Monthly Archives: July 2011

How to get to Château de Versailles via Bus

By | July 20, 2011 | in Attractions

To get to Château de Versailles from Paris by bus, the first step is reaching the bus terminal at Pont de Sèvres Metro station, which is the terminus (last) station of Metro Line 9.

i) Getting to Pont de Sèvres (Metro line 9, direction Pont de Sèvres). Metro line 9 has many transfer points and makes Pont de Sèvres bus terminal easy to reach.

You can transfer to Metro line 9 from any of the following Metro lines and corresponding stations:

  • Metro line 1 at Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • Metro line 4 at Strasbourg St-Denis
  • Metro line 5 at Oberkampf
  • Metro line 6 at Trocadéro
  • Metro line 8 at Richelieu Drouot
  • Metro line 10 at Michel-Ange
  • Metro line 11 at Havre Caumartin
  • Metro line 13 at Miromesnil

You’ll take Metro line 9, direction Pont de Sèvres, to the final end station, i.e Pont de Sèvres. Upon arrival (follow the crowd and) walk to the adjoining bus terminal at ground level, which will be clearly marked within the Metro (usually by a blue circle with “BUS” inside). You can also follow red coloured Bus 171 signs within the Metro which will lead you up to ground level.

ii) At the Bus Station there are more than a dozen buses, but the bus you need to take is Bus 171.  Above is a photo of its departure at Pont de Sevres bus terminal and Chateau de Versailles is its last stop. The journey is roughly 30 minutes.

The price for the trip from Paris to Versailles depends on whether you began the journey on Metro or directly at Pont de Sèvres bus station.

If using regular Metro/Bus tickets (which are same type of tickets: Paris Metro Ticket T+) you’ll need two tickets with total cost of 3.60€, one way (price valid as of January 2015).  One ticket will be used for the Metro to Pont de Sèvres and another ticket for Bus 171 from Pont de Sèvres to Versailles, which is in Zone 4 and the Metro only covers Zones 1-2.

Side note: Regular Metro tickets, once used for the Metro, are never valid for transfers onto buses. Transfers from Metro to RER trains are permitted, as are transfers from bus to bus, but you cannot transfer from Metro/RER trains to buses or vice versa using the same Paris Metro ticket.  To complicate things a bit further, bus tickets purchased on board buses… are not valid for transfer, even from bus to bus and cost more, €2 vs. €1.80.

If you are within walking distance to the bus station, you’ll only need one Metro/Bus Ticket T+ for the bus ride 1,80 €.  As noted above, try to purchase a ticket before you arrive at the bus, since the driver will charge you 2€ if buying on board.  (Note: a carnet or booklet of single-use Paris bus/Metro tickets can be purchased at a slight discount, and it makes sense if you’ll be traveling to other places as the tickets are used for all forms of transportation within the city of Paris. See Paris Metro Tickets for more details).

Zone 1-4 day passes good for Metro, train, bus (Ticket Mobilis) and Zone 1-4 Navigo week passes are valid for travel to Versailles.  For Ticket Mobilis, which is actually a paper ticket, insert the ticket into the ticket reader/validator next to the driver, about the size of a tissue box, attached lengthwise vertically from a pole. The machine should light-up a green rectangle confirming the ticket is valid.  For Navigo cards, simply hold the pass against the purple part of the ticket reader/validator to validate your pass has the correct zones purchased.

To return from Versailles to Paris by bus you’ll need to take Bus 171 from the stop on the opposite side of the street from your arrival on Bus 171. It should be the first bus stop you encounter when walking directly back from Chateau de Versailles along Avenue de Paris. Here’s a Google Map view with the bus actually at the stop.

Prefer to travel via train? See: Paris to Château de Versailles via Train

Closest Metro Station to Moulin Rouge

By | July 19, 2011 | in Attractions

Moulin Rouge is located in the 18th arondissement at 82 Boulevard de Clichy. This is in the heart of Paris’ red light district with many adult oriented stores and cabaret shows. The closest Metro line to this tourist site is Blanche on Metro Line 2.

Moulin Rouge's famous windmill

(Photo credit by Kathy_Gene)

In 2009, the Moulin Rouge turned 120 years old, surviving a fire that occurred in 1915. This venue has seen various forms of entertainment throughout the years but it still performs what it’s best known for, cabaret and the can-can.

‘Gare Saint Lazare’ Train Station Photo Guide

This is a photo guide for Gare Saint Lazare train station in Paris. It is a connection point for both suburban and grande ligne trains.

Gare Saint-Lazare is one of six train stations in Paris. It is the terminus station for suburban and grand line trains including Transilien (2 lines- Lines J & L), intercités (3 lines- all lignes Normandes, and TER Haute Normandie (serving upper Normandy).

TER high speed train route

Gare Saint Lazare is centrally located close to the metro, RER E, and various bus stops. There is one bus stop on Rue de Rome and a bus station located close to the intersection of Place Gabriel Péri and Rue de Rome.

Outside to the train station you’ll find a column shaped sculpture of clocks.

Clocks Sculpture

This train station has been undergoing renovation since mid-2008 and is scheduled to complete at the end of this year, 2011. The Saint-Lazare Metro station has a dome shaped covering about 10 metres (~ 30 feet) from the front steps of the train station. This station services Metro lines 3, 12, 13, and 14. While underground you’ll find a path connecting the Metro station to Haussmann-Saint-Lazare station, which is a station for the RER E line.

There is a Vélib station located on the corner of Rue de Rome and Rue de Amsterdam, because of the volume of traffic that goes through this station it might be hard to get a bike at this location.

Inside the train station you’ll find 27 lanes (voies). Generally lanes 1-18 are servicing the suburban and intercity trains while lanes 19-27 servicing the Grand Line trains. You’ll see signs above the voies indicating what they are normally scheduled for.

This train station has an SNCF ticket outlet and also automated machines (for SNCF, TER, Ile-de-France tickets). There is an information desk open generally from 07:00 to 22:00 Monday to Fridays, 07:00-14:00 Saturdays, and 14:00-22:00 Sundays.

Ticket Validator

If you are using a billet origine-destination or a grande ligne ticket, you will have to validate it before getting on the train (Note: Some print at home tickets will not need to be validated and will be scanned once boarded). There are two different machines, one for billet origine-destination and one for grande ligne tickets.

This station has only one floor and does not have a luggage storage. It does however have a lost and found office located close to lane 27. The washrooms cost 0,50€ and are located in front of lane 23 & 24 and there are food kiosks within the station.

Hope you have a happy and safe train ride!

WC Sign Front view of Saint Lazare


Paris Transport Security & Safety Tips

Closest Metro Station to la Grande Arche de la Défense

By | July 18, 2011 | in Attractions

Google Map of Grande Arche

There are a few choices to get to the Grand Arch as La Défense is a major business district. The closest Paris Metro station to the Grand Arch in La Défense is La Défense on Metro line 1. Because of the importance of the region, it is a well serviced with the tramway (T2), SNCF Trains (intercity trains, 2 different lines) and the RER A.

Grande Arche de la Fraternité, La Défense - Paris

(Photo taken by Andrea T.)

At La Défense, you will find the largest mall in Paris, Les Quatres Temps. It has a wide range of stores from women’s clothing, sports and outdoor goods to DIY stores.

La Défense is located northwest of Paris. It’s on the outskirts of the City of Paris but falls under the Ile-de-France and straddles the municipalities of Courbevoie, Puteaux and Nanterre.

Paris Transportation Keywords (with Translation)

By | July 18, 2011 | in Attractions

Keywords used in the Paris Metro, RER, Trains, Trams and Buses

Accueil Information
Aller-Simple One way ticket
Aller-Retour Return ticket
Annulé Cancelled
Arrêt Stop
Arrivée Arrival time
Billet Ticket
Billeterie Automatic ticket terminal
Bagages Luggage
Carnet Book of tickets (bulk price)
Compostage Ticket validator
Consigne (Automatique/ Manuel) Luggage storage (Automatic/ Manual)
Controller Controller (transit enforcement)
Durée Duration (of journey)
Départ Departure Time
Dernier Last
En retard Late
En espèces Cash
Fiches (Horaires) (Timetable) sheets
Gare Station
Grande Ligne Grand Line or Main line trains
Horaires Timetable/ Schedule
Île-de-France Region of France that Paris and it’s suburbs is located in
Jeune Youth (normally ages 26 and below are considerred youths)
Jour (Férié) Day (Holiday)
Mensuels Monthly
Mois Month
Objets Trouvés Lost and Found Office
Premier(e) First
Prochain(e) Next
Prix Price
Semaine Week
Sortie(s) Exit(s)
Sites Touristiques Tourist Sites
Tarif (réduit) Fare rate (reduced)
Train Court Short Train (ie. less carriages)
Vente Selling Point (for tickets)
Voyageurs Passengers
Voie Lane

Have some words to add to the list? Please post them on the ParisByTrain Forum

‘Gare d’Austerlitz’ train station

By | July 18, 2011 | in Trains - Intercity stations

This is a photo guide of Gare d’Austerlitz train station in Paris.

Gare d’Austerlitz is located in Paris’ 13th Arrondissement, near Hôpital de la Pitié-Salpêtrière in the Google Map below:

Snapshot from Google Map

It is an intersection point for the Metro line 5 and terminus station for Metro line 10. The RER C line is also serviced by this station and is located on niveau -1 (ie. level -1). At Gare d’Austerlitz you’ll find both the suburban and grand line trains including Elipsos, Corail Lunéa, Aqualys, TER centre and Téoz.

Front of Gare D'Austerlitz

The station is in operation everyday from 5:30 to 0:00 (ie. midnight) except bank holidays. At Gare d’Austerlitz you’ll find an info kiosk, automated luggage storage and other amenities including three food outlets and a money exchange booth. Washrooms are available at 0,50€.

Arrivals and Departures with gate/lane number (voie in French)

Example of luggage information

Outside the station you’ll find a velib station (ie. self service bike rental), access to buses, car rentals, taxis and Boulevard de l’Hôpital. The automated luggage storage has different size compartments that can be rented for up to 72 hours. Please refer to the Paris Train Station & Airport Luggage Storage article for more information.

Luggage Storage Units in Gare d'Austerlitz


Paris Transport Security & Safety Tips

Paris to Château de Versailles by RER C Train Walkthrough

By | July 15, 2011 | in Attractions RER C

**Link to older Paris to Versailles Article. Click Here**

How to get to Château de Versailles from Central Paris

Option 1: RER C – Yellow line

Locate either train stations or metro stations in central Paris that will connect you to RER C, the yellow RER line. Listed below in the flowchart are all the RER C stations within Zone 1, their arrondissements and any connecting metro lines (ie. if you are closer to a metro station, you can hop onto any of the listed metro lines to get to the specific RER station). All RER lines fork and have several different end terminals, so you’ll have to pay attention to make sure that you’re on the right train. The terminus station to get to Château de Versailles is ‘Versailles Rive Gauche’ (listed as C5 on the RER map).

Listed are RER stations in Zone 1, with arondissement (district) and any metro connections to get to the RER and then Versailles.

Flowchart: How to get from Central Paris to Château de Versailles via RER C

Between central Paris and Versailles, you need to take the RER C Line in a way which will lead you to ‘Javel’ station and later to ‘Porchefontaine’ station. Since the line forks, it will really depend on where you start to know how many stations away Javel and Porchefontaine will be. These stations will indicate whether you’re heading in the right direction to end up at ‘Versailles Rive Gauche’.

Example: If you start at Avenue Henri Martin, you’ll need to pass Boulainvilliers, Avenue du President Kennedy and then Javel, if instead of passing Javel you hit Champ de Mars it means you’re going the wrong direction. This is an easy mistake to make and if that happens, just get off at the station and look for the signs in the station which go towards the right direction. Make sure not to exit the station or else you’ll need to use a new ticket over a common mistake.

Once you arrive at ‘Versailles Rive Gauche’, Château de Versailles will take about five minutes to walk to.

Ticket t+ cannot be used for this trip. Versailles is within the Île-de-France region. The ticket t+ is only valid on RERs within the city of Paris (ie. Zone 1). Instead you’ll have to get a ‘Billet Origine-Destination‘ to/from Versailles-Rive-Gauche at 4,10€ per direction (price current as of January 2013).

Note: If you plan to use any other forms of public transportation in the day, I recommend getting an unlimited Mobilis pass for the day from Zone 1-4; you’d only need to take one more round trip to make it worthwhile in terms of cost (pass costs 10,85€).

During normal working hours, ‘Versaille Rive Gauche’ station has someone selling tickets who may speak a bit of English. Be prepared for the language barrier by having a map handy and the places you need to get to written down.

Front of Versailles Rive Gauche Station

(Photo courtesy of Villemartin)

Otherwise, happy traveling! Getting to the station from Château de Versailles is just as easy, there’s clear signage to help you navigate back to the train station and then hop onto the RER C line to Paris and you’re set. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can always take the bus back too!

For more information, check out the ParisByTrain article: Château de Versailles by Bus.

Explanation: Train Stations in Paris

In Paris, a train station is known as a “gare“.  The word “station” in French generally refers to Metro stations. Buses and trams have stops or “arrêts“.

Gares serve surface level trains traveling in and out of the city of Paris to surrounding suburbs and further out to cities both nationally around France and internationally on either high-speed TGV lines (up to 320km/h or 200mph) or normal speed train lines (roughly 110km/h or 68mph).

There are seven commonly used gares within central Paris: Gare du Nord, Gare de l’Est, Gare de Lyon, Gare d’Austerlitz, Gare Saint-Lazare, Gare Montparnasse, and Gare de Bercy.

Paris Metro stations serve one or more Metro lines and some also serve RER trains while within central Paris (Paris transport zones 1-2).

Metro (ie. subway), RER (Réseau Express Regionale – ie. above/below ground light rail), and Tram: all form part of the light rail system serving central and suburban Paris.

The Metro and RER stations within Paris have both above & below ground stations (although most are below ground).  Trams of which there are three (soon to be four with more in the works) generally have only street level stops along the western (T2), southern (T3) and northern (T1) edges of Paris & suburbs.  The exception being stops near the terminus stations where these trams are often underground or within a building.

One confusing thing about gares in Paris are the multiple types of trains operated by different authorities. Suburban trains run by the Ile-de-France regional authority are Transilien branded trains.  But, they also operate RER branded trains that serve many of those same suburbs, usually making more frequent stops. RER A trains and RER B trains are run by the Paris regional transport authority (RATP).  All other RER trains are run by Transilien.

Intercity trains or “major trains” (ie. grande lignes in French) departing from gares often share the same train platforms with the regional RER and Transilien trains.  The brands of intercity trains include: TGV (France), iDTGV (France), TGV Lyria (Franco-Swiss), Thalys (Belgium/Netherlands/Luxembourg/Germany), Eurostar (London/Paris), ICE (Germany), Intercities (France), Ter (France) and perhaps soon AVE (Spain).

Important note: Within the city of Paris, you can almost always use a ‘Paris Metro Ticket t+, but if your destination requires the use of a suburban train, you will have to buy a ‘Billet Origine-Destination’ ticket, which is a station-to-station priced ticket. This means that a day trip to Versailles from Paris by train will require a ‘billet Origine-Destination’ (but a day trip to Versailles from Paris via bus can be paid for by ‘ticket t+’).

Hope this removes some of the mystery of Paris public transportation.