I love busing around Paris using the above ground wheeled vehicles. And I’m especially delighted when I’m on one of the Best Tourist Bus Lines. However my absolutely favorite bus line uses a “bus” that doesn’t have wheels. It’s the Batobus line, a hop-on-hop-off boat service that is both joyful and practical. The Batobus boats cruise the river Seine in the absolute heart of Paris. Here’s their route map. You can’t get closer to the main tourist sites by any other method.
Here are the names of the eight Batobus stops you can hop-on-or-off. See if any of these names ring tourist bells for you.
- Tour Eiffel
- Notre Dame
- Musée d’Orsay
- Champs Élysées
- Sainte Germain-des-Pres
- Hotel de Ville
- Jardin des Plantes
The Batobus service uses a different ticketing system from the RATP system and therefore costs “extra”. Currently their posted price for a one day unlimited pass is 16€. A two day unlimited pass is 18€. Hopefully you’ll be able to take advantage of the additional day for a mere 2€.
The Batobus route turns around at the Eiffel Tower. You’ll have a nice long unobstructed view of this iconic edifice. You can “hop off” and join the mob of visitors, or you can stay on your <<Bateau>> and disembark at one of the other “stations”.
The French word for boat is <<bateau>>. The Batobus service cleverly used the sound of the French word converted to an English phonetic spelling to come up with “Bato”. I honestly didn’t get the play-on-words until very recently partly because I was pronouncing it BATobus instead of baTObus. The “bus” part of the name has the same letters but sounds like “bews” in French (apologies to real phoneticists).
I’m frequently asked about the double-decker tourists buses. There are several competing services and I saw about half a dozen different companies during my July 2014 visit. Each service has their own pricing/ticketing system and routes. A quick survey of their prices suggests that a one day pass will run approximately 26€. You can check out the various privately run double-decker buses for yourself, but my recommendation is to use the public bus system at the street level followed by a delightful cruise on a Batobus. I’d be glad to provide you with the specific information you need to make that happen. Contact me.