Big Bus Paris Review : A way to see the city in a couple of days
If you have a few days in Paris a bus tour is a great way to see the city. There are also a lot of great day trips from Paris by train if you want to explore more of France from the capitol. There are four main companies offering hop on hop off tours in Paris. I decided to use the Big Bus Hop on hop off bus in Paris because this is the organisation I have used many times during my travels, and it is normally a good service.
If you have a few days in Paris a bus tour is a great way to see the city and a fab day out in France.
This post is sponsored by Icelolly.com who offered me a memorable activity to do on my trip in Paris and I chose the Hop on Bus, along with night tour and river cruse as it is my favourite way to see any new city.
How to purchase tickets for Big bus tour in Paris
I bought the ticket online before I left for Paris but you can easily buy the tickets when you are there as there were plenty of ticket sellers at the bus stops.
When to visit Paris
Paris is a great destination all year round I visited in Summer just before the summer holidys started in the UK, the weather was nice not too hot but just right to explore.
However I would also love to see the city in the cooler months. Here are some tips on what to wear in Paris in winter as the weather is similar to that of the UK and can be unpredictable.
Bus tours in Paris
There were a few more hop on bus companies in Paris, that we saw when we were travelling around the city.
The City sightseeing company which is the main one I normally see all over the world also known as the red sightseeing bus is the one I used to use before I discovered Big Bus who I feel are normally a little cheaper and have better commentary. I didn’t see as many city sightseeing buses whilst I was touring Paris as the other companies.
The Local Paris Tours company seemed friendly. This is the company I first saw when I got off the train at Gare du Nord station and the touts selling the tickets were friendly and answered any questions.
I had already purchased a ticket online for Big Bus, if I had not I would have used this company as they had an extra route that the other hop on buses didn’t that near the Montparnasse observation deck which is one place I wanted to visited as it has the best views over Paris unfortunately I didn’t have time in the end.
They were also the cheapest at the time I visited Paris and I saw so many of these buses, they were not as packed as the big bus tour which I found difficult getting an upstairs seat as they were so busy.
I saw a few Foxity buses they were bright orange so a little hard to miss.
Why do I use hop on bus tours when I am travelling
I always do a hop on hop off bus as I don’t like walking. I am lazy but I also have mobility limitations so hop on buses are great as they take you to most of the major landmarks.
Hop on Bus tours help you get your bearings when you are visiting a new destination, as if you are not familiar with the place you don’t need to research how to get to the attractions.
They can seem expensive, but they also give you commentary, some have free Wi-Fi and its just a great way to see a new place from the top of a double decker bus.
My experience with Big Bus in Paris
Overall I enjoyed the big bus hop on bus well I love hop on buses as I find them a great way to explore a city but these buses are not geared up for disabled they also are very busy maybe because they are more well known than some of the others that didnt seemed to be as packed.
The Big Bus hop on in Paris has two routes and costs around £33 for an adult ticket, there are other options so look on the website for all the prices and routes.
I always try and use the Big Bus tours when I travel however I was a little disappointed with the big bus tour this time, not so much that I would say do not do it but I wish I had used The Local Paris Tours as they seemed a bit better with frequency.
Frequency of Big Bus tours in Paris
One of the things that annoyed me about the Big Bus Tour in Paris the wait for the blue line. Paris is very congested with traffic so I understand that there could be delays but there was a delay of over 50 minutes. To change from the red line to the blue line which is what we were doing you need to get off at the shop stop.
We were getting on the blue line one to see the sights but also because this line went by our hotel so were using it as a mode of transport to get back to our hotel if I wasn’t wanting to do this I would have given up waiting.
Now this put me off using the Big Bus in Paris and I would for this reason recommend trying The Local Paris Tour, if you have used this bus tour in Paris please let me know what you thought.
Waiting for the Blue route was quite stressful, there was so many people waiting that there was no organisation, all the big bus representatives that were normally selling tickets out here had disappeared. There was a long queue in the shop as people were complaining.
We ended up waiting 30 minutes in the heat, people were commented that they had already been waiting 20 minutes. There was nowhere to sit I was with my mum who has mobility issues and can not stand for long.
The waiting point for the buses is on a busy pavement so other people could not get by; people were getting very agitated. When the first blue line finally arrived, everyone pushed and shoved to get on it. I had to pull my mum out of the way, so she didn’t get pushed over. I can understand that everyone wanted to get on as we had been waiting for so long.
Two more buses arrived at the same time, so we were all going to get on, but people had no manners. Just as we were about to step on the bus a lady behind me pushed by and tried to get on, now I know this is not the fault of the bus company but the passengers, but it really did ruin my experience.
These buses get very busy.
The red tour was regular and we didn’t have to wait long for another bus to come along but they were always busy and it was difficult to get a upstairs seat but we were happy to sit downstairs in the air conditioning, although obviously you do not get a good view sitting down stairs.
The commentary was good, it could do with being a bit more informative as we were passing some cool looking places and it was just playing music rather than telling us what we were seeing.
At some points the commentary was talking about something that I couldn’t see so not sure if we had already passed the place and it was a little confusing. I did learn some interesting facts on this hop on bus in Paris and apart from one bus we got on all the outputs for the headphones were working.
Night tour with Big Bus
Another point that annoyed me was during the night bus. Again, it is not geared up for people with disabilities. We had to wait for the night bus at the Arc Du Triomphe, which is a very busy place at any time of the day but at night there are street vendors selling crepes so it is busy with tourists and as we were trying to queue other people were trying to get passed so it was a little bit of mayhem.
There were a lot of people waiting for the night bus tour, again nowhere to sit for people with disabilities. When the lady checking the tickets came to us in the queue, I mentioned my mum is struggling to stand “do you have provision for disabled to get on the bus first I will wait in the queue, but she needs to sit down”. The answer was “no” I said so you don’t help or support disabled people “no you have to wait you will get a seat” it wasn’t my concern of getting a seat or not my mum was struggling.
I have never experienced this with a company normally if you say you are disabled and need support they help. I cheekily said your bus is not very disabled friendly is it and she replied “no we are not”. I was quite shocked.
Anyway, we did get on a night tour bus, but it wasn’t even dark. It took us down the same route at first that the day bus we had just been on did, giving the same commentary.
The only bits of the big bus tour at night that were different from the day bus tour was going passed Moulin Rouge on the same side of the road and a little bit more information about that.
We then went back on a different route but not passed anything interesting until we got to the Eiffel Tower at which point it was getting dark and when we got to the Eiffel Tower it was dark so that is the only highlight of this night time hop on bus.
The Eiffel tower at night has a light show which I wasn’t aware of until we got there and it was so pretty you need to see the night light show at the Eiffel tower but there are cheaper options such as getting public transport and then watching it.
I do love hop on buses, but I do not think this Big Bus night tour was worth the money.
The boat trip included with the big bus tour ticket
I had the deluxe ticket which included a 1-hour boat trip, this was not hop on hop off. It was nice and had commentary that you could listen to from a handheld device.
There were steep steps to get down to the pier there must have been a road access as there were coaches near the boat but we couldn’t find another route. However there was a wall along side the steps so we did a few steps, sat down then did a few more, it was a challenge with mobility limitations and the heat but we did it.
I was impressed with this company it was easy to find from point 3 on the pier. There was a queue to start with but once an employee saw my mum with a walking cane, they took her to the front of the queue then to a waiting area where she could sit down.
This was good as we had to wait about 10 minutes for the next boat. When the boat arrived, we got on first. We decided to sit on the lower level outside and had great views of the river.
There was also a top open deck where most of the passengers went as it was a hot sunny day. If the weather was not so nice there was plenty of covered seating.
There was a toilet which was down a steep flight of stairs. There was a disabled toilet, but this was locked and had a bin in front, and you had to ask someone to let you in.
The toilets are closed a few minutes before the boat trip finished. The boat trip was fun, and I really did enjoyed seeing Paris was a different perspective.
We sat and had a glass of champagne in a by resturant overlooking the Eiffel Tower whilst we were waiting for the boat trip which was amazing.
I was surpsied at how cheap the glass of champagne with such a amazing view was I think it was about £10 which does seem a lot but I was expecting it to be much more and it was nice to have a little treat.
Big Bus tour route
There were two routes on this big bus tour, and it seems that the other hop on bus companies followed similar routes as I kept seeing them during our trip. You can see the full route here.
The red bus was the main city route and then there was a blue route which didn’t run as often and it said the stops were drop off only which put me off using as I didnt know how i would get back to the city.
We did the blue route only once and it was nice to see the Moulin Rouge but I would have liked to have been able to get off in this area and explore the little lanes.
There are a few low hanging branches on the routes so be careful I got hit by one luckily no major damage, but it was a bit of a shock. It was nice to see the city of Paris from the top of a bus as it gives a different perspective than walking around the city. Here are some of the highlights from the Paris bus tour.
There are two stops for the Eiffel Tower one at the front and one by the back of the tower. First, we got off at the back of the tower and we got to have some amazing views. It was much quieter here and we went to a garden where locals were playing boules at one point, we were the only tourists there which I was not expecting.
Another times we got off at the front of the Eiffel Tower to go on the boat trip and there are a lot more tourists here as well as people selling souvenirs and bags.
Hop on bus doesnt get you as close to Notre Dame as I thought it would. We got off and it was a bit of a walk over the bridge to the Cathedral unfortunately neither of us has the energy to do this as I didn’t realise it was so far so we ended up just looking at Norte Dame from the river side and to be honest it wasnt worth the walk during our visit as the Notre Dame was till closed due to the fire.
We then went and got our souvenirs as there was a number of cafes and souvenirs near the bus stop. We were going to get a cooling beer, but it was £9 for 50ml carling we decided against it.
Arc Du Triompe
You actually get really good views of the Arc Du Triompe from the bus as it gets really close. I didnt realise that you can even go inside the Arc Du Triompe which is opened daily and costs around 12euros.
Further Reading Best Hostels in Paris
Icelolly work with bloggers and when they knew I was going to Paris they offered me and my mum a budget to do something cool in Paris. We decided to do the Hop on Bus as we were limited to time ad this is a cool way to see the city. Ice Lolly Holidays offer value holiday deals and I will definitely check the out in the future.
PIN IT FOR LATER!!