Best Tips on Using the Paris Metro

Paris can be a tough city to navigate, but don’t worry, even if you’ve never used public transport, this guide will help you get around Paris safely, quickly, efficiently and best of all without breaking the bank.

 

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Paris Public Transportation & Tickets

Paris has an integrated public transport system run by RATP that includes the Metro, RER (now just called the train) and buses.

The Paris Metro is one of the oldest in the world. With over 300 stations, you’re never very far from a Metro stop, and it is often the fastest way to get around the city.

Quick Tips for Taking the Metro in Paris:

  1. The classic rectangular ticket has been replaced with a credit card-sized travel card call Navigo Easy. We cover more about that below.
  2. The doors to the train do not always open automatically. You need to push the open button or unlatch in the older trains.
  3. You can (and many Parisians do) unlatch the doors to open them before the train comes to a complete stop.
  4. Paris Metro Lines are numbered, so if you’re in a station with more than one line and looking for Line 1 – just follow the number 1 signs.
  5. You’ll need to know the last station to know what direction you’re heading. There will be a list of stops on each platform, so it’s not hard to follow.
  6. The RER is now just called the Train. Lines A, B, C, D are a high-speed urban system that goes further outside than just central Paris. If your stops are on the RER/train line, it is a much faster option than the Metro, but it has fewer stops.
  7. The Paris Metro is open 530am – around 1 am (2 am on weekends/holidays)
  8. Keep Moving – When you board a train, move to the center. When you get off a train, move away from the doors if you need to figure out which way to go. There is almost always someone behind you, so don’t prevent them from getting on or off a train.


Tickets are priced on a zonal system, so you need to know what zone you are heading to. Most of the sights are within zones 1 and 2. Read our guide on what Metro station is closest to popular attractions below.

Cost of Public Transportation in Paris

In the summer of 2019, Paris introduced the Navigo Easy card. A credit card-like travel card that you can load tickets (think Oyster Card in London or SmarTrip card in DC). There is a 2€ fee to purchase this card.

  • A single ticket for zones 1 and 2 costs 1.90€.
  • A great idea is to buy a Carnet of 10 tickets for 14.50€. These can be used throughout your stay with no expiration date.
  • A Carnet of 10 tickets for children (4-10 yrs) costs 7.50€
  • Children under the age of 4 ride Free.

You can get unlimited Metro rides for free with the Paris City Pass. This discount pass offers reduced or free admission to many top attractions, and includes unlimited public transportation in central Paris! Read more about it here.

Paris Tourist Discount Pass

How to Use Public Transportation in Paris

FINDING A STATION:

To find a Metro station in Paris is simple; some of the older stations are preserved for their historic architecture! Look for the lampposts or wrought-iron entryways that have METRO or METROPOLITAN written on them.

Paris Metro Station

To know where you want to go, you can use our quick stop guide to popular stations below. It is also very helpful to keep a Metro map on your phone or with you. You’ll find them in each station as well. You’ll want to know which stop you plan on getting off at, and the direction of the train (it is labeled based on the last stop).

If you need to change trains, look for stations denoted by a white circle, which will then have the different train lines that stop there underneath. Stations where you cannot transfer are solid circles.

Not sure where you need to go? Many stations have interactive computers where you can put in your destination to figure out the best way to get there!

Paris Metro Station Map

 

BUYING A METRO TICKET IN PARIS:

The ticket machines in the stations can be set to English and are easy to use. They accept cash or credit card (though for Americans, make sure it’s a chip & pin card!)

When entering the Metro and RER/train stations, you will need to insert a ticket into the automatic barriers or if you’re using the Navigo Easy card, just tap the top. This will stamp your ticket.

Keep the ticket for the duration of the journey in case you get stopped by an inspector. On the buses, there are automatic machines to validate your ticket.

T+ Single Ticket Paris Metro

Lines are numbered color-coded on both the Metro and the RER/train – Metro lines are numbered, and RER/trains are lettered.

The direction of the train is indicated by the name of the last station on that line, so to get the train in the right direction you will have to know what the last stop on the line is in the direction you want to go.

There are RATP maps in each station by the ticket machines before you go through the barriers and on each platform.

If you wish to plan in advance, check out this interactive RATP map.

Official Paris Metro Map

Click image for a Full-Size Map

WHAT IS THE NEAREST METRO STOP TO…

  • Louvre – Louvre Rivoli or Palais Royal Musée du Louvre – Metro Line 1, Chatelet Les Halles – RER/train A.
  • Musee d’Orsay – Solferino – Metro Line 12 , Musee d’Orsay – RER/train C
  • Eiffel Tower -Champ de Mars / Tour Eiffel on line RER C., Ecole Militaire – Metro Line 8, or Bir-Hakeim – Metro Line 6
  • Arc de Triomphe – Charles de Gaulle Etoile – Metro Line 1 2 or 6, RER/Train
  • Champs d’Elysee – Concorde – Metro lines 1, 8, 12), Champs-Élysées – Clemenceau  – Metro lines 1, 13, Franklin D. Roosevelt – Metro lines 1 and 9), George V – Metro line 1,  Charles de Gaulle Étoile – Metro lines 1, 2, 6
  • Montmarte – Anvers – Metro Line 2, Abbesses – Metro Line 12, Blanche – Metro Line 2 (tickets are also good on the funicular to get to the top of the hill to visit the Sacre-Couer
  • Notre Dame – St-Michel Notre Dame – RER B Train Line, St-Michel Notre Dame – RER C Train Line, or Cité – Metro Line 4

 


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Getting to Paris from:

Charles de Gaulle (Zone 5)

The RER B train line (the thick blue line on the map) runs straight into Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 (if you arrive at terminal 2, follow the sign marked walkway to Terminal 2 station.

Read our guide on how to get to CDG Airport from Paris…


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Orly (Zone 4)

The OrlyVal shuttle train takes you from both airport terminals (West and South) to Anthony on the RER B (the thick blue line).

Unfortunately, this is the exception to the rule and is not covered by other Paris transport tickets so you will need a separate ticket even if you have a pass for the rest of the system.

Tickets can be purchased from the airport terminal stations for the OrlyVal train and RER B into Paris. This costs 12.05€ (at the time of writing).

The OrlyVal trains run from 6am – 11pm and the RER from 5am – midnight.

The OrlyVal link takes 10 mins to and from Anthony.

From Anthony, the RER B will take you to Sant Michel (20 mins), Châtelet-Les-Halles (25 mins) and Gare du Nord (30 mins).

Be aware trains when returning to Orly the RER B splits. Some trains go to Robinson and do not pass through Antony. You will need to take a train heading towards Saint-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse which will pass through Antony.

If you’d rather avoid public transportation, the GO Airport Shuttle offers reliable 24/7 airport shuttles and car service from Charles De Gaulle, Orly and Beauvais airports. With upfront pricing, you’ll know exactly how much it will cost before you hop in!


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Beauvais (Outside of Paris Zones)

Many low-cost airlines fly to Beauvais, but be aware the airport is 80km (55 miles) from the city.

The airport shuttle bus is timed to coincide with flights rather than having a regular timetable. The bus takes about 1 hour 20 mins direct between the airport and the shuttle stop at Boulevard Pershing (near the Hotel Concorde Lafayette). It’s about 300m from the Porte Maillot station exit. (This is the stop during construction at Porte Maillot station, be sure to check the location in case it moves back to Porte Maillot before we can update this page)

Buses leave the airport (Terminals 1 & 2) 20 mins after each flight lands and leave Porte Maillot 3 hours before every flight.

You do not have to be on the bus scheduled for your particularl flight, if another leaves 5 mins later, you are free to take that bus, but be aware that if the next bus is not for 3 hours, then you will be stuck and probably miss your flight.

Single one-way tickets cost 17€ (free for children under 3) if purchased at the Airport or 15.90€ if purchased online.

When returning to Beauvais from Paris the bus leaves from the coach park on the Boulevard Pershing (near the Hotel Concorde Lafayette). It’s about 300m from the Porte Maillot station exit.

If you’d rather avoid public transportation, the GO Airport Shuttle offers reliable 24/7 airport shuttles and car service from Charles De Gaulle, Orly and Beauvais airports. With upfront pricing, you’ll know exactly how much it will cost before you hop in!


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Gare du Nord (Zone 1)

If you’re arriving in Paris by Eurostar or train from the north, the main station Gare du Nord is very centrally located and well connected by Metro (line 4 & 5) and RER (line B & D).


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Day Trips from Paris:

Day Trip to the Palace of Versailles (Zone 4)

Louis XIV’s palace is 1 hour from the city center using the yellow, RER C (for example from Sant Michel station, see the RATP map for the best RER C station from your Paris base).

There are several Versailles stations. The best one for the Palace is Versailles Château Rive Gauche. You can buy an integrated ticket to Versailles Château Rive Gauche from any central Paris station for 7.10€* (at the time of writing)

*NB you will get two tickets – one for the outbound and one for the return journey.

When arriving at Versailles Château Rive Gauche exit the station and turn right towards the Palace. There will be others heading in the same direction.

The palace is open 9am – 5.30pm year-round.

The incredible gardens are open 8am – 6.30pm year-round, but be aware the fountains are only active on certain days when there is an additional charge, and in winter many of the fountains and sculptures will be covered to avoid weather damage.


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Day Trip to Disneyland (Zone 5)

The RER A (the thick Red line on the map) terminates at Marne La Valee station by the entrance to Disney Village and the theme parks.

The main RER A stations are Châtelet or Etoile (but check the nearest station to your accommodation).

Return tickets cost 7.20€ (at the time of writing).

Trains run from 5.30am – midnight every 15 mins.


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