Last updated on September 11th, 2017
Public transport and the Paris Métro are the easiest ways to get around Paris. The Paris Métro is not always underground, it offers some scenic views of the city’s most popular neighbourhoods.
For sightseeing, Métro Line 6 provides some of the best opportunities for exploring the variety of villages that Paris offers.
Route from Bourgeois to Popular Districts
Paris Métro line 6 takes one of the most scenic routes around the city’s landmarks and monuments. Originally opened in 1906 between Place de l’Etoile (at the top of the Champs Elysées) and Place d’Italie (right at the outskirts of Paris Chinatown), it has since been extended to Place de la Nation.
About half its running length is above ground on elevated tracks, bridges and viaducs. The itinerary broadly follows a southern arc from the “quartiers bobos” (bourgeois districts) to the “quartiers populos” (plebeian districts)! Line 6 conveniently links two of Paris greatest squares or “place”: Nation and Etoile.
Paris landmarks on Line 6 include from East to West: Place de la Nation, Parc de Bercy, Place d’Italie, Place Denfert-Rochereau, Montparnasse, Tour Eiffel, Trocadéro, Place de l’Etoile.
The most scenic segment is between Montparnasse and Trocadéro. Line 6 crosses the Seine at Bir-Hakeim (Western section) and at Bercy (Eastern Section).
First and Last Trains of Line 6
The first train departs at 5.30 in the wee hours and the last train leaves at 00.42, which conveniently serves early commuters and leaves enough time for dinner with friends. On weekends and bank holidays, the last trains depart one hour later, at 1.42 from their respective ends of the line (Etoile and Nation).
From end to end, it officially takes 33 minutes to complete the journey. We’ve never done the whole trip ourselves, but it seems rather shorter than what you would expect from a train that runs across Paris whole southern flank.
Train Frequency of Line 6
Line 6 is one of the busiest métro lines in Paris so you won’t have to wait very long for a train: less than two minutes during peak hours, which seems all the time. At the deepest end of the night, you may have to wait up to ten minutes in the freshness of the midnight breeze. Line 6 is hugely popular because it combines the speed of the underground with the scenic views of trams and buses.
Rubber Tyres for Less Noise
Line 6 has many quirks and particularities. And one of the them is the use of rubber tyres to minimise noise pollution of nearby residents. We have friends who live in buildings with a view of the metro viaducs in the 15th district. You can still hear the noise, but it’s more of a whooshing sound rather than the familiar rythmic metal clanking of trains.
Rubber also reduces vibrations and was introduced in the early 1970s. As in the case of the rest of the network, Line 6 has undergone many upgrades of its rolling stock throughout the years. Eventually it will become fully automated.
A short Line 6 itinerary for Passy Village, Bir-Harkeim Bridge, Trocadero and Eiffel Tower
One of our favourite Line 6 sections are the breathtaking views of the Eiffel Tower as the métro crosses the Bir-Harkeim Bridge.
Take the train, Direction Etoile, and as you reach Bir-Harkeim Station, ready your cameras and the hooos and haaaahs. You’re in for a visual treat. As you hover over the Seine River, you will see the Eiffel Tower in its full splendour on your right. Most people will miss the Statue of the Liberty at the end of Swan Alley on their left. Yes, it’s a smaller size replica of the one France gave the US.
Get off at Passy Station and walk up along Rue de l’Alboni. You will reach Rue de Passy at the round about to the left. Rue de Passy is one of the typically bourgeois areas of our great city. Notice the popular white shirts with blue stripes, the Hermes scarves and the slightly bleached designer jeans. Nevertheless, there are plenty of brasseries, cheaper eats and cafés on Rue de Passy, and here would be a good time for a toilet break and some refreshments.
Take Rue Benjamin Franklin to Trocadéro Square, where you can get magnificent views of the Jardin du Trocadéro and the Chaillot Palace. If you’re in luck, the fountains will be spouting full power, and you’ll get great pictures of the Eiffel Tower on the other side of the river.
Cross Pont d’Iéna to the Eiffel Tower and walk along the Seine back to Bir-Hakeim Station
Do you have your single tickets, or did you buy a whole carnet? Still confused about navigo and mobilis transport passes? We have a post on which tickets to buy and how to use them in Paris public transport.
For more travel tips on using public transport, check out our pages on how to navigate metro and buses, Parisian style.