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Paris Metro Tickets

By | June 14, 2019 | in Metro Passes Tickets

Paris Metro Ticket 2018
Paris Metro tickets are white color paper tickets, currently the single-use/ride Paris Metro tickets, known officially as Ticket t+.

Update: These paper coupon-style tickets are gradually being phased out in 2019/2020 with the introduction of Navigo Easy, a preloaded Paris travel card for visitors and residents and Navigo Liberté+, a monthly billed pay-per-use card for residents. Sale of paper Paris Metro tickets like the one pictuerd above will continue until summer of 2020 when sales are scheduled to stop.

Paris Metro Tickets Valid For…

Paris Metro tickets are valid for travel on Paris transport/transit including:

  • Paris Metro (subway)
  • Paris RER Train (within Zone 1)
  • Tramways
  • RATP Paris city bus
  • Noctilien buses (night bus)
  • Optile buses (Paris suburban bus)
  • Montmartre Cable car (Funiculaire de Montmartre)

Paris Metro Ticket t+ is currently priced at 1.90€ for a single ticket ( as of June 1, 2019). A package of 10 tickets, a carnet [“car-nay”] costs 14.90€.

Transfers Allowed

Paris Metro tickets are valid for transfers on Metro for 2 hours after first validation. For Metro tickets used on a tram or bus, transfers are allowed for 1 hour 30 minutes after first validation. You cannot mix and match the transfers listed below, each bullet point should be regarded as separate transfer type. For example, you cannot transfer from Paris Metro to Bus. Paris Metro Ticket transfers are allowed between:

  • One Metro line to another, without exiting the confines of a station, or
  • Metro to RER trains, or
  • 2 RATP (city) Bus lines, or
  • 1 RATP Bus and 1 Optile (suburban) bus, or
  • Tramway and any bus lines that cross it, or
  • Noctilien (night) buses (except on Noctilien buses requiring special fares)

Notice that there are no “and“s in the above list. That’s on purpose. You can’t mix any of the above transfer situations.

Special note: single transit tickets purchased on buses, directly from drivers are not valid for any transfers at all and cost 2€. With these tickets you will not be able to transfer to another bus nor tramway.

Paris Metro Passes

For Paris Metro Passes read about Navigo Decouverte unlimited use weekly travel card, Navigo Jour unlimited ride day pass and the new Navigo Easy preloaded Paris transit ticket card introduced on June 12, 2019.

Other Paris Metro Tickets

  • Paris RER Ticket (officially known as a Billet Origine-Destination or Billet Ile-de-France)
  • Paris Ticket Mobilis – unlimited use day ticket/pass for zones selected (1-5)
  • Ticket Jeunes Weekend – unlimited use Paris day ticket/pass for under 26 years old (25 or younger), usable only on Saturday or Sunday, for zones selected (1-5)
  • Paris Visite – unlimited, multi-day, variable-zone ticket/pass


Paris Metro

By | June 6, 2019 | in Maps Metro

How to use Paris Metro subway

Paris Metro maps, schedules, tickets, passes, helpful travel tips.

Maps Hours Route Planner Single Ticket
Day Ticket Mobilis Multi-day Pass Paris Visite Week Pass Navigo How to Ride

Paris Metro symbolThe Paris Subway / Paris Underground has over 300 Paris Metro stations on 16 lines covering the 10x10km area of central Paris. [1][2] Metro Paris lines are numbered from 1 to 14 with two “bis” or secondary lines 3b and 7b.

Paris Metro Maps

Here you can download three different Paris subway system maps to help you see all 16 Paris Metro lines and help you plan a route:

a basic Paris Metro map of lines with stations and interchanges

a condensed small format Paris subway map

a Paris Metro map with city streets

Other Metro maps such as individual line maps can be downloaded directly from RATP.fr (in french).  Note that there are no Paris Metro Zones for the Metro system. Paris Metro is one zone.  Paris Metro map zones are for RER trains & trams which are subject to fare zones and are often shown on a Paris Metro map.

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Paris Metro Hours

Paris Metro hours run from roughly 05:30 to 00:40 (5:30am – 12:40am) Sunday thru Thursday and 05:30 – 01:40 on Fridays, Saturdays and on days before a holiday. Paris Metro times between trains range from 2 minutes during rush hour up to 13 minutes during late night hours, holidays, and Sundays, depending on the Metro line and the Metro station.  For example, Paris Metro line 1 time between trains ranges from 2 minutes in morning/evening rush hours to every 5 minutes after midnight (Metro Line 1 is arguably the most central & popular Paris Metro line).  The outer ends of Paris Metro line 13 which splits into two separate lines in the outskirts, late night trains can run as slow as every 13 minutes as trains alternate between each end, effectively halving the frequency of train service.  On average, expect 8-10 minutes between train times in the late evening and 2-4 minutes during rush hours.

Download a Paris Metro timetable showing first and last Paris Metro trains. Paris Metro hours change very little year-to-year and the RATP has stopped producing this full schedule in 2013 so this timetable of Metro Paris times is still useful to find Paris Metro opening hours and closing time. Times are approximate! This includes times of first train / last train of Paris RER A (Disneyland) and RER B (airport).


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Route Planning

The RATP offers a route planner via their website which can use street addresses, station names or well known locations to create a travel itinerary for you, including necessary connections and total travel time. Route options under “Criteria” can be chosen for fewest connections, least amount of walking and quickest route (the default).

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Tickets & Passes

The Paris tube has a wide variety of tickets available while I’ll describe in detail below: single ride tickets, books of 10 or 20, single day passes, multi-day passes, youth weekend passes, Monday to Sunday week passes, monthly passes and year passes.  Regarding fares for different zones: Paris Metro zones don’t exist! The entire Paris underground is one zone, unlike the Paris RER trains which have zones & different fares per zones traveled.  Even though a few Paris Metro stations are actually outside of Paris fare zone 1, a single Paris Metro ticket is still valid for travel from inside zone 1 and ending at a Metro station outside of Paris zone 1.

Paris Metro Prices

Paris Metro prices as of June 1, 2019 is 1.90€ for a one-way ride lasting up to 2 hours. There are a variety of Paris Metro tickets to buy and several Paris Metro Pass options shown in detail below.

Single Use Tickets

Paris Metro Ticket

Basic Paris Metro tickets are known as “Ticket t+”. These tickets are valid for a single continuous journey of any length throughout the Paris Metro system, including changes to other Metro lines and RER interurban trains within Zone 1. These tickets are sold as single one-way fares or in books of 10. If you want a return ticket, you simply buy two Metro tickets. Paris Metro tickets have no expiry; You can use them at any time in the future.

Tickets can be purchased from ticket windows inside stations or through automated ticket vending machines accepting Euro coins and smart chip credit cards. The single ticket price as of June 1, 2019 is 1.90€.

Books of ten, called a “carnet” [kar-nay], are sold at a discount for 14.90€ (1.49€ each, a little under 20% off the regular fare). Children from ages 4 to 9 years old (inclusive) can use reduced fare tickets, which are available only in books of 10, for 7.45€ per book of ten. Children 3 and under ride for free. Keep in mind that non-smart chip credit cards will not work at either the automated ticket machines nor at ticket windows, thus Euro cash or coin would be required.

Read more about Paris Metro Tickets and transfers allowed.

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Day tickets

Ticket Mobilis Day Ticket

A day ticket is called the Ticket Mobilis which is good for unlimited rides on the Metro system during operating hours for the day it is used. (Now valid for airports, see note below.) Physically it’s a coupon of about the same size as the Paris Metro Ticket t+.

Ticket Mobilis is available in various fare zone coverage from 1-2 zones to 1-5 zones. If you’ll be traveling strictly within central Paris, zones 1 & 2 cover the entire Metro system, and a 1-2 zone Ticket Mobilis is the recommended ticket. Price as of June 1, 2019 is 7.50€.

The complete price schedule for this Paris day ticket is as follows:

Price schedule courtesy of RATP

As the Ticket Mobilis can be purchased on one day and used someday in the future you must print the date of use on the ticket before use. To prevent people sharing tickets, first and last names are also required.

Note: Ticket Mobilis day pass is now valid for Paris CDG Airport and Paris Orly Airport where previously (2017 & prior) Ticket Mobilis was only valid for airports by using Paris airport bus 350 or Paris airport bus 351 for CDG Airport and buses 183 or 285 or Tram 7 for Orly Airport.  (Non-express city buses means 2x-3x travel time.)   This means that RER B train, Roissybus, Orlybus are all now valid for the Mobilis day ticket. (Orlyval train is still excluded from use of any multi-use ticket except Paris Visite.)  This changed when the Navigo Day Pass was introduced which did cover CDG Airport / Orly Airport (granted you purchase 1-5 zones and 1-4 zones, respectively) and cost the same as a Ticket Mobilis 1-5 zone cards.  It would have been an awkward situation to have two multi-use day tickets/passes, Navigo Day and Ticket Mobilis both costing the same price but not providing the same access to airports, so the RATP decided to make both equal in terms of coverage.

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Multi-Day Paris Metro Tickets

Multi-day tickets aimed at tourists and visitors are known as the Paris Visite, available in 3 zone and 5 zone versions, for 1, 2, 3 or 5 day lengths. Prices for duration and zones are as follows (updated as of June 1, 2019):

Price schedule courtesy of RATP

The Carte Paris Visite is a multi-use paper ticket coupon (similar to a Ticket Mobilis or Ticket t+). Formerly (prior to 2014) the Paris Visite also came with a black folding card which required the printed name of the bearer and the ticket coupon requires the card number and date of use to be written on in pen, as to avoid ticket sharing between passengers. This is no longer in practice as of mid-2014. You will only receive the white paper Paris Visite ticket itself.

Paris Visite Pass

Paris Visite Pass 5-day 3-zone

Discounts to attractions in and around Paris are included with the Paris Visite card. (See the discounts on Paris Visite.) To take advantage of the discount at the attractions, simply present your Paris Visite ticket during its validity period (which you must mark on the ticket itself using a pen, along with your first & last name).

Buy Paris Visite Online – You can buy Paris Visite tickets online for home delivery through the Paris Visitor Bureau website, but I wouldn’t recommend it due to the delivery cost. For USA/Canada/Australia/Japan (anywhere overseas) the cost of delivery is 24€ through DHL Express. In United Kingdom, delivery of Paris Visite is 14,50€. There is one free “delivery” option for buying Paris Visite online – pickup your Paris Visite at the Paris Visitor Bureau. But, I can’t imagine why you’d purchase Paris Visite online to have it delivered to the Paris Visitor Bureau, in Paris, which would require a Metro ride in itself, a trip that would likely take 90 minutes round-trip from your hotel. You could just purchase the Paris Visite at any Metro ticket machine or ticket window, anywhere in Paris, at CDG/Orly airports or at any of the major intercity train stations throughout Paris.

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Paris Metro Week Tickets/Passes

Week long tickets are sold in the form of plastic contactless smartcards known as a Navigo Pass or more precisely the Navigo Decouverte Pass. (Navigo Découverte is for visitors while the Navigo Pass with a photo & name of owner is for local residents).
Navigo Decouverte Pass

Navigo pass is valid for travel strictly from Monday till Sunday, rather than any continuous 7 day period, which makes it less attractive for visitors arriving mid-week.  You can buy Navigo for use in the current week from ticket windows at most Paris Metro, RER and large train stations up until Thursday 11:59 PM. Starting from Friday, week passes for the following week are on sale. The Pass Navigo Découverte week pass is not available from automated ticket vending machines. 4 different fare zones are available although nearly everyone will want all zones which covers central Paris out to zone 5 which includes CDG Airport & Disneyland.  The other three zones available (2-5, 3-5, 4-5) do not include central Paris. Navigo pass prices are as follows (Tarifs Semaine = Weekly Price, Tarifs Mois = Monthly Price, updated as of June 1, 2019):

Price schedule courtesy of RATP

Zones 1-5 will cover travel to & from Airports Charles de Gaulle (CDG) and Orly (ORY, by Orlybus, not Orlyval train), which are in zones 5 and 4 respectively and Paris-Versailles trains (zone 4).

The prices above do not include the 5€ fee for the plastic card itself, non-refundable, unlike the London Oyster card.

To purchase the pass Navigo Découverte you will be required to present and attach a face photo measuring 3cm tall x 2.5cm wide to the paper nominative card that comes in addition to the plastic smartcard.

Home printing of this photo, black & white or colour, is acceptable. You will be required to print your name on this card as well. After the paper card is completed a self-adhesive clear plastic cover is folded over the face of the card, protecting the picture and name of the holder. The contactless smart card and the paper card must be carried together to be valid for travel.

There is some confusion between the Carte Orange and Pass Navigo in terms of week passes. Carte Orange was previously a physical coupon like ticket (much like the Ticket Mobilis) and paper nominative photo card that is now no longer in use. This coupon and paper card has been replaced by the new contactless smart cards known as the Navigo Pass and Navigo Découverte Pass (for non-residents of France). The Paris regional transit authority has phased out the name “Carte Orange” as the name of the weekly or monthly “subscriptions” that you must purchase and “add” to your Pass Navigo or Navigo Découverte Pass.

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Riding the Paris Metro

Paris Airports

Paris airports are accessible via the RER train system, rather than the Paris Metro. See instructions on the RER B from CDG to Paris, Orly to Paris and Paris Beauvais Airport Train for more information.

Paris Stations & Metro Tickets

Most of Paris’ 300 Metro stations are located underground with a handful above ground. Stations are marked with various styles of signs as shown below.

Photo jmanners

Photo tinkerbells

Photo SarahR89

Some Metro stations are joined with large train stations (“gare”) serving other types rail transport such as intercity surface trains and RER regional express trains which travel both above and below ground. Some notable large stations within Paris serving all three types of train transport include: Gare St. Lazare, Gare du Nord , Gare de l’Est, Gare de Lyon, Gare d’Austerlitz and Gare Montparnasse. Most stations and Paris Metro lines are not handicap accessible save for a few exceptions . Stations have multiple entrances/exits, up to ten for the largest underground station, Chatelet Les Halles.

Photo Mirka23

Street maps are posted throughout central Paris providing information on the local district (“arrondissement”). These maps can be useful in locating nearby Metro stations.

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How to Buy tickets for Paris Metro

Learn how to buy Paris Metro tickets from automated Metro ticket machines, from staffed ticket windows or online at Paris Tourism and Convention bureau.

References
  1. STIF: Les Chiffes, 2005. “Le Reseau du Transports en Commun”. http://www.stif-idf.fr
  2. Extension of M14 & M13 lines in 2007 & 2008 has added 3 new stations, now totalling 300. http://extension-reseau.ratp.fr


Paris Metro (Subway)

By | August 1, 2016 | in Metro

Overview

  • Costs 1.90€ per journey (with an individual Ticket t+, price as of June 1, 2019)
  • Children 4-9, cost is 0.75€. Discounted individual children tickets no longer available.
  • Children 3 and under ride for free.
  • Books of 10 tickets are discounted: 14.90€ adults (1.49€ each), 7.45€ (0.75€ each) children 4-9 years old
  • Passes Accepted => Pass Navigo, Navigo Découverte, Paris Visite Card, Ticket Mobilis
  • First train in morning begins running at 05:30
  • Last trains in evening at 00:40. Last train on Fridays, Saturdays and nights before holidays 01:40

Paris Metro

The Parisian subway is known as the Metro, short for “chemin de fer Métropolitain” [metropolitan railway].  The network of underground rail lines has 245 stations scattered throughout central Paris’ 20 “arrondissements” [districts].

Tickets for the Paris Metro are purchased from blue or green “billetteries” [ticket vending machines] or from “guichets” [manned ticket windows] within stations. The current price ( as of June 1, 2019) for a single ticket known as a “Ticket t+” is 1.90€. Tickets can also be purchased as a book of ten or twenty, known as a “carnet” [booklet], for a slight discount (booklet of ten Ticket t+ is 14.90€ or 1.49€ each).

Paris Metro Ticket t+

During your journey, keep your ticket with you until you arrive at your destination station and pass through the exit gates or turnstiles.  “Controleurs” [ticket inspectors] may stop you at any point during your journey to ask to see a valid ticket or pass.  Failure to provide a valid fare will result in a fine of €35, payable on the spot through credit card.

Paris Metro stations are mostly located underground with a few above ground due to local geography. Entry into the Metro stations is free up until the turnstiles which mark the area from which you must have a valid transportation ticket or pass. Some station entrances are unmanned, having no ticket window nor ticket vending machines, only turnstiles which accept tickets and smart card passes (Pass Navigo) for entry.

Metro lines are numbered from 1 to 14, each a different color, with two “bis” [b or secondary] lines making 16 in total.

Each Metro line has two (or more) terminus stations. These end-of-line stations are used to note the direction the train is traveling. Each Metro line platform within a station will be marked with the line number and the direction the trains will travel from that platform.

Signs within Paris Metro stations mark the way to train platforms on a given line, in a given direction. Metro lines are signified by the letter M within a circle.There are several Metro stations that serve multiple lines in various directions. This causes some stations to have several vertical levels accessible sometimes only by stairs, but often with escalators and sometimes with elevators for extremely deep stations.

As you make you way toward the line platforms within a station, stairs often descend or ascend onto the either side of the rails.  Each stairwell is often marked with a detailed Metro line sign showing number, direction, and stations that will be visited as the train travels toward the terminus.

(photo by roboppy)

Exits from Metro stations are marked by blue “sortie” [exit] signs and often note the street or area they give access to.

(photo by kygp)

Stations often have several exits leading out to various streets and pathways.  There is often a map provided within the station, outside of the ticketed turnstile area, but still within the station, showing all exits in relation to above ground streets and establishments.

Links

Paris Metro

More Metro photos & information at nycsubway.org

Paris Metro Ticket Machine

By | June 2, 2016 | in Tickets

This is a step-by-step visual guide to ticket vending machines for the Paris Metro, Bus, Tram and RER.

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In the above photo we see a Paris Transit Authority ticket vending machine.  You’ll often find these machines just beside manned Metro ticket windows.  At large Metro stations such as Chatelet Les Halles or Gare de Lyon you’ll find these machines placed throughout the station, usually embedded into walls.

Machine Layout

Let’s analyze the layout of the machine clockwise from the red button.

The red button is the “No” or “Cancel” button.  When you’ve taken a wrong step, made an erroneous choice, press this button to go “back” or to answer “No” to a question.

The large display screen is not a touch screen, unlike Billetterie Ile-de-France ticket machines.  To make choices on the screen, we use the rollbar located directly beneath the screen.

On the right, (mostly cut-off from my poor picture taking,) is the debit card slot, with a pinpad just beneath it.  These machines accept debit cards, but not credit cards, and also euro coins through a slot, not visible in the picture.  Further right, again, not visible (sorry), is a purple Navigo pass card slot. Pass Navigo and Pass Navigo Decouverte cards can be loaded or charged at these machines.  Remember to remove the plastic protective cover from your card (if your card has one) before trying to insert the card.

Below that we have the green “Yes” or “Accept” button used to make selections.

Below the green Validez button is a ticket delivery slot, where bought tickets and receipts will be delivered upon completion of a purchase.

To the left of the Yes button we have the infamous roll bar.  Rolling this bar moves the selection “cursor” on the video screen.  Rolling this bar up with your hand moves to the next item “up” from the current position. Rolling the bar down, scrolls the highlighted item to the next item down on the screen.  To make a selection, press the green Validez (“Validate”) button.

Start / Welcome Screen

Let’s analyze what we see on the start screen, what you’ll see when you first arrive at the machine.

At the top left corner we see the RATP logo and what station you’re currently at (Chatelet Les Halles) along with which fare zone you’re in (zone 1). At the top right we have the current date and time.  You’ll notice that there is no language choice on this starting screen, but there will be one on the next page.

The Blue rectangle is the currently selected item or “cursor”. Upon start, the item selected is “Tournez le rouleau, puis appuyez sur valider” which in English is “Turn the rollbar, then push Validate”.

The starting screen has two selections:

  1. Buy tickets, coupons (“Acheter des tickets, coupons”)
  2. Recharge a Pass Navigo (“Recharger un passe Navigo“)

Rolling the bar upwards will move the blue “highlight cursor” to “Acheter des tickets, coupons”. Pressing the Green “Validez” button will select that item and bring you to the next screen.

Buying Tickets

To buy a Paris Metro ticket, also good for the bus or tram, roll the bar upwards to highlight “Acheter des tickets, coupons” then press the green button.

On this next screen we have four selections, the bottommost being language choices for this machine (“English, Español, Deutsch, Italiano”).  I did not make a language selection, so the rest of the screens are still in French.

First choice (already highlighted in blue) is Paris Metro Ticket t+ for the Metro, Bus and Tram in Paris, Second class (“2e classe”), Full Price (“Plein Tarif”).  These tickets are always Second Class, since First Class Metro cars no longer exist.  Full Price tickets means Adult Price, which is currently ( as of June 1, 2019) 1.90€ per ticket, bought singly. Children’s fares or half price tickets (“Demi Tarif or Tarif Réduit”) can be purchased through the Billets Ile-de-France, RATP, SNCF Autres coupons, Aeroports selection (3rd from the top).

Second choice is a booklet (“carnet”) of ten Paris Metro Tickets, again for Metro, Bus or Tram.  The total price for 10 tickets is 14.90€, making each ticket 1.49€, a discount of about 20% off the full price of 1.90€. I believe you can purchase a maximum of two booklets at once (twenty tickets total).  A booklet of 10 tickets for children 4-9 (inclusive) costs 7.45€.

Third choice is for reduced price tickets (for children or other discount pass holders) and Billets Ile-de-France (station to station tickets, destinations outside of central Paris) such as tickets to Airport Charles de Gaulle (10.30€ one way), and day passes such as Ticket Mobilis.

Fourth choice takes you to a languages selection page where you can change the language used by the ticket machine.

On the right side of the screen we see the current station (Chatelet Les Halles), the date, payment types accepted and min./max. values (debit card is accepted for purchases totaling 1€ or more, Euro coins up to 30€ maximum) and a note saying that this machine will make change.

On the next screen above we choose the quantity of individual tickets we’re wanting to buy.  Nine individual tickets is the maximum since ten would make a carnet, which is 20% cheaper. Roll the selection bar to the desired value and press the green Validate button.

Following the quantity selection we’re asked if we would like a receipt for the purchase. Useful if your travel costs are reimbursed.

Finally we come to the payment screen which unlocks the coin slot and the card reader checks for debit cards.  As far as I know, you cannot mix and match payment types, either all coins or all debit card.  North American debit cards will most likely not work.

If paying by debit card, you’ll have to enter your PIN number via the keypad to the right of the display screen.  These machines can be slow to read debit cards, so expect upwards of ten seconds for the machine to respond after inserting your card.

Once you’ve completed the payment of your purchase, your tickets and possibly a receipt will be dropped into the ticket collection slot below the green Validez button.

I’ll attempt to get some more screen shots of ticket vending machine usage in English and for purchasing Billets Ile-de-France for Aeroport Charles de Gaulle or Airport Paris-Orly.


Metro vs. RER

By | January 19, 2016 | in Metro RER

The Paris Metro vs. the Paris RER… what’s the difference?

The Metro isParis Metro symbol large

  • the Métropolitan chemin de fer (Metropolitan railway)
  • a subway/tube/underground train system
  • 16 lines, 1 through 14 plus two short secondary lines (3bis and 7bis) Paris Metro Line Numbers
  • just central Paris (see Metro map)
  • short distances between stations
  • one single fare zone (1.90€ as of June 1, 2019)
  • frequent but unscheduled service
  • mostly underground (subway/tube like)
  • no bicycles allowed on Metro, except on Metro Line 1 on Sundays and holidays

RER SignThe RER is

  • the Réseau Express Régionale (Regional Express Network)
  • a commuter train system
  • 5 lines, RER A through E
  • central Paris plus much of Ile-de-France (see RER line map)
  • used interchangeably with the Metro in central Paris
  • faster than the Metro, with fewer stops & greater distances between stations
  • separated into fare zones 1-5
  • tickets (billet origine-destination) are priced from station to station (when outside central Paris zone 1)
  • scheduled service (see RER schedules)
  • mostly above ground, except within central Paris
  • bicycles are allowed on the RER except during rush hour (not allowed between 6:30-9 AM and from 16:30 – 19:00)

Resources

Paris Metro in detail

Paris Metro Tickets

RER Tickets (Billet Ile-de-France)

(RER sign photo by Gregory Deryckère)



Ten Tips for the Paris Metro

By | July 30, 2008 | in Metro

Here are ten ways to ride the Paris Metro like a local (or better).

  1. Plan your route. Before making a trip, use a Metro map and the official RATP Paris Metro route planner to find the shortest route with the least number of line changes.  Station to station a Metro train will take just over a minute. Making connections will cost you about 3 minutes at small interchanges with few intersecting lines and up to fifteen minutes at mega stations Chatelet Les Halles, Gare du Nord, Gare Montparnasse, Saint-Lazare.  These stations are enormous, sprawling, multi-level, and likely confusing (especially Chatelet Les Halles). You could be walking up to a kilometer to reach the next train platform. If you’re changing trains more than twice, search for a more direct route.
  2. Don’t wait till Monday morning or the first day of the month to buy your Paris Metro tickets or  Navigo Semaine for the week.  The lineups for both vending machines and ticket windows are extremely long on these particular days, since Navigo Semaine expires on Sunday evening / last day of the month.  Thus, an unusually large number of people will be renewing their pass.
  3. Take the RER if you can, even if it means back tracking on the Metro.  With far fewer stops and higher speed, the RER is almost always faster than the Metro.  Use it as much as possible.
  4. At rush hour on the station platform, walk to the far end, furthest away from the entrance stairwell.  People tend to bunch up just next to the platform entrance, reducing your chance of getting on the train.  You’ll also get last second “jumpers” who push themselves onto the last metro car as the doors are about to close, squishing everyone else already on the over-packed car.
  5. Time flies: Most platforms have overhead signs showing minutes till the next train.  These are hardly atomic clocks.  2 minutes can mean immediate arrival or actually 6 minutes.  Don’t wander off in the meantime.
  6. Choose the best train car.  Many people stand at the edge of the platform near the rails to be closer to a car door when the train arrives thinking this will guarantee they get on. This is untrue.  Trains often arrive with cars which are full and no one is descending. If you happen to be waiting at the doorstep of such a train car, you’re not getting on. Furthermore, when you turn around to go to the next train door, you’re no longer at the head of the line, you’re at the rear, as everyone else behind you has turned toward the next train car as well, and you’re behind them.  By standing back, you can survey the train cars as they pass, allowing you to quickly move to the one that is not overly full and where there are people descending.  Stand back as the train arrives to watch multiple doors. Some train cars will have many people descending, some none at all.  Your best chance of getting on a busy Metro train is with a car somewhere in between these two extremes.  Standing back from the fray allows you to see the action from afar and choose the best train car.
  7. Take off your backpack & keep it near your feet/between your legs. You’ll take the personal space (at a premium on the Metro) of two people with it on your back.  It’s bad form, screams “ignorant tourist” and is more prone to having uninvited “inspections” for wallets and other valuables (not common, but possible).
  8. During rush hour, stand, don’t use the folding seats near the train doors, which allows more people to be crammed into the train car, a national past time in Paris.
  9. Prepare for takeoff: Make your way to the door (carefully) before the train arrives at your station. If this is not possible at least make motions that you’re getting off at the next stop.  Everyone reads that body language and will prepare to get out of your way when it’s time.  This allows you to alight quickly so that others have time to enter the train before it departs.
  10. Wash your hands after your journey. The amount of other people’s lives on handles and poles on a Metro train would make the monkey in Outbreak shudder.

(Photo by jmanners)