Earth > Europe > Western Europe > France > Paris
Paris is the capital of France.
- 1 Hitching Out
- 1.1 Northeast towards Lille and Belgium
- 1.2 A4 East, towards Metz, Strasbourg, Luxembourg, Germany, etc
- 1.3 A6 South to Lyon, Marseille, Barcelona, Italy
- 1.4 A10 South to Orleans, Bordeaux, Spain
- 1.5 A11 South-West to Le Mans, Nantes, Rennes and all parts of Brittany
- 2 Paris public transport
- 3 Sleeping in Paris
The city is situated within a ring road (le périphérique, or le périph) and whilst the actual city is relatively small, it is surrounded by endless suburbs. There are plenty of excellent spots for hitchhiking North (Aire La Courneuve), East (petrol stations and barrières de péage) and also South (Aire de Lisses)
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Aire La Courneuve
Probably the best way to get to Belgium is by hitching at the petrol station Aire de Service de La Courneuve. BUT: if you take a closer look at the petrol station on google maps you will see that there is a wall surrounding this petrol station; nonetheless, one can get there if follows these tips:
First, get closer by public transport. Some options are:
- Bus 150 from Porte de la Villette (metro line 7), get off at Parc des Sports (next to the highway)
- Bus 250 from Fort d'Aubervilliers (metro line 7), get off at Parc des Sports (the quickest way?)
- La Courneuve Aubervilliers (RER B), and walk 2 km north along Boulevard Pasteur. You can catch this train from Gare du Nord.
- La Courneuve, 8 Mai 1945 (metro line 7) and make your way to rue Paul Verlaine by taking a tram "T1" and getting off at Six Routes.
If you arrive at the station Parc des Sports you will see large flats behind you. The wall on your left is the wall you will have to go over.
Some options to enter:
- RECOMMENDED: You can hitch from the traffic lights before the highway ramp, and ask the driver to drop you off at the petrol station. From Parc des Sports go backward and follow the line of tram on the left you will find a small entrance on the right side of the road after approximately 500m on this road.
- There is a door which allows outside access but it is sometimes locked (latter was true on 01-06-08 and 28-09-08 also 29-11-08..). Walk away from the door and scale the concrete wall at the point where it becomes a fence. Walk forward and you'll see where you have to go. (See approximate location of the door.)
- If the door is locked you have to climb the wall that is approximately 1,90 m tall, and go through a broken fence here - et voila, you are at the petrol station.
- You can walk around the wall for about 70 meters towards the left, then walk down the little hill and walk through the bushes. You have to go through two fences to enter the petrol station.
20 minutes down the motorway a toll road starts - there you will see a toll station where everyone has to stop. It is a great place to get long-distance rides. Between the Aire La Courneuve and the barrière de péage (toll station) there is a small rest area and a fairly large petrol station with quite many cars stopping there. Ask your driver if he/she passes this service area.
Another option to get a ride towards Lille and/or Belgium is first to take a RER B to Stade de France and then walk up to the final traffic light where you can ask for a ride to the first petrol station on the motorway (Aire La Courneuve) which is about 5 km away.
Lastly, one can take a line 13 to Carrefour Pleyel and then walk along Boulevard Anatole France (see Google Maps) up until the beginning of the highway. There is a hitchhiking spot there which might be not the greatest one in the world but at least it can lead you to the next petrol station on the highway (make sure, though, the driver won't drop you off at the exit 4 of the highway).
Charles de Gaulle
Charles de Gaulle airport can be an option for hitching North-East, although waiting times might vary a lot.
Porte de la Chapelle
That's where the A1 starts - local drivers say they often see hitchhikers there. To get there take a metro 12 to Porte de la Chapelle, then walk to the roundabout. You can try getting a ride on the roundabout (there are traffic lights, which means that cars have to stop) or you can stand on the opposite side facing the roundabout where the highway starts. Another good option is to start hitchhiking in the same street where the metro is. There are 2 petrol stations in that very street, just 50m deeper into the city. They aren't overcrowded, and at the same time quite a few cars going up the North stop here for refill; nonetheless, at such places much is depended on your luck, and according to some hitchhikers this place won't make to the TOP10 best hitchhiking places in France. It is therefore rather recommended to hitchhike at the roundabout where a quiet lane right by the traffic lights gives you a good opportunity to get onto the highway (avoiding at the same time all the traffic that heads for Boulevard Periphique).
A4 East, towards Metz, Strasbourg, Luxembourg, Germany, etc
Going directly to the barrière de péage
Take RER A4 to the last stop (Marne-La-Vallee - Chessy). The train journey length is around 45 minutes (6€ something). Take the bus number 59 (doesn't operate on Sundays, the ticket costs around 2 Euro) which leaves from the bus stop next to the RER train station at Eurodisney, Marne-La-Vallee (timetable 2008 here). It takes ten minutes to arrive at the “Truffaut” gardening centre which is beside the péage (stop Coutevroult - Truffaut). From there, walk back a bit and go through what seems to be a police station's parking area and is called "voie de service" on the map - you will get to the green area right outside the péage - and you won't need to jump any of the fences! From this barrière de péage it is easy to get rides to Metz or even straight to Germany. You might meet people (gendarmes or highway staff) in that "voie de service" - even if they try to talk you out of it, remember it is allowed to hitchhike in the car park by the peage.
Attention, the bus 59 runs every hour. It is usually timed to start 5 min after the arrival of the RER so hurry yourself up from the train. Follow the signs "gare routière" (bus station). If bus 59 doesn't start before 30 min, consider using bus 34 (see bellow).
If you decide to hitch from this péage on Sunday you can take the bus no. 34 (1.60 €, timetable) to bus stop "Bailly-Romainvilliers - Place de l'Europe" , then walk for about 2kilometers. You will soon see the motorway A4 and péage. Here's the route.
The barrière de péage is located here.
Via petrol station
The first petrol station is close to RER A station Bussy St.Georges. From this station walk South for about 1 km along a bigger road which will lead you to a roundabout. You can try hitchhiking from there but the needed petrol station will be just a bit more than 2 km from there. You can walk on the grass field next to the highway. The petrol station is called La Ferrière. Another option to reach this petrol station is to walk through the industrial zone of Bussy area, to the South of the railway, then reach the bridge over the highway and follow further by walking on the grass until the actual petrol station. Most of the walk will be on the road which means you will save some time while at the same time such a walk won't be so annoying if you happen to hitchhike in winter (then you apparently don't wanna go through the fields). You can follow this route on Google Maps.
Various other options
- If you go to Bussy-St-Georges you can also try to catch a bus nr.4 or nr.44 from the metro station Gutenberg. When at Bussy-St-Georges, walk sraight to the bridge (don't take the first bridge left after the bus stop because than you will have to jump over the fence and to walk through the field (and hitchhiking with wet feet isn't that good, obviously)). The péage is not far from there, although it might be a bit further than the closest highway ramp.
- Take the RER Line A (Red) in direction of Boissy St Legere until the station Nogent Sur Marne (~2€). Leave the station in direction of Rue Joinville and follow the sign to the A4. It is a 30 min walk. If some driver stops for you, ask if he/she can take you at least to the next petrol station (there is no toll road (péage) to get there, so it is likely that you will get a ride there).
Aire de Lisses: this petrol station is situated about 35kms South of Paris, however it's near to an RER station (15 minutes by walk) so you can easily get there. In order to get out of the several rings of highways surrounding Paris it could be really useful to start hitching from this place, especially since you get directly on the A6, after all the branch-offs. To get there you have to take the RER D toward Melun or Malesherbes (!via Corbeil!). After Corbeil-Essonnes the second station is Villabé. The station is not marked on googlemaps but don't worry, it's there: the way from Villabé RER station to Aire de Lisses
A hitchhiking spot at Porte d'Orleans (at the "périferique") seems quite a good place to get a ride (metro Porte d'Orleans). There's a petrol station, and a good spot (just besides the "Novotel" building) at the traffic junction to the "périferique extérieur". Don't go with those cars which head for suburbs only - next tollway or a petrol station is about 50 km away.
This motorway follows the route of the A6 (see above) from Paris, and splits afterwards near Antony/Rungis. There's no petrol station between Porte d'Orleans and the A6xA10 junction except this one (good enough one, according to some hitchhikers). An easy option is to stand at Porte d'Orleans (the same as for the A6 options) with a sign specifying that you go to Orléans. There is a barrière de péage in Saint Arnoult, before the split between A10 and A11, so you can accept a ride going to Orléans or to Chartres, for example. Make sure, though, the driver will leave you at least at the "péage de Saint Arnoult". French hitchhiker Pietshah did this route tons of times and had very little troubles.
Similarly Porte d'Italie which is not far from Porte d'Orleans is a good place to hitch from. Additionally if you walk down the exit there at the traffic lights there is an overhead bypass which can keep you dry in the rain.
You can also take the RER to Massy-Palaiseau. From there you will be able to follow motoway signs for the A6 and A10. Go down the Avenue Carnot along the railway towards the autoroute. After a while there you will see a long stretch of a road with lots of space for cars. Keep going and you will reach a roundabout. If you keep following this road, you will reach a motorway exit underneath a bridge. It would be a good idea to use a sign with "Chartres" as this will make sure to get a ride at least to the first barrière de péage (30+ km) at St.Arnault. When already there, you might as well pull up the sign "SPAIN" - you might even get a truck straight to Portugal.
< Getting onto the A10 highway is not an easy task, and will involve a train ride and some walking. The first petrol station is situated near the village called Briis-sous-Forges. To get there you need to take either RER B to Massy-Palaiseau or RER C to Dourdan (ticket costs around 7€). From there take the bus 91.03 to Briis-sous-Forges. It runs about 3 times an hour on weekdays, once an hour on Saturdays, and there are no buses on Sundays. The petrol station is situated a couple of kms North from the village. To reach it you will need to find Route d'Invilliers, a small local road parallel to the highway. Once you are there, make sure your driver takes the right road as the A11 starts not far away. Another solution is to start hitching at Dourdan. Go to rue d'Etampes and start thumbing at a roundabout there. In Les-granges-du-roi take the D838 that will lead you to the A10 motorway ramp. Note, though, that it is a bit far to walk - around 10 km -, and the traffic is weak. Hitch there before the barrière de péage with a sign "Orleans".
This highway splits from the A10 near Dourdan. There are several possibilities go get on this motorway:
- The petrol station at Briis-sous-Forges. Look at the A10 section's options.
- Take a train to Rambouillet from Paris-Montparnasse (about 7€) and start hitching on the N10 South, until the A11 motorway ramp.
- Take the train from Paris-Montparnasse to Chartres (12€) and start hitching from there. You might want to go to the service station Chartres-Gasville on the A11 east of Chartres (bus plus one hour walk!). From the train station, take one of many buses that stop at the Morard station. Here starts bus 12, take it and get off at N.Conté - some minutes before you arrive there, memorize the route: the bus croses the motorway, and comes to a big roundabout where it turns right and continues to a second small roundabout to turn right again to arrive at N.Conté. Now comes 1 hour of walk: go back to the big roundabout and turn right (east) to follow the N10 until you come to a small city. There you encounter the next roundabout, where you turn left. Follow the street, it bends to the right and ends on the Rue du Bois Paris where you turn left (north). After 500 meters comes the motorway, continue until you have crossed it. The service station is 400 meters east, so try to pass throught the trees on your right and follow the street to the service station.
- Another good spot (and cheaper to get to) is Portes d'Orleans (see info above - section A6) where you can hitch with a sign "Chartres" or "A10"/"A11". If you get a ride to Péage de Saint Arnoult (from someone going to Orleans - A10 - for example), accept it, since it is before the highway split.
Paris public transport
Public transport in Paris consists of a metro (lines from number 1 to 14), RER (fast trains serving the suburbs with relatively few inner city stops, lines from letter A to E), buses (lines from number 20 to ...?) and trams (lines from T1 to T4). If you want to make a few voyages, the cheapest option is to buy a carnet of 10 single tickets (around 11 euros). You can travel to the end of RER lines for around 15 euros. If you stay in Paris for several days and will use transport often you can also buy a pass "Mobilis" for one or several days (5,6 € for one day inside Paris) - it is valid on metro, RER and ground transportation; if you stay for a week or more - get a "Carte Orange" for 16.3 € a week (you'll also need a photo for this one). All prices as of fall 2008.
Ticket checks never occur on actual metro trains, and ticket controllers seem to employ 1 of 2 approaches: first one includes ticket controllers forming a line inside a metro tunnel or station exit and checking all the exiting travelers (since they are uniformed it is easy to see them from a distance unless they decide to hide around the corner); second one involves civil-dressed controllers watching the gates and busting those jumping over - they'll either stop them directly themselves, or radio-report to uniformed controllers who then will ask a stopped person to show a valid ticket.
Checks are said never to occur during rush hours; peak times for these controls are evenings, weekends and the beginning of a new month. Except for the major stations, it is pretty easy to jump over the barriers, or pass through following other people passing to the ticket-zone. Only on major stations one is required to have a validated ticket when exiting. As in some other countries, one can be relax about the ticket booth staff since they have nothing to do with ticket checks.
Uniformed controllers will ask for validated tickets on trains, and since the RER shares the metro infrastructure, you might be a subject to the checks in similar order mentioned above. It is possible to travel for free, even though you stand a higher chance of being busted. It seems that checks can occur at any time, so the best time to travel for free is a rush hour when controls are impossible due to congestion. The highest risk of being checked seems to occur on transfer stations from RER to metro stations.
Like in most cities of France, you can walk onto the bus without showing or validating a ticket. Checks are said to be rare, and occur mainly late at night.
Fines and punishments
French transport police won't make any exceptions for foreigners. Although it is said it might be possible to talk them out of fining a "dumb tourist" they are mainly hostile. Most commonly they will ask for a 40 euro fine which can be paid directly in cash or by credit card. Alternatively you can plead poverty, and if you show a valid ID they will post a fine to the address and the name written on ID.
Going to Charles de Gaulle/Roissy airport
Bus line 350 goes to Gare de l'Est, and line 351 - to Place de la Nation. You're supposed to validate 3 tickets (which is a lot cheaper than travelling by RER); checks are said rare to occur.
Sleeping in Paris
Hospitality exchange networks can be a great choice when staying low-budget in Paris. However, one must plan usually such staying well ahead since Paris is a popular destination for many backpackers, and many hospitality exchange networks' members are usually overloaded with requests to have guests.
It is also possible to sleep in the Champs de Mars in front of the Eiffel Tower - police generally lets you sleep until 9 or 10 in the morning. There are many trees that offer you a protection in case of a rain. You can also put up a tent (at night) in a discrete spot although keep in mind that police officers will wake you up around the sunrise. You can also sleep under the bridge at the Seine river on the other side of the Eiffel Tower. During the first European Hitchhikers Week (888) around 50 people slept in front of the Eiffel Tower.