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I have 4-5 hours between my flight from Amsterdam (Orly airport) and train back to Amsterdam (a one-day trip to Paris). My point is to see the city. I have panic attacks on subways so I avoid them.

Is it possible to see the Eiffel Tower and Champs-Élysées for a bit, then head to Gare du Nord?

I know the Métro is faster and all, but I want a pleasant trip, not panicky. I will not go up the Eiffel Tower, I will just walk in the park in front of it and take a photograph or two. I just want to experience the city for a while.

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    In general, yes, you can make your way around Paris using only overground transportation (buses and tramways). Whether that works out for your particular case is another question, and probably off-topic. – fkraiem Jan 22 '17 at 19:27
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    The OrlyBus (at 8 Euro it's quite expensive but at least it's easy). – Jacques Jan 22 '17 at 19:44
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    is overground subway okay? – Franck Dernoncourt Jan 22 '17 at 22:45
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    @fkraiem Why would this be off-topic? Seems quite specific and answerable to me. – jpatokal Jan 22 '17 at 23:33
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    @fkraiem The OP has given us their itinerary, they're asking if it's physically possible, for which question I'd trust TravelSE over a travel agent any day. – jpatokal Jan 23 '17 at 10:55
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Orlybus departs every 15 - 20 minutes during the day and takes around 30 minutes to arrive at Denfert-Rochereau. So say an hour to get to the terminus. From near there a bus (28) runs to École Militaire, so maybe a short walk and at the Tour Eiffel within 1½ hours.

Paris walk

About one hour on foot from there to the Place de la Concorde via Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Élysées. From there there is a bus (42) to Gare du Nord, say about ¾ hour (that is enough time to walk between the two, but you might have had enough time on foot by then).

In all round about 3¼ hours even allowing for some long wait between services. So plenty of margin for the vagaries of traffic.

  • Sometimes the buses in Paris are so slow that walking is faster and they do have a tendency to go out of service when you are in them. So do take your time to travel back to Gare du Nord. – Willeke Jan 22 '17 at 21:38
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    Parisienne traffic => traffic is masculine in French (why not?), unlike English in French adjectives derived from noun shed the capital letter, and this adjective is more naturally placed after the noun (some adjectives go before, some after, ... sorry :/). Anyway, I would advise traffic parisien. – Matthieu M. Jan 23 '17 at 10:34
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Assuming you are already in central Paris, yes, you can navigate the city by bus only. To be clear, I recall riding only one bus in Paris years ago.

Like many metro focused cities, the Bus tends to be a longer transit time due to traffic, connections, etc.

You can find a bus map here: Paris Bus Service

4 hours to see a city by Bus is not very long and your biggest challenge might be getting from where the OrlyBus terminates to something worth seeing. Be ready to hire a Cab or Uber if you start to run short of time.

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I have done it once, you will also be able to walk that long only if you have been used to walk. Otherwise looks reasonably dubious.

Good luck

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