Paris Transport Guide

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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.

RATP – Paris Public Transportation

Paris has an integrated public transport system run by RATP. 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.

single-ticket-paris-metroThe RATP includes the Metro system, RER train system and buses.

Cost of Public Transportation in Paris

  • 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€

How to use Public Transportation in Paris

metro-ticket-machineThe ticket machines in the stations can be set to English and are easy to use.

When entering the Metro and RER stations you will need to inset a ticket into the automatic barriers. 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.

Both the Metro and RER lines are color coded. The direction of the train is indicated by the name of the last station on that line, so in order 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.

ratp-map

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Arriving in Paris

Before arriving in Paris make sure you know where you are staying and what is the closest Metro or RER station. This will help you plan your route. The following are the most common and easy ways to reach the city center from the Airports and Eurostar terminals. For most people this will be the best way to reach your accommodation, use the interactive RATP map to plan your route from the center to where you are staying.

Getting to Paris from:

Day Trips from Paris to:

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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.

There are trains which stop at less stations but any train you take will stop at the main interchanges: Gare du Nord (25 minutes), Châtelet-Les-Halles (30 mins), Sant Michel (35 mins) Denfert-Rochereau (40 mins).

The ticket costs 10€ (at the time of writing) and can be purchased from the machines or from the English speaking staff at the airport stations. Be aware that the tickets machines at Charles de Gaulle only accept French Bank Cards or coins, you cannot insert bills, if you don’t have coins or a French bank card, pay from the staff at the counters (they do accept foreign cards and bills).

Your ticket must be inserted into the automatic barrier to access the train (just watch a local and copy them if you’re unsure).

Trains run every 10-15 mins from 5am to midnight.

Be aware that when returning to Charles de Gaulle Airport not all RER B trains from Paris end at the airport. The line splits and some trains go to Mitry which is not close to the airport.

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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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)

beauvais-airport-bus-stoop-mapMany 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 Porte Maillot station on the RER C (the thick yellow line) and Metro line 1 (thin yellow line).

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 particularly 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 at probably miss your flight.

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 Trip to the Palace of Versailles (Zone 4)

Louis XIV’s luxuriant 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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