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Driving and Public Transport

Paris - Driving and Public Transport

Most Parisians choose to take public transportation rather than drive while in the city. Parking is so expensive in Paris that many vehicle owners cannot even afford to house their cars near their homes or places of work. Most parking decks are located underground due to limited street parking access, making Paris a city built almost literally on top of a series of tunnels.

If you live in the suburbs, owning and maintaining a car is much easier than if you lived in Paris. Tolls in the periphery of Paris are expensive and traffic can be very congested and aggressive, but the roads are well maintained and the signage is clear. Plan to learn how to drive a manual car before heading to Paris, if possible, as most cars there are manual.

If you are in a position to own and operate a car in Paris, then you won't have much of a problem getting where you need to go. Driving in the city is easy. There is very little street traffic due to the limited parking, so you can expect to get from place to place with relative ease.

Paris, however, has an innovative and award-winning public transportation system centered on a series of rails. In addition to the convenient and expansive rail system, Paris also has an aggressive bus system to cover locations where there is no Metro, and a host of available Taxi cab companies to fill in the gaps. The public transportation system is so good because most Parisians choose not to walk whenever possible.

The bus system has two schedules: one for daytime and one for nighttime. The Metro system closes between 2am and 5am, depending on the day of the week. Individuals requiring transportation between those hours can take advantage of the convenient bus system, as many riders do. The Taxi queues are also packed during the late-night hours, which creates a safe and lively environment that catalyses transportation around the city.

The rails include the Metro, the RER, the SNCF and the Eurorail. Here's a breakdown of each: The Metro transports people within the city limits. There are a series of lines that intersect and reach the far corners of the city. Metro riders can purchase a daily, weekly or monthly pass. Many businesses will also purchase passes for their employees as an incentive.

The RER takes passengers into the suburban reaches of Paris, such as Saint-Germain des Pres and Versailles. Tickets are generally purchased by the day. However, if you live in the suburbs and commute daily to work in Paris-proper, then it might be advantageous to purchase a Carte d'Orange, which is a month-long pass on which you can include unlimited RER rides.

The SNCF is a heavy rail transit system that reaches all of France. From the station at la Defense, l'Etoile or Gare Saint Lazare, you can travel to just about any region or city in France that you choose. Passes are billed by destination. You can also opt to get a Carte d'Orange with an SNCF pass for a greater price. With the Carte, you will also have access to all of Paris's other public transportation systems as well.

Finally, the Eurorail reaches all of Europe and is based in the Gare on the right bank near the Louvre. Riders can purchase special passes for single trips, weeklong, month-long or unlimited rides on a variety of levels. It's best to visit the Eurorail Web site or visit the train station for more information about the many options when it comes to purchasing a Eurorail pass.

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Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.