Paris Taxi Talk

When the Parisian I met in St. Suzanne asked me about the differences between New York and Paris, I forgot to mention taxis. Anyone who has tried to catch a taxi in Paris knows exactly what I’m talking about. With supposedly 15,000 taxis in town (this was the number quoted on one site), you’d think it shouldn’t be too difficult. I am convinced there are only two ways to go about catching a cab. Either you call up Taxi Bleu ( or you head for a five-star hotel. There are supposedly hundreds of taxi stands (in the 400s). All I’m looking for is one. Sure, there are taxis all over the place – and every single one of them is full.
You cannot hail a cab. If you have more than three people in your group, the taxi driver may choose not to take you. Depending on where you’re going, he may choose not to take you (this is also true in NYC but probably because the cab driver you stopped isn’t ‘really’ a cab driver – but that’s another story).
A cab is available if it’s taxi sign is lit up (yellow light), but there are three minisicule lights beneath the taxi sign: A, B, and C lights. If one of these three lights is on, the cab driver already has a fare.
If you call up a taxi and he arrives at your door, don’t be surprised if his meter is already running. He starts his meter from the moment that you call in your request. Still, I haven’t figured out how a taxi driver comes up with 8 Euros on his meter when he has only taken ten minutes to show up. How many kilometers can you rack up in ten minutes? I recently took a look at some of the comments about Paris Taxis at Virtual and was surprised and the varying opinions. Some people feel that they’re not so expensive. For us, the taxi is the last resort. Taxi Bleu is the exception, particularly if we’re doing an early morning airport run.
The amazing thing about taxi bleu is the ease with which you can book a cab. Our name and address is already entered into their computers, so that when we call, they know our street address. All we have to do has key in the day and time of day that we need a cab at our doorstep. Pretty simple. I’ve found the Taxi Bleu cab drivers to be dependable and honest.
You need to know that there’s all sorts of ‘extra’ charges that a driver may come up with. Extra charges for each piece of luggage. Extra charges for a fourth person (if the driver decides to take you). Night Fares are higher than day fares. If you go outside of the ‘periph’, into the Paris ‘burbs’ like Boulogne, your fare is switched to a higher rate as soon as you cross the periph. So, don’t be surprised if you get centimed to death. And don’t forget the 10 percent customary tip!
So, what do the French do? They stay with their friends overnight. I am certain that any recent increases in the French population have to be due partly the difficulty of getting back home after a late night on the town.