy, Tour Eiffel
What's not to love about a bus stop with a view of the Eiffel Tower! If you're staying near Rue Saint-Dominique in the 7th arrondissement, you'll find Bus stop “Rapp-La Bourdonnais” just near the intersection of Avenue Rapp and Avenue de la Bourdonnais. There are also several bus stops right around the Eiffel Tower. From here, jump on a bus 42 heading towards Gare du Nord for a scenic journey past some of Paris' best sights and attractions.
Pont de l'Alma & Flame of Liberty
Bus stop: Alma-Marceau
From the Eiffel Tower, the bus travels along the tree-lined Avenue de la Bourdonnais before crossing the Pont de l'Alma to the 8th arrondissement with its famous hotels, La Madeleine Church, the Arc de Triomphe, Place de la Concorde, and world class shopping along Avenue Montaigne and Champs-Élysées. Crossing over the Pont de l'Alma, try to catch a glimpse of the statue referred to as the Zouave, a soldier in the French Army. This statue has become a measuring point for Parisians to gauge the water level of the Seine. When the water level reaches the feet of the Zouave access to the Seine's embankment pathways is often closed, and if it gets all the way up to his thighs the river is no longer navigable. During the Paris flood of 1910 the water of the Seine reached the shoulders of the Zouave statue!
You might also spot the Flame of Liberty near the north end of the bridge, which is a replica of the flame on the torch carried by the Statue of Liberty in New York. Since the Pont de'Alma is near the tunnel with the same name where Princess Diana was killed in a car accident in 1997, the Flame of Liberty has since become an unofficial memorial to her memory.
Bus stops: Alma-Marceau & Montaigne-Francois 1er
Hop off the bus at either of these two stops to enjoy strolling along the Avenue Montaigne, one of the most chic shopping areas in Paris. This is one of the streets in the famous Triangle d'Or, or Golden Triangle, of Paris shopping defined by the Avenue Montaigne, Ave George V, and Rue Francois 1er. This is the home of Parisian Haute Couture shops where you can enjoy exquisite window shopping at some of the world's biggest names in fashion.
Champs-Elysees, Grand Palais & Petit Palais
Bus stops: Rond-Point Champs Elysees, Champs Elysees-Clemenceau & Concorde-Cours la Reine
From Avenue Montaigne, the bus turns down the elegant Champs-Élysées. This is a dream spot for many shoppers, and you'll find some of the most famous shops in Paris nearby. Get off at bus stop Rond-Point des Champs-Élysées or Champs-Élysées-Clemenceau to visit the Petit Palais and Grand Palais nearby.
Place de la Concorde & Tuileries Gardens
Bus Stops: Concorde-Cours la Reine & Concorde
The bus makes a tour around the huge Place de la Concorde. Get off at the bus stop for Concorde and you'll be very near the Tuileries Garden, the Louvre and shopping along the Rue de Rivoli in the 1st arrondissement .
Enjoy a stroll through the beautiful Tuileries, stop for a picnic or people watching or walk through the gardens to reach the Louvre Museum nearby.
Church of Madeleine
Bus stops: Madeleine
The number 42 bus continues from Place de la Concorde to the Place de la Madeleine where it travels past the beautiful L'église de la Madeleine. Hop off here to discover one of our favorite shopping areas in Paris from the square surrounding the church to Rue Tronchet and all the cute shopping streets nearby.
Bus stops: Opéra, Opéra-Scribe & Chaussée d'Antin
The beautiful Opéra Garnier is easy to spot from the bus with its golden statues atop the opulent facade. Stop in to tour the beautiful interior of the Opéra Garnier or enjoy the excellent shopping in the area.
There's a wonderful selection of shops around the Opéra, and you'll even find an Apple store nearby at 12 Rue Halévy, 75009 Paris, France.
Grand Magasins – Galeries Lafayette & Printemps
Bus Stops: Opéra, Opéra-Scribe & Chaussée d'Antin
Important! Get off at Opéra, Opéra-Scribe or Chaussée d'Antin to reach the department stores Galeries Lafayette and Printemps. We've had a few guests end up near Gare du Nord as the second-to-last stop on the bus route is somewhat confusingly called “La Fayette – Magenta.” This is NOT the stop for the department stores!
Galeries Lafayette and Printemps are heavenly spots for shoppers! You'll find a little bit of everything at these huge department stores. Even if you're not a shopper, do stop in Galeries Lafayette to see the beautiful Art Nouveau glass dome in the center of the store. If you are in the mood for some shopping, be sure to pick up your 10% tourist discount card at the information desk upon arrival!
Printemps also has a tourist discount card but you need to register for it online and print out the voucher before visiting the store. Head up to the fantastic rooftop café with incredible views of Paris, including the Eiffel Tower in the distance.
If you've hopped off the bus somewhere along the way, simply look for a number 42 bus in the opposite direction (towards Hopital Européen Georges Pompidou) to head back in the direction of the Eiffel Tower and 7th arrondissement.
Using the Bus in Paris
As you're out and about walking in Paris, stop by one of the bus stops and you'll find maps and schedules posted for the bus routes that pass by. You can view an interactive map of the Paris bus system on the RATP website. Simply zoom in and click on the bus line you're interested in for more details and to print out the map in advance to carry with you. To have all the bus lines in one handy little book, pick up the Paris Bus book printed by L'Indispensable. This pocket-sized book has 109 bus routes super imposed over a street map of Paris making it very easy to figure out what bus lines to look for wherever you're at in Paris, find all the stops and see the directions so you don't end up going the wrong way. You can pick up the book at many newsstands or a tabac.
To catch a bus, simply insert your ticket (use the same T+ ticket as the métro – so convenient!) in the slot machine upon entering. If you don't have a ticket, no worries, the drivers will take coins and the cost of a single ticket is about €1.90. If you're planning to use the bus and métro often during your stay in Paris, consider purchasing a carnet, or book, of 10 tickets to save some money. See all of your transport ticketing options in this blog post: Public Transportation in Paris – Everything You Need to Know!
Enjoy your ride through Paris on the number 42 bus!