It seems like there are a million options for getting around Paris. Even the Metro has multiple choices for tickets one can buy. If we're going to be in Paris for 8 days and not traveling more than 5 miles (sorry I should get used to saying Kilometers) outside the city, what type of transportation should we go with?
I'd vote for the Metro system without question. It's easy, convenient, and pretty safe if you watch yourself.
Personally, I find the bus system more confusing, although there are two buses, the #69 and the #42 that offer a great, cheap, very comprehensive if inadvertent sightseeing tour of the city. Bus 69 will take you in an almost perfect loop around Paris going from east to west while #42 kind of meanders through the city, passing by major monuments. You might want to think about taking this bus once during the day and once again at night because Paris is so gorgeous at night.
All my friends use the Velib pubic bike system and say it's fabulous. Personally, I would never try riding a bike in Paris traffic but if you're a good bike rider you might want to give it a shot.
Use the Metro! It is a huge system, the stations are frequently located where the buses also stop, and the Metro also interacts directly with the above ground TGV system.
You can get either a multi-day Metro pass at any Metro kiosk (these tickets are available online if you search for them), and you will find those kiosks in multiple locations at each and every Metro station.
You must obtain a Metro map, and the more detail the better. This is because Paris is split into various Metro zones and routes, you can change routes and/or destinations at the Metro station of your choice, but you have to be careful about which train you hop onto, or you will wind up going somewhere you did not plan on.
In closing, let me state that we never rent a car when we are in Paris, we always use the Metro multi-day ticket. Further, pay close attention to the Paris inner-zone tickets, versus the "all zones" tickets. If you are only going to be staying inside the inner zone, then you should only acquire the Metro multi-day inner zone ticket variety.
If you change your mind about destinations, for example, lets assume for the moment that you might want to visit Giverny to see Monet's garden - well in that case, you ride the Metro to the TGV rail station that you would ride to Giverny and buy that TGV ticket at that station. Clean, simple, no muss, no car to park, and it is relatively inexpensive.
Have fun, and have a croissant for us!
For traveling in the center of Paris, either walk or use the public bicycles (Velib').
If your journey is a bit longer and you might not want to walk, use the subway (faster than the bus). In the subway stations, choose the "Buy 10 tickets" option on the electronic purchasing machines. You'll get a small discount for the bulk purchase, instead of buying single tickets every time.
If you want to go outside Paris, use the RER (you'll need to purchase a specific ticket though).
Hey, Paris transportation! So exciting- so many things do see just there.
You are right- there aremultiple choices, and you are likely to use different transportation depending on where you are going. However you will reach most of your destinations just using Metro (M) and the RER (A,B,C,D). Buy 10 tickets straight away in the machines, that will give you a discount. Do not throw away your ticket until you have checked out, since you need it to get out of the stations.
I would recommend using the Metro to get around the city, seeing as it is the most cost effective and simplest way to get around. The RER (commuter train) is also apart of the Metro system and can take you a little further out of Paris (Versailles). Maybe this website can give you a little more detailed information on the Paris transportation system:http://parisbytrain.com/
I would choose the Metro. I've been to Paris many times and last time I chose to buy the Paris Visite Card (for the first time) and I saved a lot of money. If you are not a fan of walking a lot and you prefer to take the metro, I highly recommend this card. The only negative point is that you can use it up to 5 days and you are staying 8 days...
Forget about the cabs... they are expensive and hard to get.
A weekly Metro pass runs from Monday-Sunday and costs 5€ for the Navigo Découverte card and 24,40€ for zones 1-2 (central Paris). I've attached a link: http://parisbytrain.com/paris-train-metro-week-pass-navigo-decouverte/ You'll need a small, photo-booth-type photo for the Navigo Découverte card.
If you arrive mid-week, you could pick up a Ticket Mobilis for 6,80€ or a carnet of 10 tickets for 13,70€. A single ticket is 1,70€.
Metro stations are often located within .56km of each other.
You'll need a smart-chip credit card if you want to purchase tickets from a machine.
If you decide to use the velib' bikes around Paris, you'll need a smart-chip card, too, I think. A one day velib' pass costs 1,70E (the same price as a single Metro ticket). The first 30 minutes of a bike trip are free. Here's a link for velib': http://en.velib.paris.fr/How-it-works/Bikes
Shoe leather is another good option for navigating Paris. Many sites are within walking distance of each other. One could walk from The Louvre, past the Palais de Justice de Paris and Sainte-Chapelle, and on to Notre Dame Cathedral in about 25 minutes or less.
Mentioned in this answer:
The Metro is by far the cheapest, fastest and easiest mode of transportation. It's very easy to use-color coded lines-go the direction of the end point.
Cabs are expensive and traffic can bog you down-