Wednesday, March 10, 2010

French Transportation

Today, we visited the Forney Museum of Transportation in Denver. It got me thinking about putting together a plan for when we visit France. What type of transportation will we use in Paris, Alsace, Burgundy, Provence, Monaco?

My first choice in Paris will be walking. Raised in NYC, I am used to walking from the Village to Midtown, across the bridge into Queens, an not even break a sweat. Why? When there is visual stimulation, the walk seems to go by in a flash.

In Denver....I drive my car to the mailbox! Why? There is nothing to look at on suburban streets. I envision Paris to be a lot like NYC.

My second choice, well, this Quad Bicycle would be a great start for a big family. According to my travel books (Great Sleeps Paris, Rick Steve's France, and Fodor's France) Fat Tire Bike Tours is highly recommended for a tour around Paris....and it comes with an English speaking guide to boot. They even offer day trips to Normandy and Monet's Giverny, which are both on my itinerary.

My third plan, Taxi Cabs. I never quite acquired my NY whistle, but I can hustle for one. I have no fear of running down a cab driving 80 mph on busy streets. Apparently, in Paris, cabs have to stop for you if their "taxi Parisien" light is on....similar to the Big Apple. A glowing orange light means go catch the bus.

However, being a family of five, we will be in need of the grand taxi. Our hotel will make those arrangements.

We will of course ride the Metro, on a daily basis, I am certain. "With 370 stations, the Paris metro system is one of the most efficient in the world." (Great Sleeps Paris)

(Forgive the flash in this photo.)

Once we part with Paris and head for the countryside, we are boarding the train. One can purchase a France Rail Pass which allows three days of unlimited train travel in one month.
Upon arrival in Alsace or Bordeaux, we need a savvy little French car to explore the hidden villages and countryside. Hmmmm, this one might be a tad small, but it's electric!

Car rentals can get quite spendy and the gas even spendier. However, it is unavoidable, since we desire the full experience of France. I want to drive on the wrong side of the car going at high speeds. I need to practice my French road rage. I haven't learned any "potty words" yet...I wonder if they offer a one day class just for that?

If the weather permits, and we want to show off our lovely locks flowing in the wind along the Nice boardwalk, I think this Harley Davidson would do....don't you?

Having a plan will give us a sense of stability and a good grasp on our budget, prior to arrival. I don't know what I would do without invaluable travel guides and my generous Parisian blogger friends who are so willing to help.

Other pertinent info:
Airport Taxis

Les Taxis Bleus 08-91-70-10-10

SNCF (French national train system)

The Paris Gare de l’Est station
now provides transportation to major cities in Central Europe such as Zurich, Switzerland; Munich, Germany and Vienna, Austria.
Address: Place du 11 novembre 1918 75010 Paris

Gare de Lyon:
Trains to/from the southeast of France, The Alps, Provence, and Italy
Address: 20 boulevard Diderot, 75012 Paris

RATP for bus routes and info. click on the link or you can call 08-92-69-32-46 for information in English


vicki archer said...

Sounds like you have it all favourite way to see things is on foot, always the best. Have a wonderful weekend, xv.

Leo @ cupcakes in Paris said...

Wow, you are set! You only need a plane ticket to get here and you'll find your way around like no other american tourist! I agree with Vicky, the best way to visit Paris is by foot! Walking down the narrow streets of the Marais is one of my favorite things to do on a summer day!
You'll have so much fun when you come!

Karin (an alien parisienne) said...

I love that RATP site and use it all the time.

I have the BEST memories of going to the Forney Museum on field trips as a kid! I have not been there in *years*. Is it still in the Lodo location near REI?

Something I have not yet tried but hear is a fun way to get around in Paris to see stuff is the public bus. The one thing I don't like about the Métro is that it is underground for many of the lines. It's hard to get a sense of the layout of the city while on it. I have heard the bus remedies this, but I have not tried it yet as the Métro is just so darn convenient. Walking is great, but I have to say I have enjoyed those times I have been able to ride in a friend's car or in a taxi, too, as I get a broader sense of how things connect in Paris.

Thank you so much for your wonderful comment on my blog. I am about to leave you a long reply back, so check back there in a bit, eh?

Hope you had a good weekend.

(an alien parisienne)