Paris by Night
Paris by Night
Parler Paris–your taste of life in Paris and France
Monday, September 12, 2005
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It took me a while to get used to my teenage daughter and her friends leaving at about midnight to go “clubbing” knowing I wouldn’t see her return until after 5:30 a.m. when the Métro started up again. American friends scolded me for being too permissive a parent, but they didn’t understand.
Here in Paris, the Métro shuts down between 12:30 a.m. and 1 a.m., and a very sparse bus system known as “Les Noctambus” offers service but very limited and all the buses meet at the center, Châtelet, then fan out. If they didn’t have taxi fare, they didn’t go out, or they stayed in the clubs all night long, nursing one drink (too expensive to drink more!) and dancing. I learned to live with it and because she was always with friends, I wasn’t too worried and nothing bad every happened.
The early cut-off of the Métro puts a damper on my own partying, too. Dinner parties tend to end abruptly as friends rush out the door to make the last train. Living in central Paris is a plus, so that a walk home can be an alternative to public transportation or expensive taxi rides — the minimum fare is 5.20 euros no matter how far you travel, and often, the driver is adverse to taking you too short a distance for his taste. But, what if you’re not in central Paris and don’t own a car?
After years of lobbying in favor of Paris by Night, after having obtained the promise that 500 supplemental taxis will be on the streets of Paris over the next five years, the wait to extend the shutting-down of the Métro one hour from 1 a.m. to 2 p.m. is finally a reality! The city has obtained permission from the Syndicat des Transports d’Ile de France (STIF) to put this into practice in 2006 and to improve the nighttime bus service as of September 20, 2005.
Finally, Parisians will have public transportation all night long! The system now known as “Les Noctambus” will become “Les Noctiliens” like its counterpart, “Transiliens.” The buses will function every night from 12:30 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. every 10 minutes during the weekend (instead of every 20 minutes) and the number of lines will be augmented from the current number of 15 to 35 serving all of Paris and the surrounding areas.
The biggest news of all is that passengers will no longer be obligated to reach the center of the city at station Châtelet to catch a nighttime bus, but will have a “ring road” connecting the major train stations as major points (Gare de l’Est, Lyon, Montparnasse, St-Lazare) and 2000 stops to choose from.
The equipment is all new — comfortable sheltered stops with electronic waiting times indicated and lit for easy viewing and believe it or not, personnel on the stop to assist! The hip nighttime neighborhoods will be served best: Bastille, Bercy, Oberkampf, Canal Saint-Martin and La Villette — for nightclubbers and night workers. Another change is that no special RATP ticket is necessary — all forms of transportation tickets and cards (Imaginaire and Navigo) will be accepted.
It is a revolution in Paris public transport and it is predicted that this one change will permit an enormous economic growth in nighttime industries. Before long, Paris may be welcoming stores and businesses open 24/7!
Remember, you read about it first at Parler Paris! Promotion of the new buses is not scheduled to be released until September 14, 2005 and a map of the routes will be available at that time at the stations. For more information, visit http://www.stif-idf.fr, http://www.ratp.fr, http://www.paris.fr or call 08 92 68 77 14 (0,34 euros/minute).
A la prochaine…
P.S. See you tomorrow, Tuesday, September 13th, for Parler Paris Après Midi La Rentrée, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at La Pierre du Marais, corner of rue de Bretagne and rue des Archives, 3rd. Everyone is welcome! Absolutely free and absolutely fun!
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