Paris on four wheels
  • 01
  • Jun
  • 2009

Line 69 Gambetta/Champ de Mars is probably the best bus route of all ! It crosses the city from east to west, from the distinctly working-class 20th Arr. to the Eiffel Tower. Punch your ticket, take a seat next to the window and sit back, enjoy the film unfolds before your eyes. Duration : 45 min (without stops).

If you can, mount the bus at the departure point on the Place Gambetta(M° Gambetta) in the 20th Arr. However this is not essential as the route forms a loop. The Place borders two working-class areas, Charonne and Belleville. The bus travels alongside the Père-Lachaise graveyard; don’t hesitate to get off if you have the time. A visit to this very special cemetery is anything but sinister; you’ll find the graves of celebrities like Chopin, Balzac, Bernhardt, Victor Hugo, Modigliani, Piaf and Jim Morrison. Get back on the bus, the bus crosses the Boulevard de Ménilmontant and turns into the Rue de la Roquette.

On the Place Léon Blum you see the town hall of the 11th Arr. on the right. The bus now follows the Av. Parmentier, via Boulevard Beaumarchais and the Place de la Bastille, you find yourself in a totally different Paris. On the south-east side of the square is the Opéra Bastille. The rather banal facade conceals a 2700 seat concert hall with brilliant acoustics.

The bus now travels via the Rue Saint-Antoinee to “le Marais”. At the beginning of the Rue de Rivoli, note on the left the magnificent Saint-Paul church. The Saint-Paul Village in the Rue Saint-Paul is also well worth a visit. For more info just have a look at the site Montmartreparis-things to do.

We now pass Paris’ town hall. A littel further along you’ll see a high-tower, the “Tour Saint-Jacques, this is all that remains of a 16th century church on the route the pilgrims followed to Santiago de Compostela. A couple of minutes later the Louvre comes into view. If you’ve a soft spot for antiques, you might like to alight at the Palais-Royal stop to browse in antique shops affiliated with the “Louvre des Antiquaires”. The bus turns to the left and stops opposite the Pyramid. Here you have a view of the Louvre on the left, and on the right the Tuileries.

You now cross over the Seine via the Pont du Carrousel. And you have another panoramic view : Île de la Cité. The bus travels along the Quai Voltaire. The old railway station of Orsay comes into sight on the left. As the bus drives further, you pass the Parliament an the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.This area is the “Faubourg Saint-Germain”. The bus brings you to the “Esplanade des Invalides”. A visit to this monumental complex is highly recommended.  The last part of the bus journey takes you to the Parc du Champ de Mars, at the far end of the park the Eiffel Tower rises up into the sky


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