Trip 38, Day 12
Our first full day in Paris (since we spent the bulk of yesterday traveling from Düsseldorf to Paris) and one of the first things we needed to do was explore the options for the changes in buying tickets for the Metro (subway system). For all of time we’ve spent traveling to and around Paris, we’ve bought carnets, “books” of ten tickets to be used in the Metro (or bus). Each ticket gave one person as many rides/connections necessary to get from your departure point to your end point as long as you don’t exit the network. While there have been/are other options for natives (there was a carte orange, then a Navigo Pass day/week/month/year and other varieties of passes), for decades, for travelers, the main option was usually buying individual tickets or carnets. I had three tickets left over from the last trip, but that would only get us both from Gare du Nord to near our hotel, once.
There are 16 Paris Metro lines, numbered from 1 to 14, plus line 3bis and line 7bis. The Metro of Paris counts 302 metro stations, 62 of them with transfers between lines. And over the decades, we moved from using paper maps to an app on an early smartphone to the multitude of navigation apps (Google & Apple Maps, CityMapper, apps published by the transit systems and other apps). But now, Paris is doing away with the paper tickets entirely and transitioning everyone to a pass and/or app. Using one of these apps to guide you between the (sometimes) multiple line changes you needed to make was a necessity; the Metro of Paris is a labyrinthine (sometimes chaotic) network of railroads, corridors, and metro stations, and it can be overwhelming.
With the transition to paperless, the Paris Metro system now has a reloadable pass for non-natives. The Navigo Easy Pass is a flexible Paris Metro card that can be loaded- “tickets”, Orly (airport) Bus tickets, Roissy (airport) Bus tickets, or a Paris Metro Day Pass. We bought ours at the FDR station on Champs Elysee. It seems to function much like London’s Oyster Card (tap to enter, reloadable).
Before walking down Champs Elysee , we’d spent a little time walking through the Tuileries, the horse chestnut trees in bloom. It’s busy as it almost always is (though weekends are another level), then proceeded to cross past Place de la Concorde (undergoing renovation) and walking down the avenue.
As mentioned, we stopped to buy the Navigo Easy pass at FDR and then had a snack before walking back down Champs Elysee because, although the ticket office was open at FDR, the lines were temporarily closed!
We used our new pass to cross over to the left bank to do some shopping at CitiPharma (seems to be a mecca for those shopping for cosmetics). It’s as crowded as it was the last time we were here. From here, it’s just a block or so to the 6th century Abbey of Saint-Germaine-des-Prés.
We dropped off the things we’d been carting around all day at the hotel before heading over to Eric Kayser, our favorite fast food restaurant.