A Guide To Riding the Bus in Paris (How, Tickets, & More!)

View of a bus in Paris
Bus in Paris

Riding the bus in Paris is a great way to get from one place in the city to another. In this guide, you can find all you need to know if you want to get around the city by bus.

I’ll give some general information about the bus, and after that, I’ll explain how to ride the bus, including how to get tickets and how to know which bus you need to ride to get to your destination. After that, I’ll explain when it’s more convenient to get around by metro instead of bus, and I’ll give information about buses in the evening and on Sundays. This guide ends with information about airport buses and some extra tips for getting around Paris by bus.

General Information About the Bus in Paris

Bus on a road in front of the Eiffel Tower
Bus in front of the Eiffel Tower

The bus is one of the best ways to get around in the city of Paris. You can find bus stops throughout the city, and in total there are close to 10,000 buses in the whole Paris region.

Moreover, the bus network consists of more than 300 different lines and there are more than 10,000 stops.

Each day, approximately 3 million people in Paris travel by bus.

How To Ride the Bus in Paris


Navigo card
View of a Navigo card

There are different types of tickets that you can use to ride on a bus.

There are paper tickets, tickets that you load on a Navigo travel card, tickets that you load to your phone, and SMS tickets.

Each ticket, which is called a t+ ticket, can be used for a single, one-way trip for a maximum of 90 minutes. With a ticket, you can transfer to another bus as many times as you like. These tickets are the same tickets that you can use for the metro, RER network, the trams, and the funicular of Montmartre.

Keep in mind that you cannot make a transfer from a bus to a metro and vice versa.

You can buy a paper ticket at every metro station in the city from a ticketing machine or at the ticket counter of the metro station. You can also get the paper tickets from a RATP sales point somewhere in the city. Such a sales point is often another shop that also sells RATP tickets. You can recognize a RATP sales point by a blue sign on the outside of the shop.

Instead of using a paper ticket, you can also use a Navigo pass or your phone. These tickets work the same as the paper ticket.

You can download the Bonjour RATP app if you want to use your phone for the tickets, or you can buy a Navigo Easy pass for 2 euros. The Navigot Easy pass can be purchased at a counter in a metro station or at a RATP sales point.

The Navigo Easy pass can be loaded at a ticket machine in a metro station or by using the Bonjour RATP app.

If you have a local mobile number, it is also possible to get a ticket using SMS.

Riding the Bus

View of a bus stop in Paris
Bus stop in Paris

When you want to ride the bus in Paris, you have to go to a bus stop. Most bus stops look like the one in the picture next to this. It has a roof and on the pole, you can see which bus numbers stop at the bus stop with underneath the number of minutes before the first bus of that line will arrive at this bus stop.

At each bus stop, there’s also a map and usually, there’s a display where you can get more information about the next buses.

Keep in mind that sometimes there are two bus stops next to each other when lots of different lines use the same bus stop. Make sure to wait for the bus at the bus stop with the correct number!

Some bus stops are much smaller and only have a small sign with the numbers of the buses on it. Some of these have a display that shows when the next buses will arrive, while others don’t. In that case, you can use the analog timetable at the bus stop, or you can use Google Maps or the Bonjour RATP app.

When you want the bus to stop, you can raise your hand, such that the bus driver knows you want to get in.

You may enter most buses through the front door, although sometimes when it is a longer bus, you may enter through another door.

Scanner in a bus
Scanner in a bus in Paris

The way that you check in depends on the type of ticket you have. When you use a paper ticket, you need to insert your ticket into a machine close to the door to get it validated.

When you use a Navigo pass or your phone, you have to tap it against a purple scanner next to the door.

When you want to get out, you need to press a stop button inside the bus.

How to Know Where You Need To Go?

Digital display
Display at a bus stop

Finding out which bus you need to ride to get to your destination is easy to do if you use your phone.

You can use Google Maps or the Bonjour RATP app. Both apps allow you to enter your departure address and the address of the place that you want to go to and then will show you the bus or buses that you need to ride to get there.

For a longer route, Google Maps usually shows you the fastest route. Do you prefer to only travel by bus? Then, you can enter your preferences in the app while finding a route.

When you use the Bonjour RATP you can get the most up-to-date information about cancellations of buses and the exact time that the bus will arrive at the bus stop that you are leaving from.

Keep in mind that sometimes a bus with the same number doesn’t ride all the way to the end of the line, but instead, it stops at an earlier stop. You can see this on the front of the bus.

When something is not clear, you can always ask the driver for information.

Also, sometimes the bus will ride a different route because of roadwork. Apps like Google Maps often show the regular route, instead of the changed route, so it may seem the bus is driving the wrong way. Sometimes, the bus doesn’t stop at some of the bus stops because of this. Again, you can ask the driver for information about this.

Because the route can be different from the planned route, a bus trip can take a longer time than indicated in navigation apps, so keep this in mind when you need to be somewhere on time!

When To Travel by Bus Instead of Metro

Green seat
Seat in a bus

When you want to get around in the city, you can usually choose between the metro and the bus. Often, getting around by metro in Paris is the most convenient method, as it is faster, runs more frequently, and isn’t delayed by traffic.

You might want to choose to ride the bus if you don’t like to be underground.

Also, when you ride the bus, you can see more of the city, which can be fun.

Sometimes, there is a direct bus connection while there isn’t a direct metro connection. An example of when this is the case is when you want to go from one spot next to the Seine to another spot next to the Seine. In that case, you can ride bus 72.

Also, it can take a lot of time to enter a metro station and walk through the station to the platform. Especially when you need to travel a short distance, waiting for the bus can take less time.

Buses in the Evening and on Sundays

Keep in mind that there are different buses when you want to travel at night. When you travel at night, you can make use of the Noctilien night bus network.

The buses still run, and you can comfortably get around Paris by bus, but the buses run less frequently and there are different routes.

To ride a night bus, you can use the same tickets, but you cannot use the same ticket to transfer buses. Each time you ride a new night bus, you’ll need a different ticket.

You can use the Bonjour RATP app or Google Maps to find out which bus you need to ride.

On Sundays, many bus lines run less frequently, so keep that in mind when planning a trip.

Airport Buses

Bus to get to the airport
Bus to get to the airport in Paris

You can reach the two major airports of Paris, Charles de Gaulle Airport and Orly Airport by bus.

For these buses, you need a specific ticket which you can get at the bus stops of the airport buses. There are easy-to-use ticket machines next to the bus stops. These tickets are more expensive than regular bus tickets.

To get to Charles de Gaulle Airport, you can ride the RoissyBus (shown in the picture next to this text). This bus provides a direct connection from Paris-Opéra to the airport. It takes about 60 minutes to get to the airport.

To get to Orly Airport, you can ride the OrlyBus. This bus provides a direct connection from Place Denfert-Rochereau to the airport, which takes about 30 minutes.

Other Paris Travel Guides

Covered passages in Paris

Famous streets in Paris

One day in Montmartre

Shopping streets in Paris

Additional Tips For Getting Around Paris by Bus

Street in Paris
Bus on a street in Paris

Some events that take place in the city can affect the bus route. For example, when there is an event on the Champs-Élysées, such as the Tour de France cycling race, bus lines that usually ride through or across the street, will change their route. So keep that in mind when planning a trip! You might want to use the metro instead.

While riding the bus, make sure to push the stop button before the bus stop where you want to get out. The bus doesn’t stop when nobody is waiting at the bus stop and when no one has pressed the button.

I hope this guide helped you understand how to ride the bus in Paris. Thanks for reading it!