Thursday, August 27, 2015

Getting around Paris

Someone told me recently they had been to Paris 30 years ago and had
 decided then that they never wanted to return.
Looking back down the stairs
I have just climbed up .....
 Perhaps they tried taking their luggage on the Metro system, because that would put anyone off. The Paris Metro is a really good system of interconnection lines with excellent signage but there are a great many stairs to climb or descend and very few aids. Sometimes there are escalators but as often as not the are out of action.  It would be a nightmare with a pram and impossible with a wheelchair. It is also impossible with heavy bags and I saw a lot of tourists struggling with luggage on my way into the center of Paris from Gare de Lyon. Some were sitting defeated half way up or down long staircases. People with heavy luggage are advised to take a bus instead of train, but you have to do a bit of research to find that out.

For the fit and unencumbered the Metro is fantastic. It is on time, regular,  fast and efficient. It connects with the bus system and lets you use the same ticket for everything. You can even get off, run an errand then get back on again. I think tickets must work for a certain amount of time but I haven't figured out what the length of time is yet.

Where there is a junction in a corridor on the way to a particular Metro line and you have to decide which option to take there are lists of stations where each of the trains will stop, so you can check you are on the right path. (Despite all this assistance I have taken the train in the wrong direction several times. I tell myself it must have something to do with being in the wrong hemisphere!)
The stations distribute very handy free  maps showing all the transport options and marking significant landmarks. It's as good as a purchased guide book for helping you get where you want to go.

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