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Which Paris Metro Pass to Buy

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When in Paris, it can be a challenge to figure out which Metro pass to buy. This post will provide information about buying transit passes in Paris, including details about ticket types and prices.


OVERVIEW

With the sprawling transit network in and around Paris, there are many different types and prices of tickets. RATP is the name of the agency that manages public transit in and around Paris, so you will get used to seeing its logo as you make your way around the city.

, via Wikimedia Commons" src="https://freetoursbyfoot.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/800px-Paris_metro_Chatelet_2.jpg" alt="Paris metro Chatelet" width="600" height="399" data-wp-pid="169256"> Andrzej Otrębski, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

The RATP website has lots of helpful information in English, including trip planner, maps, and links to its apps.

In general, most visitors should be able to see everything they want with individual t+ tickets, whether they are the old-fashioned paper ones or electronic tickets loaded on a smart card (called Navigo Easy).

There are also many different kinds of passes, some of which can save you some serious money and hassle: The Paris Visite pass comes in 1-day, 2-day, 3-day and 5-day versions and can be ordered for either zones 1-3 (Paris proper) or zones 1-5 (which includes the airports, Disneyland Paris and Versailles).

There is also the Mobilis one-day pass, which you can get for different numbers of zones. Navigo offers weekly, monthly, and annual passes, and several different passes specifically for those 25 and younger.

Tickets can be on paper, on cards, and even on your phone using the Vianavigo app. Are you confused? Don’t worry - we’ll break down the different options so you can figure out what works best for you for getting around Paris.

Before we get started, here’s the deal: Everyone aged 4 and older needs a valid ticket to use public transit in Paris. Children ages 3 and younger ride for free.

 


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TICKET TYPES AND PRICES

There are a few different types of standard tickets available, so you’ll have to consider where you plan to go and how long you plan to spend there.


Single Tickets

The simplest way to get around is to purchase single paper tickets, called t+, available from ticket windows and sales kiosks (sometimes labeled Vente) in Metro and RER stations.

You can also buy 10-packs of tickets (known as un carnet) at tourism offices and at many cafes, corner stores known as tabacs, and other shops around Paris (see a list here).

You can also purchase and use tickets through the Vianavigo app, which we will explore later.

  • Single Tickets: 1.90€
  • Carnet/10-Pack: 16.90€

The Carnet (10-Pack) is a 1.69€ per ticket, which is around a 10% discount. Note that t+ tickets are only valid for Zone 1 (central Paris).

Paper tickets will also be phased out soon, and the 2-year process of this actually began in 2019, so it won’t be long before this option won’t even be available any longer. After that, you will need to purchase a refillable Navigo Easy card to load with tickets or passes.

A note about transfers: you can transfer for up to one hour between metros and RERs on a single t+ ticket, but you only have 90 minutes’ worth of transfers on buses and trams. (Yes, there are also trams, but they only run in the suburbs, so most tourists never use them.)


Point-to-Point Tickets

While the t+ tickets will get you around Paris, if you have farther-flung destinations like Versailles, Disneyland Paris, or the airport, you can purchase point-to-point tickets to get there and back.

This ticket type does not have set prices, and the cost depends upon where you’re going and how far it is from your current location. Use the quick calculator on this page to see how much tickets are between destinations.

 


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METRO PASSES AND PRICES

Paris has refillable cards for its transit system, similar to London’s Oyster card or the SmarTrip card in Washington, DC. This section will detail all of the pass options currently available.


Navigo Passes

Paris’s Navigo Easy cards cost 2€ and can be loaded with single tickets, 10-packs, and day passes. Reload your Navigo card at any RATP ticket kiosk.

Navigo Passes
Navigo pass, Paris metro by Emily Jackson (CC BY-ND 2.0), via Flickr

They can be used for future trips to Paris and eliminate the need for paper tickets floating around your pockets (and possibly getting lost!). Buying the card does increase the up-front cost, though.

For weekly or monthly passes, you will need the Navigo Decouverte card. You can load these pass types onto the card and then use it to board any metro service. The card itself is 5€, and you will need a small photo to put on it.


Fun fact: you will find photo booths all over Paris (ever seen the movie Amelie?) if you don’t already carry around tiny pictures of your face.

This card is yours and is not transferable. In comparison, Navigo Easy is anonymous and can be used by others (though not on the same trip - Navigo cards cannot be shared by multiple riders at one time).

Here are the prices for Weekly or MonthlyPasses:

  • Weekly Pass: 22.80€
    • Price per day: 3.26€ (less than 2 t+ tickets)
  • Monthly Pass: 75.20€
    • Price per day: 2.43€ (a little more than 1 t+ ticket)

The Navigo Weekly Pass may be the best option for tourists visiting Paris, provided a few things:

  • You are staying in Paris for three or more days.
  • You are arriving in Paris before Thursday at midnight.
  • You are planning to use public transit several times a day.

The Navigo Weekly Pass (Navigo Semaine) costs 22.50€ for seven days of transit on all Metro, RER, trams, and buses.

The downside to Navigo weekly passes is they are only valid Monday at 12:01 a.m. through Sunday at midnight, and can only be purchased for the current week until Thursday at midnight. After that, if you buy a Navigo weekly pass, it will only be valid starting the following Monday.

If you’re lucky enough to stay more than two weeks, consider the Navigo monthly pass (Navigo Mois), which is valid beginning the first of the month.

The Navigo monthly pass is available for purchase through the 19th of the month (though, at 75.20€, the Navigo monthly pass would likely not be a good choice if you’re arriving in Paris on the 19th of the month).


Paris Visite

The Paris Visite passes can be a good option for visitors. They come in 1-, 2-, 3-, and 5-day increments, and you can purchase them for either zones 1-3 (central Paris and close-in suburbs) or zones 1-5 (which includes airports, Versailles, Disneyland Paris, St. Denis, and more).

Note that Paris Visite passes are half price for children. The passes also give users discounts to a number of Paris attractions, and they can take some of the guesswork out of getting around.

Paris Visite can also be purchased as part of the Paris Passlib package, which includes the Paris Museum Pass, a boat ride, a bus tour, and more.

, via Wikimedia Commons" src="https://freetoursbyfoot.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/710px-Paris_Visite_Pass.jpg" alt="Paris Visite Pass" width="600" height="507" data-wp-pid="169260"> Łukasz Pojezierski, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

For a rough idea of whether a Paris Visite pass is more economical than other ticket types, here is how many times you would need to ride in a certain period for the cost-per-ride to be less than the cost-per-ride with individual t+ tickets at 1.90€ (vs. a one day Paris Visite pass).

  • 1-Day Zone 1-3 Pass: 13.20€
    • Equal to around 7 t+ tickets
  • 2-Day Zone 1-3 Pass: 21.5€
    • Equal to almost 6 t+ tickets per day
  • 3-Day Zone 1-3 Pass: 29.40€
    • Equal to almost 16 t+ tickets total (~ 5 per day)
  • 5-Day Zone 1-3 Pass: 42.20€
    • Equal to around 22 t+ tickets total (less than 5 per day)

The math changes a bit for the Zone 1-5 Paris Visite passes, which can then cover your ride to the airport and anywhere else on the RER, such as Versailles.

  • 1-Day Zone 1-5 Pass: 27.80€
  • 2-Day Zone 1-5 Pass: 42.40€
  • 3-Day Zone 1-5 Pass: 59.20€
  • 5-Day Zone 1-5 Pass: 72.40€
  • Half price for children age 4-11

Purchase Paris Visite passes at Charles de Gaulle or Orly airports, any Metro or RER station, visitor centers, or other authorized vendors.


Mobilis One-Day Pass

What if you’re only going to be in Paris one day? Quelle dommage! (Well, one day is better than no days, right?) Or perhaps there’s only one day you know you’ll be using Paris public transit.

Whatever the case, you might want to consider the Mobilis One-Day pass. It’s available in the following options. We’ll compare the price to standard tickets to give you an idea of how you might use them.

  • 2 Zones: 50€
    • Equal to 4 t+ tickets
  • 3 Zones: 10€
    • Equal to 5 t+ tickets
  • 4 Zones: 12.40€
    • Equal to 6 t+ tickets
  • 5 Zones: 17.80€
    • Equal to 9 t+ tickets OR
    • 1 RER Airport transfer (10€) and 4 t+ tickets

If you plan to move around the city a lot in one day and you expect to use the Metro more than 6 times, this pass could save you a lot of money and it will definitely save you some time.

Arriving in Paris by train? Buy a one-day Mobilis pass and ride four times to get your money’s worth. Mobilis passes are available at all RATP vendor points.

Note that the pass is only valid for one calendar day, i.e. from midnight to midnight.


Passes for Young People

While children 4-11 get special deals with all the other passes, those aged 25 and younger can take advantage of special transit passes for youth.

The Weekend Day Pass for Youth is like the other passes - available from midnight to midnight - but they are only available on weekends and holidays. Passes are a great deal:

  • Zones 1-3: 4.10€
  • Zones 1-5: 8.95€
  • Zones 3-5: 5.25€

You will have to write your name and the date on your ticket the first time you use it, and you will have to show proof of age both when you buy it and if an inspector asks for your ticket.

If you buy a zone 1-5 ticket upon arrival at the airport, by the time you get into downtown Paris it will already have paid for itself, because the RER Airport Transfer is 10€ on its own.

If you buy a zone 1-3 pass once you’re already in the city (such as arriving by train or bus), you only need to take three trips on public transportation to make it worth the cost.

For those under the age of 26 who are studying in Paris at a high school or university, the Imagine R pass covers all zones for one whole year, for 350€ -- which is less than 1€ per day!


Ticket and Pass Discounts

There are few discounts for visitors to Paris, though there are some exceptions.

  • Children aged 4 to 10, and groups of students traveling with chaperones (must carry a Declaration of Honor), are eligible for half-priced fares.
  • Depending on how you use the Paris Metro Passes, you could also save a lot of money on tickets simply by using the card as many times as possible. Since each pass provides unlimited rides and they all have one flat price, the more you use them, the more money you’ll save.

 


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VIANAVIGO APP

An exciting development in mobile technology, the Vianavigo app allows users to purchase and use tickets and passes for the Paris metro and other RATP services through their mobile phones.

However, the app only works with Android phones. The app also has portions that are only in French, making it tricky for non-French speakers to use at times.

Here is a video showing how to use it, and here is a quick how-to guide to purchasing tickets via the app:

  • Go to the app store, search for Vianavigo (not Vianavigo Lab), and download the app.
  • Scroll through the welcome screens and hit “start” (link to screenshots)
  • Go to Menu to set up an account with a username and password
  • When you get the confirmation email, click on the link that says confirmer votre courriel

  • Back in the app, log in with your username and password.
  • If you have an Android phone, you should see a shopping cart at the bottom of the screen that says achat (buy). Click that, and the next screen will have a blue button that says acheter un titre (“buy a ticket”)
  • Click that, and you will have a selection of different tickets to choose from, including un carnet (10 single tickets), a one day pass (Navigo Jour), a one week pass (Navigo Semaine) and a month pass (Navigo Mois). Click choose, then click acheter and click the button next to the phrase starting with j’accepte, and it will take you to the payment page, where you can put in your credit card information.
  • Once you have your tickets or pass loaded in the app, you can just tap your phone on the sensor at the fare gates and ride. You can also use the app to load your pass or tickets onto a Navigo card, if you have one.

 


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About The Author

Christina

Christina studied art history and French literature at the Sorbonne for a year in Paris as an undergrad. Now based in Washington, DC, she visits Paris as often as possible and loves introducing family and friends to her favorite places there. She has worked as a travel writer, museum professional, English tutor, and editor, and her favorite French cheese is Pont l'Eveque.
Updated: October 11th, 2021
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