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Which Paris Metro Pass to Buy

Updated: May 12, 2024
 By Christina

Sometimes when we're leading one of our free Paris walking tours, our guests will ask about how to get back to their hotel or find a popular attraction they want to visit.

That's one reason why we decided to write this article to provide information about buying transit passes in Paris, including details about ticket types and prices.

In addition to covering each type of ticket and pass, we will also include information about how to pay for the metro in this city.


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.

Paris Metro Chatelet 2. Source: Wikimedia Commons Author Andrzej Otrebski.

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 although they can't take up a seat.

The RATP website has lots of helpful information in English, including a trip planner, a Paris metro map, and more.

In general, most visitors should be able to get to everything they want to see with individual t+ tickets purchased through various apps. We explain more about this below.

Note that there are also many different kinds of passes, some of which can save you some serious money and hassle.

For example, 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).

Navigo offers weekly, monthly, and annual passes and a pass specifically for those 25 and younger.

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.


How do you pay for the Metro in Paris?

Contactless Credit Card Usage

While you can't simply use a contactless credit card to pay for entrance on the Paris Metro, you can use one to purchase a Navigo Easy Pass, which is itself a contactless form of payment.

Passes and Tickets

As we mentioned, you can buy a Navigo pass to pay for the Paris Metro. This is one of the easiest methods, but you can also buy paper tickets and use them to get around as well.

Tickets and passes can be purchased via the following methods:

  • Ticket Machines
  • Ticket Offices
  • Metro Apps
  • Metro Stations
  • Retailers using the RATP sign

The Best Metro Ticket For Getting Around Paris

The best ticket for you depends on how long you're planning to stay.

If you're only going to be here for a few days, a carnet of tickets (a 10-pack of tickets) might work just fine.

However, if you're going to be in Paris for a week, you might want to get a day or weeklong pass to make things easier.


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/t+

The simplest way to get around is to purchase a paperless/contactless ticket, however, you can also get paper tickets. Word is that these are expected to be phased out by the end of 2024.

Single one-way tickets, called t+, if paper, are still sold through machines in RER/train and Metro stations, but no longer at manned station counters.

To purchase a paperless/contactless t+ ticket instead, you first need to purchase a pass to upload it onto. See below under Metro Passes and Prices for information on the various passes you can choose from.

Once you have the pass, you can then load it/purchase tickets and ticket packs through the following apps: Bonjour RATP and Île-de-France Mobilités and any ticket counter or ticket machine.

  • Single t+ tickets: €2.15
  • Carnet/10-Pack t+ tickets: €17.35. This is only €1.74 per ticket, which is around a 19% off.

t+ tickets are valid on the metro as well as Zone 1 RER lines, some Île-de-France and tramway lines, and the Montmartre funicular.

You can transfer for up to 90 minutes between metros and RERs, and between buses and trams, on a single t+ ticket.

(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 Charles de Gaulle 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 between the stations you are traveling between.

Use the quick calculator on this page to see how much tickets cost between destinations.


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.

These travel cards can be used for future trips to Paris and eliminate the need for paper tickets floating around your pockets (and possibly getting lost!).


Navigo Passes

Here we cover several Navigo passes to suit your travel needs. All involve physical cards that can be used on the metro, but they also allow for phone swiping as well.

The Navigo Easy Pass is great for the short-term tourist. It lets you top up a few different types of tickets and is valid for 10 years. It's also not tied to your name so others can use it, although not during the same trip.

You can purchase a Navigo Easy Pass for €2.00 at any counter in any station and at RAPT-approved shops (such as Tabac and newspaper kiosks). Here's a full list of locations here, sorted by arrondissement.

Once you have the pass, you can then top it up with payment for the types of tickets you want.

You do this through the Bonjour RAPT app, the Île-de-France Mobilités app, at RAPT-approved shops, station ticket counters, or at station ticket machines.

For "occasional or regular passengers and tourists for short periods" you could also do the Navigo Decouverte Card.

The card is personalized with your picture on it so others cannot use it. The cost for the card is €5.00 and you would then, as the the Navigo Easy Pass, upload your chosen tickets onto 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.

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

The Navigo Weekly Pass (Navigo Semaine) 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.

It costs €30.75 for seven days of transit across the entire Paris metro system, including Metro, RER, trams, buses, and even the Montmartre funicular.

The downside to Navigo weekly passes is that 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.

It gives you unlimited travel for a month and the cost depends on the zones you'll be traveling in.


Paris Visite Passes

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).

It works on every form of public transportation within those zones.

The passes also give users money off of several Paris attractions, and they can take some of the guesswork out of how many tickets to buy ahead of time.

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.

Łukasz Pojezierski, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

For a rough idea as to whether a Paris Visite pass is more economical than a single t+ ticket costing €2.10, here is how many times you would need to ride in a certain period for the cost-per-ride to be less.

  • 1-Day Zone 1-3 Pass: €13.95
    • Equal to almost 7 t+ tickets
  • 2-Day Zone 1-3 Pass: €22.65
    • Equal to almost 6 t+ tickets per day (12 total)
  • 3-Day Zone 1-3 Pass: €30.90
    • Equal to almost 5 t+ tickets per day (15 total)
  • 5-Day Zone 1-3 Pass: €44.45
    • Equal to 4 t+ tickets per day (20 total)

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: €29.25
  • 2-Day Zone 1-5 Pass: €44.45
  • 3-Day Zone 1-5 Pass: €62.30
  • 5-Day Zone 1-5 Pass: €76.25

Note that Paris Visite passes are half-price for children.

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

It's valid from the first time you use it, and your first and last name must be written on it with the dates of validity.


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: €8.45
    • Equal to 4 t+ tickets
  • 3 Zones: €11.30
    • Equal to 5 t+ tickets
  • 4 Zones: €14.00
    • Equal to 6 t+ tickets
  • 5 Zones: €20.10
    • Equal to 9 t+ tickets OR
    • 1 RER Airport transfer (€11.40) 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 save you some time.

Are you 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 Navigo Youth Weekend Pass 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: €4.70
  • Zones 1-5: €10.35
  • Zones 3-5: €6.05

This pass is contactless and is one of the types of tickets you can upload to your Navigo Easy Pass.

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 €11.40 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 €375.00 -- which is just over €1 per day!


Ticket and Pass Savings

There are a few ways to save for visitors to Paris, though there are some exceptions.

  • 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.

TIPS FROM LOCALS AND TRAVELERS

While we do our best to provide all the information you'll need to ride the Paris Metro, sometimes you need answers to specific questions related to your personal experience.

Thankfully, our Paris Travel Tips group on Facebook is the perfect place to look for any answers you may need.

Here are a few examples of interesting and helpful tips and tricks provided by members of our group:

  1. Here is what a few folks have to say about what to see during a short time in Paris and about how best to get around.

2. To locate a metro station, look for lampposts or wrought-iron entryways that have METRO or METROPOLITAN written on them.

3. Ticket machines in the stations can be set to other languages, including English, and are easy to use. They accept both cash and chip-and-pin cards.

4. The direction of the train is indicated by the name of the last station on that line.

5. The doors to the train do not always open automatically. You need to push the open button or unlatch in the older trains.

6. You can (and many Parisians do) unlatch the doors to open them before the train comes to a complete stop.

7. 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.

8. Paris Metro Lines are numbered and color-coded.

9. 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.

10. Stations where you cannot transfer have solid circles.

11. The Paris Metro is open from 5:30 am - around 1:15 am (2:15 am on weekends/holidays).

12. 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 trying to get off of the train.


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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: May 12th, 2024
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