The Bustronome Paris: What to Expect?
Visiting a new city almost always comes with the inevitable expectation to see as many of the most notable landmarks as possible.
Even if sightseeing isn’t your thing, there are just some monuments in Paris that you don’t want to miss. The world famous Eiffel Tower no doubt at the top of that list.
There are many ways to successfully sight see around the Paris streets. One of the most popular ways is to join in one of the many free guided walking tours that will take you past all of the attractions.
Your other option is to meander the streets on your own accord. Hop the Paris metro from district to district and track down the sights one at a time. This will take more time and can be tricky if you don’t have access to an electronic map system.
To bridge the gap between guided walks and solo exploring a new touring concept has emerged on the Parisian streets: The Bustronome.
The Bustronome is a double decker bus made entirely out of glass sides and ceilings. Riders on the bus enjoy full views of the world of Paris on the outside while enjoying the comfort and warmth on the inside.
The bus departs twice daily and the route ventures past most of the main Parisian landmarks and attractions. What makes this experience so interesting is that instead of your typical bus interior, it is actually a fine dining restaurant on the inside.
Purchasing tickets to this bus gets you a multiple course, full service meal during either lunch or dinner. It is an ambient and incredible way to introduce yourself and your fellow travelers to the city of Paris.
I was skeptical of the idea at first; fine dining on a giant moving vehicle through the narrow Parisian streets? No way! I’ve since drastically changed my tune and I do believe that this is a touring concept that is going to sweep through the rest of Europe very soon — it’s already found its way to the streets of London.
Bus dining is a popular excursion around Europe, but as far as a vehicle made of glass goes; Bustronome is the first.
Here is everything you can expect from the Bustronome in Paris…
Design of the Bustronome in Paris
First and foremost, let’s get familiar with the design of this bus as it is such a vital aspect to the success of this excursion.
At first glance the Bustronome bus looks like any old European double decker. That is until you realize that the vehicle appears to either be missing the top half of itself or blending into the sky.
The second floor of the Bustronome is made entirely of glass. The walls and ceiling of the bus are completely transparent and give an almost 360° view of the outside world. This is what makes it the perfect viewing platform for the streets and monuments of Paris.
The bottom floor of the double decker is where most of the service takes place and not really where the guests are seated. The top is the dining space. Under the glass ceiling is a well laid out restaurant that fits perfectly into the space.
Though the tables are compact, you never feel anything other than cosy during the experience. The design of the restaurant is simple, French chic. The space is functional without be overly dressed up; this is important because it lets the beauty and ambiance of the Paris city become the main attraction.
The bus also relies solely on the light of day, and Parisian city lights by night, to illuminate the Bustronome. During dinner, it is like dining by candlelight — only better!
Paris is known as the city of lights. Much of its charm exists because of this element. Making use of the natural glow of the city streets during a dining experience is absolutely genius.
The Bustronome top floor can accommodate parties of either two or four guests. The tables are fixed, so there isn’t really an option of creating bigger seating areas for bigger parties. If you are booking for a party of more than four it is best to do so in even numbers, so that the additional guests can be seated together elsewhere on the bus.
The very back of the bus does have a booth-like area where larger parties could fit a comfortable eight, however the tables are still separated to allow entry and exit points.
There is a bathroom available on the bottom floor should anyone need to make use of it while en route.
Meals of the Bustronome in Paris
As mentioned, the Bustronome offers two meal time options; lunch and dinner. The Bustronome brands itself as “gourmet travel” — so you can expect a dining experience in accordance to this phrase.
Due to popularity, Bustronome is currently operating at two slots per meal per day. This means that there are two different departure times for a lunch excursion, and two more later in the day for a dinner one.
1st Lunch Departure: 12:15pm Return: 1:45pm
2nd Lunch Departure: 12:45pm Return: 2:15pm
1st Dinner Departure: 7:45pm Return: 10:30pm
2nd Dinner Departure: 8:45pm Return 11:30pm
As you can see the lunch excursions are slightly quicker than the dinner ones. The lunch menu on the bus has a few less courses than the dinner one. The dinner menu therefore takes more time.
The cuisine is authentic French. The menus are set and change regularly. During lunch you’ll enjoy a four part experience and during dinner a six part one. Here are the costs for each excursion:
Lunch with wine: €86
Dinner with wine: €130
Children’s menu (under 12)
During the lunch trips you also have to option of upgrading your menu ticket to include access to the Arc de Triomphe monument that you will pass on the way. This makes the total cost €77 instead of the original €65.
While the experience is perfect regardless of your menu choice, the wine-pairing experience is a great addition to the food. The flavors are perfectly paired by the chef to each dish and really work well with the entire ambiance of the lunch or dinner.
The Bustronome kitchen is also more than happy to cater for any and all dietary constraints of passengers; vegans and vegetarians included. Be sure to notify them well in advance of your food restrictions or allergies so that they can make appropriate arrangements for your trip.
Route of the Bustronome in Paris
The route of the Bustronome is as important as the meals of the experience. For many, it is their first in person encounter with some of the most famous Parisian monuments in the world. Structures that they likely grew up hearing about and are finally seeing years later.
Your tour on the Bustronome begins at the Arc de Triomphe, this is where you will meet to get on board. You’ll find the bus and fellow diners on the corner of Kleber Avenue.
Climb on board and allow the host to show you to your table. After everyone is seated the tour will begin. For the most part you’ll be left alone to dine as the ambient French music plays in the background. There are audio pens available for anyone who would like a bit of commentary or explanation on the sights.
Monuments aren’t the only thing you’ll catch sight of. The Louvre and Musée d’Orsay are included on the path, these are the two most famous art museums in all of Paris.
I really like that the Bustronome also includes Invalides on their route as this is a monumental place that tourists sometimes forget to give the time of day. Passing by here is bound to inspire plans for an actual day of exploring the sights contained within Invalides itself .
Since the lunch trip is slightly shorter there are a few sights that are excluded in this session. Hotel de Ville, Saint-Michael and Notre Dame are exclusive to the dinner ride only.
Here is the Bustronome route map. The solid line showing the dinner route and the dotted line showing lunch:
Brunch on the Bustronome in Paris
In the spirit of keeping things ever exciting, the Bustronome will be launching a new concept from February 2019.
Every Sunday there will be an additional meal slot added to the schedule: brunch!
Just before the lunch slots you’ll be able to board the Bustronome for a mid-morning excursion accompanied by a tasty menu. This trip leaves from the same spot at the Arc de Triomphe promptly at 11am.
I love this exciting new tour from the company as it gives tourists the opportunity to get a load of sightseeing out of the way, in a short period of time — leaving the rest of the day for other activities.
There is also nothing more Parisian than a hearty brunch to overindulge in under the European sun. The brunch menu thus far includes:
Croissant, chocolate bread, raisin bread, chouquettes, madeleines
French loaf, cereal bread, black bread
Bénédicte eggs with a toasted brioche bread and spinach, hollandaise sauce
Salmon gravlax, homemade blinis
Delicatesen and cheese selections
Fresh fruits – yogurt with homemade granola
Coffee, tea, cappuccino, hot chocolate
I know, I know — what about the mimosas? For now alcohol is not included in the brunch excursion. Here’s hoping that Bustronome soon adds some authentic French champagnes to the mix for a boozy wake-up on a Sunday.
The ticket prices for the brunch sessions are €65 for adults and €40 for children under 12 years old. Upgrading your ticket to €77 gets you priority access to the Arc de Triomphe before or after your bus ride. Individuals under the age of 26 can obtain this access for free.
Since the brunch trip is a completely new concept by the Bustronome brand, it is likely to sell out fast and in advance. I recommend booking your table and tickets as soon as possible to avoid disappointment on arrival in the city.
All bookings for the Bustronome can be made through their website.
Average cost: Under €30
Overall Experience of the Bustronome in Paris
All in all the Bustronome is an incredible way to introduce oneself to the city of Paris. In the same breath, it is an equally as wonderful way for even the locals of Paris to view the city from an entirely different perspective.
What’s great is that this concept could have gone the route of mass quantity and less quality, with the intention of filling many sessions throughout the day with average, fast food; churning out profits from unsuspecting tourists in the wake.
Instead, the Bustronome have opted for less quantity and more quality; and have succeeded greatly in the execution of this. Whether you’re enjoying lunch or dinner, you’re aware that time and thought went into each component of the meal.
The interior of the bus is clean and there is absolutely no feeling of them having crammed in more guests just for the sake of it. Impressively, the Bustronome is also available for private hire and can cater for anywhere between 15 to 38 guests on a set menu.
For privatized excursions they also have the option of an afternoon tea menu instead of lunch and dinner. This is a great way to start a birthday evening out on the town and gather your guests together for light snacks before the main events of the evening.
So in short, what can you expect from the Bustronome in Paris? Expect to be blown away. It truly is a sensory experience for both the stomach and the eyes!