Don't get me wrong. I'm a big fan of the public transportation system here in Paris and find myself hopping on and off subways, buses, and trains, often multiple times a day, with ease. I also regularly find myself on the RATP (short for Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens)Web site looking for the best way to get to there from here. And that, as they say, is when the real fun begins.
So take today, when I started plotting out what time I need to leave home to get to Versailles later this week for a guided tour. I put in the coordinates from my place on the western side of the city and got a route that included a ride on the metro, a transfer to the RER, another transfer to a SNCF operated suburban train, and a fourth transfer to a bus. Kind of like going to New York from DC by way of Cincinnati. I changed the requirements of my search to force it to take the route I already knew, just so I could get the right times for the departure, arrival, and one connection. Lesson learned: the system works as long as you know how to cheat it. I don't think I'll be sharing that one with my kids.