We always do a bus tour of a new city as soon after arrival as possible, as bus tours are the easiest and best way to get your bearings, and learn a lot about the new city, and clarify where you want to visit in the time you have available. Do not choose to your bus tour with this company (Big Bus Tours are the same company, same route, same tour, slightly differently branded buses)
We boarded the bus at the Arc de Triomf stop. On entering the bus, the driver herded us away from the entrance, which meant that we were unable to pick up the headphones necessary for the commentary, and had to go back for them after discovering they were necessary. The commentary is all taped, not live. The recordings are quite annoying, as the music played between commentary is significantly louder than the commentary so one has to continually adjust the volume upward to hear the commentary, and then downward to not have shattered eardrums while the music is playing. Not very convenient if you are not the person right next to the volume adjustment buttons. There is a LOT more of the music than commentary. Long periods of time elapse between comments, which could so easily be used to give visitors information about Paris.
The route is very repetitive. We traversed the Place de la Concorde 3 times!! A number of other roads were travelled in both directions too, which is makes for boredom rather than delight in a new place.
When the bus returned to Arc de Triomph and we left the bus, we were dropped off on a little outcrop of pavement between the Champs Elysee, and the glide off to the underpass. It was not possible for us to cross the very fast moving traffic on the glide off, or to cross the multiple lanes of the Champs Elysee, so we had to walk along a 30cm (1 foot) wide piece of kerbing, as the pavement between where we were dropped off and the main pavement was blocked off with crowd control barriers.
The literature relating to the bus tour said that the tour lasted approximately 2 hours 15 minutes. Ours lasted 1 hour 15 minutes, for which we are very thankful.
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