The Paris Big Bus Tour is the gift that keeps on giving. Truth be told I love to walk and see cities on foot, but Paris is a must by bus because it makes financial sense, and it will save you a lot of time.
The Big Bus Tour in Paris
Is It Worth It
When traveling, I am a fan of taking public transportation and traveling like a local. It’s environmentally friendly and you can save money on car rental expenses.
Taking the Big Bus Tour was one of the best decisions that we made because the tourist attractions are spread apart, and you can see many more points of interest while saving time and money.
Paris is made up of 20 neighborhoods (or arrondissements) and the Big Bus Tour will travel through 7 of them.
We spent a total of 9 days and Paris and had a pretty full agenda which included lunch at the Eiffel Tower, a river cruise on the Seine, a day trip to Versailles, a classical concert at La Sainte Chapelle, trips to outdoor markets like Marche des Enfants Rouges, visiting the rooftop of the Arc de Triumph, souvenir shopping, Sacre Coeur, the Louvre Museum, the Champs Elysees, the Catacombs, Rue de Cler, Pont Alexandre, a croissant making class with a Parisien chef, Ile de la Cite, Berthillon, and more. We also ventured out to see Paris at night and the views were stunning!
How Long is the Big Bus Tour in Paris
The Red Route is the main tour, and it takes about two hours to see everything if you don’t exit the bus. We stayed on the bus from start to finish to get an idea of places that we wanted to visit on foot.
How Much is the Big Bus Tour in Paris
The ticket fee will vary based on the number of days that you want to join the tour bus. I recommend the combination ticket where you can see the points of interest for the Big Bus, and take a cruise on the river Seine.
It is possible to do both the tour and the cruise in one day. If you join the tour and finish by 5 PM, you can then join the cruise on the river and catch the sunset depending on the time of year that you go.
Check for tickets on the Paris Big Bus Tour here.
Are There Toilets on the Big Bus
Sorry, but no matter what the city it is very likely that you won’t find any restrooms. However, you can ask the driver or attendants on the bus to guide you. The wonderful thing about Paris is there are public restrooms available for just a euro.
When is the Best Time to Visit Paris
We went on the bus tour at the end of March for Spring break. The weather was a bit chilly and in the high 50s to low 60s. It was sunny, but not incredibly warm.
The prime months are April, May, September, and October when highs reach a comfortable 60-70°F (15-21°C).
Big Bus Tour Review
We purchased our tickets online using a smartphone after touring Notre Dame. Because the cathedral was one of the tour stops, we thought we were close, but the stop was a 7-minute walk away.
To add, the area was congested, and the instructions were confusing. After calling the tour company, we found the stop heading west but then learned that the bus stop was across the street and coming from the south direction.
Fortunately, we caught it in time and were able to get nice seats on the upper deck.
It was a sunny, cool day and one would think would be an excellent opportunity for photos. The problem for me is that I don’t have great photography skills and I was using my smartphone.
When we got to a landmark or icon, it was difficult to take a good shot due to the speed at which the bus traveled, bumps in the road, construction equipment, or overgrown trees, not to mention the hands, heads, and cameras of other passengers.
On our tour there were two routes in operation, the red route, and another color (which may no longer be available). The red route took about two hours to see everything. Then we had to exit the bus at the last stop to catch another bus that went into other neighborhoods.
The most interesting point on the second route was The Moulin Rouge. Otherwise, the sights were non-eventful, so we caught up on rest and napped on the lower level during the ride.
Overall, it was time well spent. And since we planned activities at a few of the attractions we had the chance to make up for bad photos taken on the bus.
Where to Catch the Big Bus Tour in Paris
There are 10 stops on the red route and the buses will arrive in frequent intervals. During peak visiting months, like spring to summer, you can expect longer waits and slim pickings for a good seat.
1 – Louvre Pyramide / Big Bus Information Centre (11 avenue de l’Opéra)
2 – Louvre at Pont des Arts (2 rue de l’Amiral de Coligny)
3 – Notre Dame ( 3, Rue Lagrange (outside souvenir shop, opposite park entrance)
4 – Musée d’Orsay (58 Place Henry de Montherlant, facing the museum)
5 – Champs-Elysées (156, avenue des Champs-Elysées, facing the Arc de Triomphe)
6 – Grand Palais (Avenue Winston Churchill, facing Grand Palais and Petit Palais)
7 – Trocadéro (Avenue Paul Doumer, next to the Musée de l’Homme)
8- Tour Eiffel (Quai Branly, Entrée 2 Tour Eiffel, at the north pillar of the Eiffel Tower)
9 – Champ de Mars (Avenue Joseph Bouvard)
10 – Opéra Garnier (Facing 15 rue Scribe, next to the Roissy airport shuttle bus stop)
Things to Know Before You Go
- The tour is pre-recorded and the audio narratives can be heard in English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, Brazilian Portuguese, Mandarin, and Korean.
- Be mindful of potential traffic delays, especially during peak hours so that you can plan your tour for off-peak times to avoid congestion.
- Be aware of any events that may alter the experience (rallies, protests, huge sports competitions).
I can’t emphasize the awareness of events enough. There was an enormous parade outside our hotel on one trip, and protests that caused the Champs Elysee to be boarded up during another trip.
Final Thoughts on the Paris Big Bus Tour
Overall, it was a pretty fun girls’ trip but the last thing I wanted to do was spend most of our time and money riding the subway all over Paris.
The Big Bus is a no-brainer if you want to see the best of Paris without wearing yourself out.
As a US citizen, I try to make the most of my visits to Europe.
The more countries I visit, the more I am convinced that I’ve made the best use of a 10-hour flight.