I had never been to France before, so I was excited to visit Paris during my Winter Europe seminar. It was everything I expected it to be and beyond. I learned that the Eiffel Tower twinkles at the top of every hour for the first five minutes during the night time. This was a beautiful sight! I got to see the Mona Lisa, which was so magical and special for me. The crepes were amazing and everyone I came into contact with was really helpful when it came to the language barrier. Getting around the city was easy because there are so many different modes of transportation.
Walking along the Seine River while street performers played the accordion made me feel like I was in a movie! I had such a great experience in Paris! However, there was one thing that really limited and hindered my experience a bit- transportation. Based on my understanding, the underground metro and other modes of transport are usually very efficient and convenient. However, there were a few inconveniences with the metro during my time in Paris that called for problem solving and creativity.
During my time is Paris, there were a few transport strikes that were going on. The causes of the strikes are not my story to tell, so I won’t go into why the strikes happened. Instead, I’ll inform you on how to still get around efficiently in case you every experience a transport strike. I was excited to use Paris’ underground metro system because I assumed it was similar to the tube in London and the underground metro in Los Angeles, which I have both previously experienced. With this in mind, I felt confident and ready to experience the metro in Paris. Unfortunately, majority of the underground metro lines were inactive due to the transport strike. This forced me to consider other methods. Below I will introduce other fun transportation alternatives that I found useful.
This may be the most expensive alternative, but it is definitely the most convenient. If you’re staying at a hotel, which you will if you’re traveling with IBS, taxi cabs often wait outside of the more popular hotels until a customer approaches them. Cabs should have a signal on the roof that is lit green when it is available, red when it is occupied. Cab drivers may ask where you are headed to before they agree to providing you service. This is just to ensure that you’re in their desired business route. A way to cut down the cost is to travel with others. It is always a good idea to travel with buddies for safety reasons, as well as cutting down the cost for group activities such as taxi cab rides.
Lucky for us, the over ground buses did not participate in the transportation strike. They were running normally. This is a much cheaper option compared to a taxi cab. The bus ticket should be given to you by IBS. It’s included in the price of the seminar. The buses are great but they get extremely crowded! Be ready to squeeze your way onto the bus, and be on the lookout for pick pockets. Again, it is a good idea to travel in a group.
All modes of transportation popped up during the transportation strike including scooters and bikes. Bikes and scooters are often available to rent in tourist areas. I personally rode on a Lime scooter in Paris, which is an option in the more popular states of the U.S. such as New York and California. I’ve ridden Lime scooters previously in California, so I was comfortable riding them in Paris. They pick up speed pretty quickly so just beware of that. It is faster than walking and cheaper than a cab. You simply must download the Lime app and enter your debit or credit card information. The app helps you find a nearby available scooter by using your current location. It also informs you about the battery life of the nearest scooters. Once you locate a scooter, scan the QR code on the scooter handle and you’re ready to ride. It’s super fun!
You’ll definitely get your steps in while traveling. Depending on the distance of your destination, your best alternative may be walking. Walking also gives you the opportunity to take in the sights of the city. Maybe you’ll run into something outstanding our interest on your walk to dinner or lunch. Getting lost in the city can be fun! Try not to literally get lost. That’s no fun. But hey, just make the best of out the situation if you do happen to lose your way.