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How to Navigate the Busy Streets of Paris

I moved to Paris eight years ago and I can honestly say it took me three to four years to find my own pace living in Paris. By pace I mean the rhythm of the city and how you adapt to it, mostly, how you cope with navigating the bustling streets. At first, I felt rushed to put my ticket in the slot to take the subway. Rushed to cross the large avenues before the light turns red again and rushed to make any decision in public transportations at the risk of suffering the mighty irritation of the fast-paced Parisian people.

My point is, you might find yourself at a bit of a loss at first. I don’t feel stressed out by the city anymore because I learned a few tricks which, of course, I’ll share with you. With those tips, you’ll be able to relax while navigating the streets of the capital. Don’t worry, with these tips it won’t take you three years to master!

Tackle the subway

To enjoy your stay to the fullest, I’d recommend getting a Navigo card to use in the subway or the bus, rather than buying tickets: it’ll be less expensive AND you won’t search your pockets forever in front of the turnstile and block the way to other people (beware the mighty irritation of the Parisian people on such occasions). Upon arriving to Paris, you may first notice how fast people walk, especially in the subway. Think of it as a road – stick to the right on the escalators so that people can pass you by the left. There are people actually climbing the escalator to maximize their speed.

Metro Paris

Have you thought about the bus?

The bus is too often discarded but it doesn’t take much more time to ride the bus than the subway. If you are not afraid of being late somewhere, I strongly recommend it. The most enjoyable while riding the bus is, you can actually see the city. If you can avoid the busy hours, the bus is a wonderful way to find your bearings and get to know how you can get from one arrondissement to the other. You will then be surprised how “small” Paris is! I know I was.

Your happy feet

If you realized how small Paris is, then it means you are ready for the next level of transportation: your own feet. You would be surprised how close the subway stations actually are between each other! Crossing the streets in Paris is a sport. Mostly because most pedestrians don’t wait for the green light or the crosswalk to actually cross the street. So, this may be a shocker, but do wait for the green light and get to a crosswalk to cross the streets! This is a bad Parisian habit you don’t want to acquire.

I now enjoy the rhythm of the city without rushing even though sometimes I catch myself walking briskly. But that might just be my own rhythm. After reading this article, you should feel a bit more street smart for your next visit. With these few tips, you may now beat the street like a Parisian born!

Article written by Clémence

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