Why I don’t rent a car while in Paris

When I am in Paris, I usually travel alone. These days I tag along on my husband’s business trips to Paris. During the day while he is working, I spend my time happily taking photographs and visiting my favorite spots. Sometimes I catch up with my fellow artists, or I do some volunteer work for a museum chum. I also like to check in with my favorite galleries.

A few times I’ve had to “babysit” a spouse of a coworker of my husband. My husband will beg me saying “She doesn’t know any French, and has never been to France. She’s nervous about being alone, please just for one day!” The reason he has to beg is that I’ve learned from experience this will probably not be much fun.

If the coworker’s wife (and one time a husband) is new to Paris they will have expectations. We will go visit the Eiffel Tower. I don’t mind, but this often means standing in line. I will point out that the steps (that do not lead to the very top) have a very short line. I understand they wish to wait in the much longer line for the elevator to the top (or rather two elevators). They may also wish to go to the Louvre. Long line again. I can usually convince the person I am babysitting the D’Orsay is a good alternative. Smaller line and lots of easily recognizable paintings. Number one comment about Whistler’s Mother “It’s much bigger than it looks in books.” (or “on TV” or “In that Mr.Bean movie”)

The one thing I will not compromise on, though, is travelling by the metro. More than one spouse has insisted “I don’t take the subway, we need to get a taxi”. I point out if we wanted to sit in traffic and not move for hours (much like standing in line for hours) we could indeed pay for an expensive taxi. However, since the person has expressed an interest in seeing something the Metro is the way to go. Indeed, the Metro, with the themed stops, is an important part of the Parisian experience.

The safe fun and less stressful way to travel.
It’s part of the Parisian experience.

One spouse was not happy with just asking for a taxi. She wanted to know why I had not rented a car. I assured her I could rent a car to drive around Paris, but we would never be able to leave it. That is because finding parking in Paris is almost impossible. I write “almost” because indeed sometimes people do find parking.

If this is the best a Smartcar can do…
I’ll stick to the metro

That will buff out…

perfectly legal

Another form of transportation I rarely use, but enjoy when I do, is the bicycle. Paris has a fabulous system of inexpensive bicycles you can rent. You simply swipe your credit card, the bike unlocks, and you drop it off at any one of the many bike rental areas spread across the city. They are very popular, however I only rent and ride on Sundays.

Sundays, part of the road near the river Seine is closed off and open only to bikers, roller bladers and pedestrians. Probably some of the happiest days of my life have been spent biking along the Seine with my husband on a Spring day.

Fun when not riding in traffic
a helmet is not chic, so no one wears one

Cheeseburger, fries and a bike! Only in Paris!

I have never even considered renting a bike to ride around the streets of Paris that are open to cars, trucks, buses, taxis, motorcycles and other bikers. My feet and the Metro are the best way to see Paris quickly and most of all safely.

Categories: Travel, Uncategorized

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5 replies

  1. Absolutely agree. Paris is an extremely walkable city and in fact, that is really how you can get to know Paris intimately instead of catching cabs. One of my other favourites bits of Paris is the Rodin sculpture gardens – no crowds, beautiful setting, amazing art. Tick tick and tick!

  2. Reblogged this on filmcamera999 and commented:
    ..renting a car in paris would be a no-no for me….the place is just made for walking and people-watching…nothing like sitting down at a cafe with a cup of coffee, watching the world go by…

  3. The question for is ‘did the blue car back into the smartcar or did the car in front of the blue car back into the blue car, pushing it into the smartcar’? I think if I came back to my car to find it like that, I’d get a couple of mates and we’d tip the blue car onto it’s roof – see how they want to get out of that!. 😉

  4. I’ve seen little cars parked on the sidewalk. And of course, motorcycles.


  1. Beautifully cruel Paris « aparentinparis

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