The Best Ways to Get Around in Paris

Paris, the City of Lights has an extensive transportation system. The main mode of public transport, known as the Metro, is an intricate web of subways. You don’t need to speak French in order to navigate it, but much of it can be confusing, and we’re here to help.

Once in Paris, you have several transportation options around Paris. The Metro, the bus system, the RER (running from city center to the suburbs), the tramways going around the outside of the city, and in the wee hours of the morning, the Noctilien bus. Other options that are more touristy are the hop on/hop off buses that take you to all of the main attractions around town. Then there are the boats on the Seine if you are not in a hurry!

Buying your Paris Metro Ticket

First and foremost, download the Paris Metro Map and Routes (RATP) app to your phone. It will be indispensable to you during your visit. The Next Stop Paris app is a good trip planner and will tell you how to get from Point A to B.

Alternative: Download a copy of the metro map here.

There are ticket kiosks at every station and offer multiple languages, including English, but they can be a bit tricky to navigate if you don’t know what type of ticket you want.

Paris Metro

Metro ticket prices are determined by what zones you will be traveling in, so it’s best to have a rough idea of where you will be going.

Zones 1-3 are within Paris proper (with zone 1 being the center of the city and includes all the major attractions such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and the Arc de Triomphe).

While zones 4-6 include the suburbs and Versailles.

Zone 5 includes CDG Airport, Château de Fontainebleau, and Disneyland Paris.

Paris Metro Cost

A single-use metro/bus ticket is 1.90 EUR. Get a “carnet” of 10-single-use tickets for 14.90 EUR. Or get an all-day pass, called the Mobilis ticket, for unlimited Metro rides in a day. You will need to know which Zones you will be traveling to be charged accordingly. For 11.65 EUR, you can buy a regular day pass if you plan to use most all modes of transportation (metro, bus, RER, trams). The ParisVisite all-day pass can be purchased for 1, 2, 3 or 5 consecutive day increments, and also gives you discounts to major attractions.

Late-Night Options

Sundays through Thursdays, the Metro runs until just after midnight. On weekends the last train arrives around 2 am, then resume their schedules around 5:30 am. The RER runs until just after midnight. After 2 am, the Noctiliens night bus lines crisscross the city and also make stops in the suburbs. They run from 12:30 through 5:30 am and run every 15 minutes to an hour depending on the line. The Noctiliens use the same tickets as the Metro, bus and RER trains. If you are unable to access any, Uber and Uber pool are also options.

Tips and Tricks

  • As stated above, it helps to know where you are going, as most ticket prices are based on which zones you will be traveling through. For most tourists, zones 1-3 will suffice.
  • The Metro stations are well-marked; look for the train line and the direction you are going. To exit a station, signs that say Sortie means exit.
  • For most tourists, buying a ParisVisite pass for the number of days you will be visiting is your best bet.
  • The RER train is good for getting from CDG airport into the city. If you will be flying in late at night, the Noctiliens buses will run from the airport to the city center.
  • Keep your ticket on you while transferring in case you are stopped for verification. We were stopped while connecting in the tunnel and our ticket was scanned again.

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The Best Ways to Get Around in Paris

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