Paris RER

By | November 14, 2019 | in RER

The Paris RER is 5 express train lines connecting Paris city centre to surrounding suburbs. In Paris the RER acts as an express underground or subway train. Beyond Paris city centre, the Paris RER is a ground level commuter train connecting outlying suburbs and popular destinations such as CDG Airport (RER B), Disneyland Paris (RER A) and Versailles (RER C) to the heart of Paris.

RER B at CDG Terminal 2 train station

RER B at CDG Terminal 2 train station

The RER Paris has 5 train lines:

Paris RER Maps

The public transit authority of Paris (RATP) offers multiple RER maps that can be downloaded here:

Paris RER First & Last Trains – Schedules & Timetables

Paris RER trains operate as a scheduled service, unlike the Paris Metro.

Here are some examples of first and last Paris RER trains to popular destinations:

CDG Airport Terminal 2 to Paris, Gare du Nord station

  • First RER B train leaves CDG T2 at 4:50 a.m. and arrives in Paris at 5:26 a.m. at Gare du Nord
  • Last RER B train leaves CDG T2 at 11:50 p.m. and arrives in Paris at 12:26 a.m. at Gare du Nord

Paris RER to CDG Airport Terminal 1 / 2

  • First RER B train leaves Paris Gare du Nord at 4:53 a.m. and arrives CDG T2 at 5:31 a.m.
  • Last RER B train leaves Paris Gare du Nord at 12:15 a.m. and arrives CDG T2 at 12:50 a.m.

RER A Paris to Disneyland (Marne La Vallée station)

  • First RER A train leaves Paris Chatelet les Halles at 5:18 a.m. and arrives at 6:00 a.m. at Disneyland
  • Last RER A train leaves Paris Chatelet les Halles at 12:36 a.m. and arrives at 01:15 a.m. at Disneyland

Disneyland to Paris, Chatelet Les Halles

  • First RER A train leaves Disneyland at 5:13 a.m. and arrives at 5:54 a.m. at Paris Chatelet les Halles
  • Last RER train from Disney at 0:24 a.m. and arrives at 1:03 a.m. at Paris Chatelet les Halles

Full Paris RER Timetables for download and print can be found here:

Paris RER schedules can be confusing to read. Here are some instructions on reading Paris RER train timetables.

Paris RER Tickets

Paris RER trains use two different types of tickets depending on which part of the RER network you will be traveling. When taking a RER train strictly within central Paris Zone 1 (visible in the first RER Map), you can use basic Paris Metro tickets for travel on the RER. Travel beyond Paris Zone 1 on the RER requires a special ticket: a Billet Ile-de-France.

Paris RER tickets (Billet Ile-de-France) are similar to the one shown here:

cdg-airport-rer-ticket

Paris RER ticket prices are determined station to station for travel beyond Zone 1 and range from 1.90€ to upwards of 12.10€. Some example trip RER fares (prices valid as of Nov. 1, 2019):

Tickets for the Paris RER can be purchased at any RER or Metro station ticket window or ticket vending machine. Paris Metro ticket machines can appear like the following:

Paris Metro ticket machines

Metro ticket vending machines may also be white or purple in colour. The above bank of ticket machines in particular only takes credit card and debit card payments, but normally coins are accepted at the vending machines.

Paris RER ticket vending machines may appear like the following:

Paris RER Ticket Machines in Gare du Nord

These machines are known as Billetterie Ile-de-France and can also be blue in colour.

Do not try to purchase Paris RER tickets from Grandes Lignes TGV ticket machines which only sell/exchange TGV & intercity train tickets:

France TGV & Intercity Train ticket machines in Gare Montparnasse

RER Train Passes

Paris RER train passes include the following:

Paris RER travel passes (known as Pass Navigo) are subject to fare zones, split into either an all zone pass (the default which includes zones 1 through 5) or sub-zone passes excluding central Paris (zones 2-5, 3-5, 4-5), which determine the price of the multi-use pass or ticket. The above transit passes are valid for travel not only on RER trains, but also on the Paris Metro and Paris Buses, Trams & Transilien trains within the fare zone you have purchased.

Day Tickets

The Ticket Mobilis day ticket looks like this:

Ticket Mobilis

This particular day ticket is valid for zones 1 & 2 (the minimum possible), which as of Nov. 1, 2019 costs 7.50€. Mobilis tickets can be bought in various zone coverage, from 1-2 zones to 1-5 zones covering CDG/ORY airports and Disneyland. Note the writing spaces on the top left hand corner? To be valid for travel those fields should be completed in ink with: date in format dd/mm/yy (Valable le), last name (NOM), and first name (Prénom).  Read more about the Ticket Mobilis day tickets.

Navigo Jour Day Pass is another option for unlimited rides for a day on Paris RER trains. Navigo Day passes are put onto the same card as Navigo week passes. The price for Navigo Jour Day pass is now the same as Ticket Mobilis day tickets and have the same coverage options, from 1-2 to 1-5 zones, with access to Paris Airports CDG and ORY. Read more on the Navigo Day Pass page.

Multi-day Passes

The Paris Visite ticket is a coupon like ticket which looks like this:

Paris Visite 5 day ticket

The Paris Visite ticket is available in only two zone choices: 1-3 or 1-5. (To travel from CDG or Orly Airports to central Paris, you’ll need the 1-5 zone Paris Visite ticket). Paris Visite can be purchased with 1, 2, 3 or 5 days of use.

Remember to complete the blank lines of requested information on the ticket coupon before using the Paris Visite ticket, which is last name (NOM), first name (PRENOM), first use date (DU which means “from”) and valid until (AU which means “to”) with a format of: dd/mm (day before month).

Paris Visite Prices (as as of Nov. 1, 2019) range from 12€ for 1-day 1-3 zones to 65.80€ for 5-day 1-5 zone, good for CDG Airport, Orly airport, Versailles, Disneyland, Fontainebleau and everything within Paris Zone 5.

For all Paris Visite prices and information see Paris Visite passes.

Week Passes

Paris RER week passes are known as Navigo Decouverte (a physical card) that must be purchased along with a week long “subscription”, such as Navigo Week or Navigo Semaine in French. The Navigo week pass provides unlimited travel within certain zones, all 1-5 Paris Fare zones by default. You can choose smaller zones outside central Paris, such as zones 2 to 5, 3 to 5, 4 to 5, if you were travelling only from say a Hotel near Disneyland at Val d’Europe and Disneyland Park, which a Navigo 4-5 zone would cover. The physical Navigo card itself costs 5€. The Navigo Week price is 22.80€ on top of the 5€ card fee.

A standard 1-5 zone Navigo Decouverte covers popular destinations like CDG Airport and Paris Disneyland, both in Zone 5 and Versailles Chateau in Zone 4.  (Prices current as of Aug 1, 2019.)

This week pass system works strictly from Monday start of service, till Sunday end of service, not an arbitrary seven day period. If you arrive in Paris on Thursday, you have until midnight to purchase a Navigo week subscription. Starting on Friday, passes for the following week (valid starting Monday morning) will be on sale.

The Navigo Decouverte pass is a radio frequency (RF) card roughly the size of a credit card and has no identifying information on it:

Navigo Decouverte card 2019
 

Each plastic Navigo card also comes with a paper identification card which is meant to hold your hand written name and a face photo of the traveler measuring 3cm tall by 2.5cm wide. Note that some Paris Metro ticket agents request that you use a color photograph as opposed to black and white, although this isn’t stated in the rules & regulations.

The paper identification card has a peel-off sticky spot to hold your photo in place. You should already have a photo with you when purchasing the Navigo Découverte card at Metro or RER ticket windows. The photo should be color, either professionally done or home printed and trimmed to the required 3cm x 2.5cm size. Automated, coin operated photo booths can often be found in larger Metro, RER and train stations within Paris, charging roughly 5€ for 4 photos. Paris transit ticket window workers often have scissors handy for trimming your photo for use on the Navigo card.

Restrictions on Passes

Some restrictions apply to the use of the above passes:

  • Ticket Mobilis and Navigo passes (Day or Week) are not valid for travel on the Orlyval train to Paris-Orly Airport from Antony station on the RER B line. Use the Orlybus or Tram 7 instead.

Paris RER Stations

The look of Paris RER stations signs vary. Below are photos of several RER station signs:

RER Transilien train station sign
This station combines both a RER train and Transilien train station (marked with a T in a leaf symbol). Many of the RER stations outside of zone 1 are combined RER / Transilien train stations.

Paris RER Metro Sign
Combined Metro RER stations are common throughout central Paris and are often marked with signs showing both Paris Metro and Paris RER symbols like the photo above.

RER Station entrance sign
Above is a photo of RER station Bry-sur-Marne which is a classic RER station sign.

RER Sign
When several RER train lines are served at a single station often the RER sign shows which RER lines are at the station like in the above photo.

(Photo courtesy of Gregory Deryckère).

Paris RER stations are often shared with Metro lines such as at Paris’ largest underground station, Chatelet Les Halles. In the below photo the sign shows RER A, RER B and RER D along with five Paris Metro lines 1, 4, 7, 11 & 14 in one Paris station – Chatelet Les Halles:

Chatelet les Halles Metro RER lines sign

RER stations in Paris can also be found within large train stations (gare) such as Gare du Nord. Here is an example of a combined Transilien & RER sign at Gare du Nord showing lines RER B, D & E:

RER sign at Gare du Nord

Inside of a RER train station, access to the train platforms is restricted by the use of turnstiles or double door gates. Below is a photo at Auber Paris RER station of turnstile barriers accepting both paper tickets and Navigo passes:

Paris Metro RER Turnstile

Below is a photo of gate style barriers in use at Paris RER station Marne la Vallée Disneyland:
Paris Metro RER gate barrier

Things to note in the above RER station turnstile/barrier photo:

  • Turnstiles or gates are usually marked with either green lights & arrows or red circular lights and X’s. Only green marked turnstiles can be used for entry. The red marked gates such as the gates on the right of the below photo are for passengers exiting the fare paid area.
    Paris Metro RER exit gates
  • Certain turnstiles are reserved for Navigo pass card holders. Navigo reserved barriers are marked on the front usually with a ticket crossed out. There is also no ticket slot on these reserved turnstiles and access will only be given to Navigo pass card holders.
    Navigo Turnstile Paris

    By Greenski

  • Using Tickets: Normal turnstiles and barriers have a small ticket slot which will be on your right side when entering a turnstile. Insert your ticket into the slot, magnetic stripe down. The ticket will be read for validity and ejected for you to retrieve near the top of the turnstile. You must retrieve the ticket before the gate or turnstile will open or operate. If you’re using a double door barrier gate, after inserting your ticket in the front approach the gates, retrieve your ticket from the top and wait patiently for the gate to open, then pass through. These gate style barriers can often be slow in opening. But, do not back out and try your ticket again as tickets can only be successfully used for entry once, which prevents ticket “pass-back”. Simply stand close enough to trigger an electronic eye which senses the presence of a traveler.
  • Using Passe Navigo cards: As you enter a turnstile, the top right hand portion of the barrier will have a purple area meant for reading Navigo pass cards. Simply place your Navigo card on top of this area and wait for a “ding” or high pitched short buzzing to signify your card has been successfully read. If the barrier is a double door gate, approach the doors and wait for them to slowly open. Turnstiles are often faster to pass through since you provide the force to open the barrier, rather than these tired machines. The following is a photo of the Navigo pass card reader area found on turnstiles.
  • Navigo Turnstile Card Reader (photo courtesy of RATP).

Finding your RER Train

Once past the turnstiles you need to make your way to the correct Paris RER platform where you’ll be able to board the train. Within RER stations, signs will note lines along with direction of travel, which is denoted by the final or terminus station for the line. Here is an example Paris RER A sign:

RER stations line map sign

Things to note in the above photo:

  • The top left corner designates which Paris RER line, in this case, RER A.
  • The names to the right of the line indicate the direction for this platform. There are two: Boissy-St-Léger and Marne-la-Vallée (Paris Disneyland).
  • In this particular example there are two end points or directions for RER A trains using this one train platform, thus we need to refer to an overhead station panel on the train platform itself to determine the final destination of the next train.

On the train platform you will find overhead station panels such as this:

RER overhead station stops panel RER A

Things to note about the above RER station panel:

  • Station names are either lit with a yellow square or dark. Lit RER stations will be stopped at by the next RER train passing through.
  • In the above photo, the next RER A train into the station is going to Marne La Vallée, as opposed to the Boissy-St-Léger terminus since the station name Marne La Vallée–Chessy is lit with a yellow square. The train to arrive after the next train will likely go to Boissy-St-Léger. If your desired stop isn’t shown, wait until the next train departs station and watch this overhead station panel to update with the next RER train station stops served to know / to check where the next RER train is going.
  • RER trains will generally always stop at RER stations within central Paris Zone 1 (visible on the RER Map with zones). RER stations outside central Paris may or may not be served by RER trains depending on their route or whether they are “Express RER trains” making only a few stops before arriving at their final destination.
  • The Train Court square at the bottom right hand corner, when lit, signifies that the next train will be “short” meaning it will have fewer train cars than the length of the platform. It would be wise to stay away from the ends of platform when the next train is court as you’ll need to run towards the middle of the platform to get onto the fewer train cars available.

Below is another example of a newer overhead RER B station stops panel.

RER B Station Stops Panel
The RER station stops panel above shows:

  • final destination / direction on the top left – Massy – Palaiseau in this case
  • wait time till next train or “attente“: 2 minutes in this case
  • the route or mission name on the top right: KNUT92. These route/mission names are listed on RER timetables/schedules. Route / mission names vary depending on the stops the RER train will make. Memorizing which stops apply to which routes allows you to know which stops the train will make based on this four to six letter/number code.
  • the lit squares indicate stops this RER train will make

Riding RER Trains

Paris RER train doors do not open automatically. Whether you’re getting on or getting off, you’ll need to activate the train car doors through a button located on the handle near the middle of the double doors (unless someone pushes the button first).

On board the RER train itself, there will often be folding seats near the doors themselves, which should be used only when there is room to do so. Obviously at rush hour, these seats should remain up to allow as many passengers board the train as possible.

Above the doors of each RER train car are RER line maps showing all stops along the current RER line. At times these maps can be active, showing a flashing light beside a station name designating it as the next stop, with lit station names showing the path of travel, dark station names showing stations already passed. At other times, the maps will be simple stickers showing all stations and connecting Metro lines and large train stations along the route.

Exiting RER Stations

Upon arriving at your desired RER station, you need to alight the train car (remembering to open the door using the button) and make your way past the turnstiles and barriers. RER stations often require the use of tickets and passes while exiting RER stations, using the same turnstile barriers as when entering, but in reverse. This is a measure against travelers paying less than the appropriate fare for their travel. There is little preventing passengers from buying a lower cost fare, boarding a RER train and riding it beyond the fare’s validity. Forcing riders to use their tickets or passes to exit RER stations and random checks by ticket controllers, doling out penalty fares of around 35€ per infraction, are the few measures against improper use of the RER.

Many Paris RER stations have multiple exits (sorties) which can be up to ten minutes walk apart (such as at Chatelet Les Halles). Exit maps can be found near station exits which help you get your bearings before leaving the station. Exits will be marked in blue and often have a number and exit number associated with them:

Popular Paris RER Routes

FAQ

What time does the RER Open?

The RER opens between 5:20-5:30AM in central Paris.

How often does the RER run?

The RER runs from 6 minutes to 15 minutes between trains during rush hour and off-hours.

What time is the first RER B?

The first RER B is 4:50AM from CDG Terminal 2 to Paris. The first RER B from Gare du Nord Paris to CDG is 4:53AM. See full RER B timetable.

Can I buy RER tickets at Metro stations?

Yes, you can buy RER tickets at any Metro station ticket office.

Questions? Suggestions?

If you have questions about the Paris RER information presented here, don’t hesitate to ask for help on the Paris By Train Questions and Answers page where I or some other knowledgeable traveler will get back to you with an answer.

What Next?


Author: Ben Lam
Hi my name is Ben and I’m the creator & author of Parisbytrain.com. I want to empower you with the knowledge & confidence to travel Paris like a local through personally researched, in-depth articles like CDG to Paris by train and the Paris Metro. I moved to Paris in 2006 and started Parisbytrain.com in 2008 to share what I’ve learned about the vast & comprehensive Paris train network. Have Paris train questions? Ask them here. Have a great visit to Paris!
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Paris RER was last modified: November 15th, 2019 by Ben Lam