Paris Travel Tip #4

Tip #4 : Use your phone or camera to photograph the mundane – ie. bus route, store hours/names – to act as a cheat sheet and reference later.

Whenever you’re in a new place, it takes a little while to get your bearings. Yet, even as someone who has lived in Paris for a few years, things like bus routes still don’t come naturally to me. The bus is a great way to see Paris, as you’re always above ground and can see where you’re going and better understand how the city is connected (and it conveniently uses the same ticket as the metro system).

There are bus shelters all around, and they all have a big map of all the routes on the back side, and the time of the next arrival noted inside. However, the piece of information that is most valuable to me is the individual map route for each separate route that stops at that particular stop. The tricky thing about riding the bus in Paris is where to get on for the return trip – especially when streets are one way, where do you go to get on? In all my searching online, I’ve still never found a web equivalent of these handy individual bus route maps (pictured above). So I cheat. When I pass a bus shelter, I pull out my phone and snap a quick picture. It serves as easy reference any time. I’ll do the same to photograph mundane things like store hours, museum openings, shop spellings (to google later), or event posters in the metro. It’s brilliant too when you can’t access the internet for one reason or another.

Clearly, this travel tip can be used anywhere, not just Paris!

Don’t miss more Paris travel tips and my Paris visitor’s guide!


  • Thanks for the tip, Marchelle! I still love taking the mundane pictures to cheat. Sometimes my 3G doesn’t work, or for travelers abroad it can be a helpful way to get around lack of internet.

    Glad the maps are online though :) I still need to master the bus!


  • I can’t take the buses. I always get sick to my stomach on them and the waiting seeing people walk faster makes me get so antsy. At all costs I avoid the bus actually. I either walk or get the itinerary from RATP that is just walking, trains, or metro.

  • Great advice, but it took someone to first tell us how to interpret the information. Figuring out the bus stops takes paying attention (we noted that many of them are close to intersections.

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